There is a growing number of processes in Brazilian cities that have been identified as gentrification. However, the classic definition of gentrification as a process of transformation of existing urban housing stocks by new homeowners with a higher socio-economic profile poses challenges to understand recent empirical data coming from Brazil and the Global South more generally. Instead of dismissing them as deviant cases, this paper challenges the Northern empirical foundations of gentrification theory and calls for a new methodological approach to both classic and new cases that take into consideration its contextualization. This new framework for gentrification research is based on necessary dimensions that identify the production of gentrifiable space as the initial condition to the process of socioeconomic change with displacement in which built-environment upgrades constitute one of its most visible feature. These dimensions are present in each and every case, bounding the concept and operationalizing research, while local mediating forces make gentrification context-specific. Therefore, urban studies on gentrification. Should understand and explore the nature of these differences, in a return to in-depth studies and empirical research, opening spaces for decentering positions and building theory from multiple positionalities.