The US Great Recession: Exploring its Association with Black Neighborhood Rise, Decline and Recovery


Subprime loans, foreclosures, post-recession recovery, gentrification, race


The United States experienced the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009 and many American cities and communities are still suffering from its legacy. During the prior period of the early and mid-2000s, many inner city African American communities were experiencing gentrification, driven in part by the real estate bubble that popped in 2007. While much has been written about the institutional and structural causes and consequences of the Great Recession, this article seeks to better understand its community-level implications by investigating the relationship between lending and property value patterns in three gentrifying African American communities just before, during and after this economic calamity. In particular, we investigate Bronzeville in Chicago, Harlem in New York City and Shaw/U Street in Washington, DC. Evidence suggests the Great Recession differentially influenced the development trajectories of these urban neighborhoods. In Bronzeville severe and prolonged property decline resulted, while much less economic stagnation was experienced in Harlem and Shaw/U Street. The Great Recession did not have uniform implications for urban African American neighborhoods: distinct community and city contexts, in particular racial and class neighborhood transitions and citywide unemployment and housing market conditions, mediate the influence of national economic decline and recovery.

Original Publication Citation

Hyra, Derek and Jacob S. Rugh. 2016. “The US Great Recession: Exploring Its Association with Black Neighborhood Rise, Decline and Recovery.” Urban Geography37(5):700-726. doi: 10.1080/02723638.2015.1103994

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Urban Geography




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor