Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Donna Darlene Davis, 1985

The Location of Owner-occupied Renovation in Inner City Halifax, Nova Scotia, January 1977-August 1984


The purpose of this study is to determine the extent of inner-city renovation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and to examine the nature of the activity to assess whether such renovation is indicative of the process of gentrification. Incidences of owner-occupied renovation are identified from building permit data and are plotted on a map of a defined study area. A structurally based index of renovation is calculated for groupings of census enumeration areas and this is visually and statistically correlated with measures of mobility and socioeconomic change.

Both the visual and statistical correlations indicate that owner-occupied renovation activity can not simply be characterized as gentrification. The strong relationships between social and physical change suggested in the literature are not present in Halifax. It is inferred that much owner-occupied renovation is undertaken by incumbent upgraders - local residents who undertake physical improvements to their properties and the neighborhood in general rather than by inmigrants of higher socioeconomic status.

It is concluded that the term "gentrification" is a poor characterization for much owner-occupied renovation activity in Halifax. As well, the need for further study on the nature of inner city revitalization, particularly by commercial renovators, is indicated.