Headshot for Aaron Passell


In January 2021, Aaron Passell, Associate Director and professor of urban studies, published a new book titled Preserving Neighborhoods: How Urban Policy and Community Strategy Shape Baltimore and Brooklyn

Last month, on June 17, 2021, Dennis E. Gale, a Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University and current lecturer at Stanford University, published a thoughtful and positive review of Professor Passell’s book in the Journal of Urban Affairs. 

When conducting research for Preserving Neighborhoods Professor Passel focused on whether or not and to what extent historic district (HD) designation serves as a catalyst for gentrification. Using new data, he examined and compared two opposing areas, Baltimore and Brooklyn, to shed light on this complex topic.

In his review, Gale notes “a central focus in Preserving Neighborhoods is the issue of whether and to what extent HD designation triggers the gentrification process. Passell’s correlation analyses of Baltimore data find ‘no consistent relationship between designation and other variables across all neighborhoods’ (p. 52).”

Through his research, Professor Passell contributes to the growing narrative on the causes of urban gentrification and its impact on social life. 

Gale concludes, “author Passell joins scholars such as Ryberg-Webster and Kinahan (2014) in plowing this terrain for new insights on housing policy and neighborhood transformation. One can hope that this trend will continue.”