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The Rapidity of Studentification and Population Change: There Goes the (Student)hood


  • This title is inspired by Lance Freeman's (2006) book ‘There goes the ‘hood: views of gentrification from the ground up’.

Joanna Sage, ESRC Centre for Population Change, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.



Research on the linkages between student migration and residential change in university towns and cities has mainly focused on neighbourhoods with deeply engrained and relatively mature expressions of studentification. Limited attention has been given to neighbourhoods that are in the process of being studentified or experiencing the preliminary, trend-setting flows of student in-migration. As a result, there is limited understanding of the pace of local demographic change and population restructuring in studentifying neighbourhoods. To these ends, this paper analyses the term-time addresses of students in Brighton, UK, between 2006/2007 and 2008/2009. A volatile residential distribution of student populations is revealed. We explore the factors underpinning these shifting student geographies by focusing on a specific neighbourhood undergoing profound population transformation during the period of study. This allows us to reveal how studentification unfolds ‘in situ’, shedding light on the rapidity of population and demographic restructuring that is mediated by the conversion of family-dwelling houses to student Housing in Multiple Occupation. Our findings are pertinent to recent planning policies to engineer balanced populations and housing markets by regulating the (over)production of student Housing in Multiple Occupation in university towns and cities. More broadly, the paper serves to demonstrate the value of adopting a longitudinal approach to gathering primary qualitative and quantitative data to track local changes to migration flows, demographic and population structures, and neighbourhood transformations. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.