Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John T. Kneebone

Second Advisor

Dr. Carolyn Eastman

Third Advisor

Dr. Laura Browder


This thesis explores the gentrification process in Church Hill, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Richmond, Virginia. After World War II, Richmond residents knew Church Hill mostly for its crime rate and dilapidated housing. The white, middle-class flight to the suburbs left the remaining residents, mostly African American, to experience decades of disinvestment. Church Hill was considered a neighborhood to avoid for much of the late twentieth century. Yet, Church Hill is currently one of the most desired neighborhoods in Richmond, particularly for young professionals. This thesis seeks to explain the reasons why there has been such a dramatic change in the perception of Church Hill and whether revitalization can occur without causing gentrification. Chapter 1 explores the top-down efforts of the Historic Richmond Foundation, a non-profit organization, and the Model Neighborhood Program, a federal program. Chapter 2 explores revitalization efforts by various non-profits organizations as each tried to work with community members. Chapter 3 explores the reasons why young professionals are moving into Church Hill and the impact of gentrification on the neighborhood.


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Date of Submission