[Summer 2017 Independent Study Developed by G. Nelson]

*Please see my note on the syllabus

Course Description

This course will examine gentrification and the roles that race and class play in the creation and persistence of it, particularly in places like Harlem, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Detroit, and Philadelphia. Through analyzing academic literature, current events and case studies, we will study: the processes, forms, agents and impacts (positive and negative) of gentrification; the roles of policy, planning and community development in the gentrification process; and programs and strategies that a planner could implement to foster equitable development.


This course will also focus on the agents of development, including the institutions that act as developers in the push for gentrification.  These agents include universities, organizations and communities that attempt to “Buy Back the Block”, as well as long-term citizens that shape and reclaim their own communities through the acquisition of real estate (i.e. Theater Gates).


Course Schedule 

Section 1: Causes of Gentrification

Friday, June 2


·      Read/View for Meeting:

o   Hyra, D.  “Commentary: Causes and Consequences of Gentrification and the Future of Equitable Development Policy” Cityscape: A Journal of Policy and Research, 18(3): 169-177.

o   Zuk, M. et al.  2015.  “Gentrification, Displacement, and the Role of Public Investment: A Literature Review.” Berkeley IURD White Paper.

o   Uitermark, J; Kleinhaus, J.W.D. 2007. “Gentrification as a Government Strategy: Social Control and Social Cohesion in Hoogvliet, Rotterdam” Environment and Planning A, 39(1): 125-141.

o   Guerrieri, V.; Hartley, D.; Hurst, E. 2013. "Endogenous gentrification and housing price dynamics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C): 45-60

o   McKinnish, T., Walsh, R., & White, T. K. 2010. “Who Gentrifies Low-Income Neighborhoods?” Journal of Urban Economics67(2): 180–193.

o   Hwang, J; Sampson, R.J. 2014. “Divergent Pathways of Gentrification.” American Sociological Review, 79(4): 726-751.

o   Chamberlain, L. 2006. “Tax Breaks Drive Philadelphia Boom” The New York Times

·      Additional/Supplementary Readings/Viewings:

o   Lavy, B.L.; Dascher, E.D., and Hagelman III, R.R.  2016.  “Media portrayal of gentrification and redevelopment on Rainey Street in Austin, Texas (USA), 2000–2014” City, Culture, and Society, 7(4): 197-207

o   Foster, G.C. 2016. “The Role of Environmental Justice in the Fight Against Gentrification” MIT Masters’ Thesis. 

o   Fleites, R. N.D.  “Gentrification and Urban Displacement Surrounding Fordham University’s Bronx Community.” Senior Thesis. [Chapters 3,4,6]

o   Lawrence, C.W. 2010. “New Neighbors in Old Neighborhoods: Explaining the Role of Heritage Conservation in Sociocultural Sustainability and Gentrification.” PennDesign Masters’ Thesis [Chapters 2,4,6]

o   Hochstenbach, C; van Gent, W.PC. 2015. “An Anatomy of Gentrification Processes: Variegating Causes of Neighbourhood Change.” Environment and Planning A, 47(7): 1480-1501.

o   Hwang, J.; Lin, J. 2016. "What Have We Learned About the Causes of Recent Gentrification?,"  Federal Reserve Working Paper 16-20, July 1.


Section 2: Gentrification Debates

Wednesday June 14 –

·      Read/View for Meeting:


o   Edsall, T. 2015.  “The Gentrification Effect” The New York Times, February 25.

o   Smith, K.  2016.  “Is Gentrification Really a Problem?” The New Yorker. July 11-18.

o   Whittle, H.J., et al. 2015. “Food Insecurity, Chronic Illness, and Gentrification in the San Francisco Bay Area: An Example of Structural Violence in United States Public Policy” Social Science and Medicine, 143: 154-161

o   Freeman, L. 2004.  There Goes the Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press [Chapters 3-6, skim 1-2]

o   Newman, K; Wyly, E. 2006. “The Right to Stay Put: Gentrification and Resistance to Displacement in New York City” Urban Studies, 43(1): 23-57

o   Slater, T. 2006. “The Eviction of Critical Perspectives from Gentrification Research” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 30(4): 737-757

o   Joseph, M. L.  2006. "Is mixed‐income development an antidote to urban poverty?" Housing Policy Debate ,17(2): 209-234. 

o   Hwang, J.; Lin, J. 2016.  “What Have We Learned About the Causes of Recent Gentrification?” Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Working Paper 16-20, July 1.

·      Additional/Supplementary Readings/Viewings

o   Cravatts, R. 2007. “Gentrification is Good for the Poor and Everyone Else” American Thinker


Section 3: Economic Restructuring and Gentrification

Friday July 7 (PAPER 1 DUE)

·      Read/View for Meeting:

o   Moskowitz, P. 2017. How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood.  Nation Books.

o   Smith, N. 1982. “Gentrification and Uneven Development”. Economic Geography 58(2): 139- 155

o   Molotch, H. 1976. “The City as a Growth Machine: Toward a Political Economy of Place.” American Journal of Sociology, 82(2): 309-332.

·      Additional/Supplementary Readings/Viewings

o   Gut Renovation [film]

 Section 4: Community Tensions and Gentrification

Wednesday July 19 (PAPER 2 DUE)

·      Read/View for Meeting:

o   Patillo, M. 2007. Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.   

o   Goetz, E.; Sidney, M. 1994. “Revenge of the Property Owners: Community Development and the Politics of Property.” Journal of Urban Affairs, 16 (4): 319-334.

o   Flag Wars: http://www.pbs.org/pov/flagwars/

·      Additional/Supplementary Readings/Viewings

o   Spain, D. 1993. “Been-Heres Versus Come-Heres: Negotiating Conflicting Community Identities,” Journal of the American Planning Association, 59(2): 156-171.

o   Papachristos, A. V.; Smith, C. M.; Scherer, M. L.; Fugiero, M. A. 2011. “More Coffee, Less Crime? The Relationship between Gentrification and Neighborhood Crime Rates in Chicago, 1991 to 2005.” City & Community, 10: 215–240.

o   Dávila, A. 2004. “Dreams of Place and Housing Struggles”, “’El Barrio es de Todos’: Predicaments of Culture and Place”, and “Empowered Culture? The Empowerment Zone and the Selling of El Barrio” In Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City. Chapters 1-3, pps. 1-127

o   Taylor, M. 2002. Harlem Between Heaven and Hell.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. [Chapters 1-4]


Section 5: Equitable and Inclusive Development

Wednesday Aug 2  (FINAL PAPER DUE 8/7)

·      Read/View for Meeting:

o   Bates, L. K. 2013.” Gentrification and Displacement Study: implementing an equitable inclusive development strategy in the context of gentrification.”

o   Salkin, P., & Lavine, A. 2008. “Understanding Community Benefits Agreements: Equitable Development, Social Justice and Other Considerations for Developers, Municipalities and Community Organizations.”

o   Rose, K. 2002. "Combating gentrification through equitable development." Race, Poverty & the Environment 9.1 (2002): 5-56.

o   Blackwell, Angela Glover. 2000. "Promoting equitable development." Ind. L. Rev. 34: 1273.

o   McGraw, H. 2012. "Theaster Gates: Radical Reform with Everyday Tools," Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry, 30

o   2017. “Program is Showing the Black Community How to ‘Buy Back the Block’ – One Investment at a Time” BlackNews.com. February 22.

·      Additional/Supplementary Readings/Viewings

o   Gates, T. “How To Revive a Neighborhood.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9ry1M7JlyE