Hwang’s research focuses on the relationship between how neighborhoods change and the persistence of neighborhood inequality by race in U.S. cities. Drawing on innovative measures of neighborhood characteristics, her recent projects examine the role of racial and ethnic contexts in shaping how gentrification evolves and how the recent subprime lending and foreclosure crisis unfolded in U.S. cities. She has collaborated with the Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Legal Services Center at Harvard University, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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Draws on a unique large-scale consumer credit database to examine the mobility patterns of residents in gentrifying neighborhoods in the city of Philadelphia from 2002 to 2014. Results show that vulnerable residents (low-score, longer-term residents, or residents without mortgages) in gentrifying neighborhoods are no more likely to move out of their neighborhoods, but when they do move, they are more likely to move to lower-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods with lower values on quality-of-life indicators.
Demonstrates that the influx of Asians, and, under certain conditions, Hispanics, predict early gentrification in the late twentieth century. Discusses how low-income, predominantly black neighborhoods and neighborhoods that became Asian and Hispanic enclaves remained ungentrified despite the growth of gentrification. Results suggest that the rise of immigration after 1965 brought pioneers to many low-income central-city neighborhoods, spurring gentrification in some neighborhoods and forming ethnic enclaves in others.
Demonstrates how residents in predominantly minority neighborhoods in highly segregated metropolitan areas were more likely to receive subprime loans in the recent housing crisis compared to minority neighborhoods in less segregated metropolitan areas. Reflects the high degree of spatially concentrated subprime loans in minority areas in highly segregated metropolitan contexts.
Documents how gentrifiers and non-gentrifiers socially construct their changing neighborhood in distinct and unequal ways. Discusses the gentrifiers’ neighborhood identity and boundaries excluded non-gentrifiers, and the non-gentrifiers’ socially constructed neighborhood was eventually displaced, having implications for the reproduction of inequality as neighborhoods change.