How single women are driving gentrification in Hong Kong and elsewhere

March 29, 2019

Igor Vojnovic
, Professor and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Urban Affairs, Michigan State University
Minting Ye,Visiting Adjunct Scholar of Global Urban Studies, Michigan State University

Gentrification is reshaping urban areas all around the world, displacing large segments of the population and making cities increasingly unaffordable.

In San Francisco, only 12 percent of households can afford a median priced home, which is over US$1.5 million. In Hong Kong, the world's most unaffordable city alongside Singapore and Paris, there are currently some 90,000 families living in inadequate housing conditions.

We study urban development and its social, physical and environmental impacts. We recently examined two decades of cultural transitions in Hong Kong with a focus on how the changing status of women and attitudes toward marriage have altered the real estate market.

What we found is that single women in Hong Kong have played a surprising and little-studied role in gentrification.