This dissertation sought to understand uses of power embedded in gentrification processes that threaten affordable housing. Rather than an abstract force acting on its own volition, gentrification is driven by dominant powerholders who employ strategies and rationalizations to achieve their goals. They expect certain benefits from gentrification processes of neighborhood change at the expense of affordable housing loss. This research was designed to interrogate those benefits and better understand how power was used to affect rationality in gentrification processes. To help explain the dynamics between power and rationality, two theoretical threads were merged into the concept of a "rationality of capital." I conceptualize a "rationality of capital" as a way of prioritizing opportunities for capital accumulation in urban landscapes. The concept of the "rationality of capital" draws from Harvey’s (1978; 1985) writings on Marxist geography and Flyvbjerg’s (1998) case study exploring the interplay of power and rationality in urban planning and development in Aalborg, Denmark. Using the North End neighborhoods in Charlotte, NC as a case study, this research examines how dominant powerholders did or didn’t pursue a "rationality of capital" in the redevelopment of these neighborhoods. A case study utilizing archival research and narrative interviews explored how gentrification processes in the North End were carried out, who benefitted from these processes, and how these beneficiaries rationalize the decisions made. The exercise of power mapping augmented the interviews and asked who respondents thought had the most power to address affordable housing issues within the local context and network of power.