A machine learning mannequin developed and examined by researchers at UNSW City Futures Analysis Centre might be able to better equip policymakers with information and knowledge about predicted neighbourhood change – and with better predictive knowledge, policymakers and authorities can ship extra equitable city planning and outcomes.

The researchers lately printed their preliminary findings concerning the mannequin in journal Cities.  

Gentrification is an city phenomenon affecting many cities world wide – it’s a sort of neighbourhood change that sees poor or traditionally working-class neighbourhoods expertise drastic modifications to demographic, land-use and housing affordability.   

Gentrification can displace and negatively impression residents comparable to low-skilled employees and weak individuals, and governments and policymakers usually battle to handle the related harms.   

“Gentrification is often identified when it’s too late, and it can be costly to address the harms it has caused,” says William Thackway, postgraduate researcher at UNSW City Futures Analysis Centre. “The ability of policymakers to adequately tackle harms caused by gentrification rests on proactive strategies which prevent or mitigate displacement of vulnerable people before it becomes too expensive to do so.”

Gentrification in Sydney

Mr Thackway, Professor Christopher Petitt, Dr Matthew Ng and Affiliate Professor Chyi Lin Lee developed the prototype machine learning mannequin and examined varied knowledge from Sydney as a case research.  

“A key finding from our work is that the gentrification frontier is predicted to expand outwards even further from the city centre,” says Mr Thackway. “Previously, the rings of gentrification were in 5-10 kilometre rings around the Sydney CBD, but that is predicted to expand to 10-20 kilometers.” 

The research recognized an impact the researchers name ‘spill over’ as an across-the-board indicator of predicted gentrification in Sydney. ‘Spill over’ is when displaced residents from gentrification hotspots transfer to neighbouring suburbs the place rents are barely cheaper. 

“In the early 2000s-2010s, the Inner West became a major hotspot for gentrification, but our analysis predicts deeper Western suburbs like Auburn and Bankstown could be new hotspots,” says Mr Thackway. 

Eastwood past Ryde and Brookvale past Manly have been different suburbs experiencing ‘spill over’ results and predicted to gentrify in line with this machine learning evaluation. The evaluation additionally reaffirmed Botany and Maroubra past Randwick as gentrification hotspots.  

Moreover spill over results, different potential drivers of gentrification and neighbourhood change in Sydney included modifications in crime ranges, new transport developments and additional modifications in demographics.  


Map of predicted neighbourhood change in Sydney between 2016-2021. Areas in orange/purple predicted to gentrify, areas in purple/blue predicted to say no in socioeconomic rank. Picture: Provided by Thackway et al. (2023).

Stunning indicators of gentrification 

The benefit of this new machine learning mannequin is that it can make hyperlinks between variables which might be in any other case neglected in different strategies of research involving simply human experience.  

“Our study includes a wider range of predictor variables than previous machine learning studies, spanning socioeconomic, housing, business and Airbnb data,” says Mr Thackway.  

The machine learning mannequin was educated and tuned utilizing over 80 predictor variables from a variety of information inputs comparable to property experiences, the census, enterprise registry and Airbnb.  

To check its accuracy, the researchers retroactively utilized the mannequin to previously-ungentrified neighbourhoods that ended up turning into gentrified. 

Household compositions and relationship standing have been surprisingly vital indicators of gentrification in some areas of Sydney, says Mr Thackway.   

“It was surprising to see that an increase in married couples in an area lead to a higher prediction that the area will gentrify, while areas with more divorcees and one-parent families were less likely to gentrify according to our model.”  

In some circumstances, household and relationships have been as vital as home costs, training and employment in predicting gentrification for a suburb. 

In direction of better quantitative strategies 

Predictive modelling and machine learning instruments within the city coverage spheres are nonetheless of their infancy. 

“There is still skepticism among policymakers about the trustworthiness of such models,” says Mr Thackway. “Previous machine learning models have had a ‘black box’ element to them, meaning that we can’t see how machine came to its conclusions. Because of this, the preference among policymakers is dominated by qualitative methods.”  

However this new machine learning mannequin developed by UNSW researchers can predict gentrification with 87.3 per cent accuracy and it eliminates the ‘black box’ ingredient by implementing a mannequin clarification instrument that interprets how the machine learning mannequin got here to its conclusions. 

“Qualitative methods like the Neighbourhood Change Warning System and Gentrification Index are easy for policymakers to understand,” says Mr Thackway. “However the draw back is that they’re fairly easy and lack robustness.

“Our machine learning model incorporates tens, if not hundreds of indicators compared to qualitative methods. The advantage of using machine learning as opposed to basic indicators in qualitative methods is the model can identify interactions and relationships between variables that one might not necessarily be able to do just from human expertise.” 

Total, the UNSW crew created a extra holistic, strong, and explanatory machine learning mannequin that improves greatest follow for predicting future gentrification hotspots.  

Alternative for future use 

The instrument is in its improvement section and there’s scope to check it to extra excessive levels to make sure its efficiency.  

“Right now, the major implication of our work is that this model can produce meaningful and powerful results that will enable proactive policy decisions and interventions for urban planners,” says Mr Thackway.  

“Whereas we used Sydney as a case research to check the mannequin, it can be utilized to comparable cities by inputting related knowledge. 

“Previously, most gentrification analysis has checked out what’s already occurred to analyse drivers of gentrification. This machine learning mannequin allows predictive modelling of gentrification. 

“With the 2021 census data release upcoming, forecasting vulnerable areas for 2026 will provide policymakers with an empirical tool to proactively intervene and design more equitable solutions for vulnerable communities.” 

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The Obsessed Guy
Hi, I'm The Obsessed Guy and I am passionate about artificial intelligence. I have spent years studying and working in the field, and I am fascinated by the potential of machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing. I love exploring how these technologies are being used to solve real-world problems and am always eager to learn more. In my spare time, you can find me tinkering with neural networks and reading about the latest AI research.


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