[Ads-l] "unslumming" (not in OED)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Oct 17 16:01:48 EDT 2016

This is a celebrated coinage widely attributed to Jane Jacobs, author of _The Death of Life of American Cities_, a classic treatise from the early 1960s on what is now called gentrification and its dangers, but what Jacobs apparently called "unslumming".  I don't know if she also used the verb "unslum", but both the verb and gerund appear regularly in articles and books about Jacobs (as a Google search readily indicates), most recently a piece in the Set. 26, 2016 New Yorker:  

The first stirrings in Jacobs's day of what we call "gentrification" she called, arrestingly, "unslumming", insisting that the process works when a slum, amid falling rents and vacated buildings, becomes slimmed down to a "loyal core" of residents who, with eyes on the street, keep it livable enough for new residents to decide to enter.

Seems to me as though this word--at least as gerund if not actual verb--has earned a place in the OED, if not on the streets of Williamsburg (or now Bushwick).

This is from her chapter (in her _Death and Life_ book) called "slumming and unslumming": 
http://tinyurl.com/h9ayrk7 <http://tinyurl.com/h9ayrk7>

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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