Information Theory as a Measure of Sociodemographic Change
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The current discourse around gentrification has been primarily focused on an economic understanding of gentrification. That is, that the gentrification can be primarily viewed through changes in housing prices in an area. That this increase is the sole and primary cause of displacement. While this economic explanation is an important component, it is not the only cause. The image, or perception of, a neighborhood changes as its socio-demographic and socio-economic circumstances change. As these circumstances change a process of replacement occurs and the social ecosystem begins to shift. This leads to the experiential phenomenon of gentrification, where the richness of social life declines as differing views and experiences are removed. This paper proposes a methodology for using metadata, specifically data concerning the entropy, or level of uncertainty or disorder, in demographic data to try to detect these changes and then applies this method to the City of Atlanta, in particular the areas around the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail.