From “Big Small Town” to “Small Big City”: Resident Experiences of Gentrification along Waterloo Region’s LRT Corridor

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, place - north america, mode - tram/light rail, planning - surveys, land use - impacts, land use - planning


gentrification, light rail transit, lived experience, neighborhood change, qualitative methods


Most studies of transit-induced gentrification rely on statistical analysis that measures the extent to which gentrification is occurring. To extend and enhance our knowledge of its impact, we conducted sixty-five interviews with residents living along the light rail transit (LRT) corridor in Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada, shortly before the system opened. There was already strong evidence of gentrification, with more than $3 billion (Canadian dollars) worth of investment, largely in condominiums, before a single passenger was carried. In line with contemporary critical conceptualizations of gentrification, our interviews identified new and complex psychological, phenomenological, and experiential aspects of gentrification, in addition to economic- or class-based changes.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SAGE, copyright remains with them.