Eminent Domain: The Taking Of Private Property For Gentrification


Owning property, starting a business, and owning your own home are things considered to be part of the American dream. Our country was founded upon certain rights, which allow ownership of homes and small businesses. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the interests of private property owners from the seizure of their land, except where the property is needed to satisfy a public use, and they are provided with just compensation for their loss.

The 2005 United States Supreme Court case decision in Keio v. City of New London eliminated private property owner's protection under the Constitution. The Supreme Court's decision allows for the public taking of private property which is then transferred to another private party for the economic development of a city. The court determined that the redevelopment of the city which provided an increase in jobs and in tax revenue for the city, is a public use under the Fifth Amendment.

As a result of the decision in Keio, the floodgates to hundreds of similar cases across the county are open. Throughout the United States, local governments are attempting to seize land needed for economic gain and redevelopment through eminent domain. Thousands of private residences, businesses, churches, and other community buildings are being seized and transferred to other private owners who will benefit from this seizure and transfer.

The courts are moving away from the words actually written in the Constitution, "for public use" and instead accepting a looser interpretation of a public benefit as a result of a huge governmental and corporate gain, to meet the requirements set forth in the Fifth Amendment.


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Thesis Completion



Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Legal Studies


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs; Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic; City planning and redevelopment law -- United states; Eminent domain; Eminent domain -- United States -- Cases; Gentrification







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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