Session: Understanding, Measuring, and Contesting Gentrification through a Critical Race Lens (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

86 Understanding, Measuring, and Contesting Gentrification through a Critical Race Lens

Friday, January 17, 2020: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Liberty Ballroom K, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Communities and Neighborhoods (C&N)
Parthenia Luke Robinson, MSW, University of South Carolina, Monica Gutierrez, MSW, Arizona State University, Catalina Tang Yan, MS, Boston University, Amie Thurber, PhD, Portland State University and Mary Ohmer, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Gentrification is a complex phenomenon that deserves the attention of social work researchers and practitioners given the profession's commitment to social justice. Research suggests gentrification has historically been associated with racial inequities – particularly for low-income families. Indicative of economic growth, gentrification is often accompanied by the displacement of working-class racial minorities by higher-income white gentrifiers. Interestingly, some newer instances of gentrification have involved middle-class minority residents as gentrifiers of low-income minority neighborhoods. Despite the significance of racial dynamics within these changing communities, limited scholarly attention has been given to the racial implications of gentrification. Panelists for this roundtable discussion will attend to the importance of race and class in understanding, measuring, and contesting gentrification processes.

The first panelist will offer a brief introduction to Critical Race Theory (CRT) along with the ways in which particular tenets of CRT manifest in gentrification. The concepts of intersectionality, counter-storytelling, whiteness as property, and interest convergence will be explored. The second panelist will dovetail from that discussion, focusing on the importance of placing race and class at the forefront of the gentrification debate to enhance understanding of the systems that result in inequalities during the displacement process. The panelist will discuss how race and class are rarely theorized and measured in studies focused on gentrification; how displacement effects residents disproportionately based on race and class; and how race and class impact a community's ability to combat displacement.

The third panelist will present a tale of two cities: one with equitable economic growth and opportunity, and the other continuing to face poverty, inequality and the effects of structural racism, including insufficient housing, wages, employment, health care and education. The panelist will offer ways to assess and measure factors associated with gentrification: housing and neighborhood change, social connections, and community empowerment.

The fourth and fifth panelists will discuss approaches to contesting gentrification and advocating for social change. One panelist will speak about experiences using participatory action research for grassroots community organizing with groups impacted by gentrification processes. The final panelist will then share about Portland, Oregon's recently-launched “Preference Policy” which provides targeted affordable housing to residents who were displaced in prior eras of urban development. This case presents the opportunity to explore the possibilities, complications, and limitations of housing policy that explicitly adopts a racial equity lens.

Bringing together students and faculty, this roundtable will contribute to the scholarly conversation around gentrification and displacement by illuminating the connections between gentrification, race, and class; by offering practical policy and community-driven approaches to gentrification; and by providing an opportunity for researchers to share new ideas.

See more of: Roundtables