Front cover image for Familification: Family, Neighborhood Change, and Housing Policy


Familification: Family, Neighborhood Change, and Housing Policy

This paper proposes the term familification to describe one type of gentrification: the process of neighborhood change by families moving into a neighborhood. This study, drawing upon in-depth interviews, document analysis, and ethnographic observations, focuses on an urban familification program—one city's attempt to benefit families by restricting participation in its downtown housing programs. The paper first describes the programs and then explores how leaders, program participants, and neighbors understand the programs' intentions and effects. While family is not prominent in the programs' grant proposals, leaders indicated that promoting traditional families was a central objective. Implementing these programs revealed difficulties in defining family and in managing the programs' outcomes. Implications for fair housing laws are considered, and it is argued that fostering diversity in family life course stages may be a compelling government interest to promote neighborhood stability, and an inclusive strategy for urban development