Session: The Complex Relationship between Gentrification and Community Violence: A Review of Multidisciplinary Theory and Evidence (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

250 The Complex Relationship between Gentrification and Community Violence: A Review of Multidisciplinary Theory and Evidence

Saturday, January 19, 2019: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Golden Gate 1, Lobby Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Communities and Neighborhoods (C&N)
Amy Krings, MSW, PhD, Loyola University, Chicago, Amie Thurber, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Mary Ohmer, PhD, University of Pittsburgh and Linda Sprague Martinez, PhD, Boston University
As wealth inequality among neighborhoods has increased, so has gentrification (Pendall & Hedman, 2015). In fact, urban neighborhoods are now gentrifying at twice the rate of the 1990s (Maciag, 2015). This trend is of interest to social work scholars and practitioners who aim to reduce structural and community-level violence for a number of reasons. Most importantly, gentrification can negatively impact existing residents (who are disproportionately poor and people of color) while benefiting new ones (who are disproportionately higher income and white). Among existing residents, gentrification has been correlated with increases in landlord surveillance (Stabrowski, 2014) and neighborhood policing (Smith, 2002). Given that on average, unarmed black men are 3.49 times more likely to be shot by police than unarmed white residents (Ross, 2015), increased surveillance may heighten the risk of violence for black residents. Moreover, threats of displacement caused by gentrification pose serious threats to the emotional and academic wellbeing of children (Formoso et al., 2010) and impact family stability by increasing the physical distance between people and their employment, health and social services, and familial and social ties. This roundtable will add to social work knowledge relating to inequitable development and its impacts on vulnerable and marginalized communities. Specifically, it will bring together social work researchers to discuss equitable development as a means to prevent structural and community violence in marginalized communities. Drawing upon a critical analysis, participants will consider relationships between gentrification and structural racism, gender and ethnic biases, and community violence. Alternatives to gentrification will be discussed, including social work theory and methods relating to equitable development, which combines people-based and place-based strategies; creates new tools and instruments to enable low-income residents to gain an equitable stake in the revitalization of their communities; and actively builds the voice of residents to become change agents in development (Policy Link, 2001).

Questions that will guide our discussion include:

- What is the state of social work knowledge regarding the relationship between inequitable development and community violence?

- How can social work community and policy practitioners balance the goal of improving community health and wellbeing with local concerns about displacement due to rising property values?

- How might social workers ensure that existing residents--including people of color, youth, and older adults--have a voice in the development of their communities and that community investment does not result in their removal or other forms of violence?

- How can residents leverage existing local policies to gain more control over the development process locally?

- How can the social work profession integrate research from other disciplines including urban studies, urban planning, and public health as it relates to equitable development and, likewise, how can social work theory and research inform those disciplines?

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