Mitigating Neighborhood Stigma: Examining Strategies of Relating and Reframing


In line with social construction scholarship, the stigmatization of neighborhoods has been used to justify or advocate for gentrification and development efforts that often displace marginalized populations. Challenging stigma in public discourse can help level the playing field in support of community interests. This study examines two strategies to mitigate neighborhood stigma: create opportunities for people to personally relate to a place and engage them in the positive reframing of extant narratives. It is based on a preregistered between-groups survey experiment in which 498 local college students rated the appeal of two Black, historically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Miami: Overtown and Liberty City. It finds that ratings of Overtown are significantly lower when its name is disclosed, indicating the presence of stigma. Relatin improves ratings of Liberty City, however, only among Black students, not white or Hispanic students. Reframing improves ratings but only if students buy into the more positive frame.

American Review of Public Administration, 54(6): 555–567