Title

Environmental Gentrification in West Oakland: Inequitable Impacts of Urban Renewal

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Gentrification alters the characteristics of a neighborhood by increasing the number of wealthy residents; it results from policies by government entities and investments by community members, business groups, and developers. In West Oakland, gentrification has altered the community and displaced low-income residents. Solutions aimed at mitigating negative impacts of gentrification are in place, but displacement of residents continues to occur. A good understanding of underlying factors contributing to gentrification is necessary to prevent further displacement. This research seeks to analyze existing prevention and mitigation measures such as low-income housing designations in new developments, and propose alternatives aimed at further reducing burdens on low-income and minority residents. Using an environmental justice framework, a concept focused on the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens, this research examines issues of social and environmental injustice. It seeks to characterize the nature of gentrification in West Oakland through the collection and analysis of Census data, news stories, city government records, and policy reports. Secondly, it works to identify social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors contributing to gentrification by analyzing this information. Using scholarly articles and similar case studies, this research also seeks to suggest additional methods of preventing and mitigating the negative effects of gentrification on low-income and minority residents. Preliminary results indicate that in West Oakland, local government attempts at increasing city tax revenue and the changing economic climate of the tech-booming Bay Area resulted in the displacement of low-income and minority people. Small community-based groups have achieved some success by organizing and fighting for improvements aimed to fulfill current community needs rather than cater to wealthier tastes. More needs to be done to eliminate the issue of displacement caused by gentrification and ensure suitable environmental quality for all. Without improved social equity, problems will continue to be relocated, rather than solved.

Category

Humanities

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Apr 11th, 4:00 PM Apr 11th, 4:20 PM

Environmental Gentrification in West Oakland: Inequitable Impacts of Urban Renewal

Gentrification alters the characteristics of a neighborhood by increasing the number of wealthy residents; it results from policies by government entities and investments by community members, business groups, and developers. In West Oakland, gentrification has altered the community and displaced low-income residents. Solutions aimed at mitigating negative impacts of gentrification are in place, but displacement of residents continues to occur. A good understanding of underlying factors contributing to gentrification is necessary to prevent further displacement. This research seeks to analyze existing prevention and mitigation measures such as low-income housing designations in new developments, and propose alternatives aimed at further reducing burdens on low-income and minority residents. Using an environmental justice framework, a concept focused on the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens, this research examines issues of social and environmental injustice. It seeks to characterize the nature of gentrification in West Oakland through the collection and analysis of Census data, news stories, city government records, and policy reports. Secondly, it works to identify social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors contributing to gentrification by analyzing this information. Using scholarly articles and similar case studies, this research also seeks to suggest additional methods of preventing and mitigating the negative effects of gentrification on low-income and minority residents. Preliminary results indicate that in West Oakland, local government attempts at increasing city tax revenue and the changing economic climate of the tech-booming Bay Area resulted in the displacement of low-income and minority people. Small community-based groups have achieved some success by organizing and fighting for improvements aimed to fulfill current community needs rather than cater to wealthier tastes. More needs to be done to eliminate the issue of displacement caused by gentrification and ensure suitable environmental quality for all. Without improved social equity, problems will continue to be relocated, rather than solved.