Monday, March 3, 2014

AU Discussion of Gentrification in DC

Great "Confronting Gentrification" panel at American University. Here is my discussion of gentrification in DC: 

I would like to highlight the presentation by Parisa Norouzi of Empower DC (sitting next to Potomac Gardens resident council president Aquarius Vann-Ghasri, in the gray hat):
Parisa provided a much more developed definition of gentrification than I do:
a decades-long process that begins with absentee owners and profiteers colluding with government to divest areas through racist and classist lending policies, to redline, to prevent people from having access to capital unless and until a higher-income group of people is interested in that location; and then giving our tax money and our land to those people to facilitate the enriching of the rich at the expense of everybody else. 
I defined gentrification as its result, rather than how that result comes about: "The replacement of lower-income residents and businesses with higher-income residents and businesses." It seems better to explain the process like Parisa did, rather than just state the result like I did. Parisa went on to advocate "community economic development" -- with cooperatives -- as a better model than gentrification.

I greatly appreciated hearing all the speakers and the productive discussion with activists and AU students afterwards. Here are some texts brought up during the discussion:
  •Fullilove, Mindy. 2004. Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do About it. One World Books.
  •Logan, John R. and Harvey L. Molotch. 1987. Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place. UC Press.
  •Marcuse, Peter. 1985. “Gentrification, abandonment and displacement: connections, causes and policy responses,” Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law 28: 195-240.
  •Sassen, Saskia. 2005. “The Global City: Introducing a New Concept,” Brown Journal of World Affairs 11(2): 27-43.
  •Shaw, Kate and Libby Porter, eds. 2009. Whose Urban Renaissance? An International Comparison of Urban Regeneration Policies. Routledge.
  •Steinberg, Stephen. 2009. “The Myth of Concentrated Poverty.” 

Do you agree with the definitions of gentrification brought up during the talks? 
Or do you have a different definition of gentrification? 

P.S. You can see the slides from my presentation here

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