This article outlines the key contemporary debates on gentrification, most of which arise from variations in the process: in interpretations, assessments of displacement, the agents involved and the forms that gentrified cities take. The variations are so extensive that some scholars argue that gentrification has become too broad a concept to retain analytical coherency. Others counter that the logic of gentrification is now so generalised that the concept captures no less than the fundamental state and market-driven ‘class remake’ of cities throughout the world. The article agrees with the latter position and proposes that gentrification should be considered part of a broader continuum of social and economic geographic change, replacing the useful but out-dated stage model but still accommodating the myriad of variations within its underlying logics. Understanding gentrification as a complex but coherent concept highlights the importance of time and place in the viability of progressive policy responses to gentrification's inequitable effects.