Gentrification continues to be on the minds and tongues of

residents of Oakland

and in the news coverage about Oakland. Do you find yourself talking about it? Do you avoid the subject? Do you not know enough about it and so you are hesitant to take a stance?

Here are six views on Gentrification in Oakland

to get you started if you are just joining the conversation. If you have been a part of the conversation, there is sure to be something in here that fires you up.

Gentrification in Oakland is…

1. A Beneficial Renewal

2. A Deliberate Political Program to Benefit Developers

3. An overhaul of Urban Working Class Communities of Color to Profit People Outside of These Communities

4. Aiding in the Breakdown of Race Barriers

5. Complicated & Individual

6. Quan’s Save Face Development and Displacement Campaign

 

Photo creditL crpbayarea.org

Photo credit: crpbayarea.org

1. A Beneficial Renewal

Oakland Mofo defines gentrification as “The process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents” and sees this as beneficial to those areas that are deteriorating, mainly because this blogger sees gentrification as offering more options rather than replacing those that already exist.

 

2. Deliberate Political Program to Benefit Developers

Phat beets, a food justice collective in Oakland, hold the view that gentrification is not a natural process. Real estate, business owners, developers, police and government are behind the push to bring in more affluent people and push out the residents that are already there (mostly working class minorities), in order to put more cash in their own pockets.

Photo credit: phatbeets.com

Photo credit: phatbeets.com

 

3. An overhaul of urban working class communities of color to profit people outside of these communities

Maria Poblet, a local journalist, defines gentrification similarly to Phat Beets in her blog post about Oakland. She says that gentrification in Oakland and other urban areas is not just deliberate, but a competition between members outside of the communities they are changing, to get at the money that can be made by further abandoning the working class people of color who have made lives for themselves in urban areas.

Photo Credit: organizing upgrade.com via article "Struggle for the Flatlands"

Photo Credit: organizing upgrade.com via article “Struggle for the Flatlands”

 

4. Aiding in the Breakdown of Race Barriers

Los Angeles visiting journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan compares the gentrification in Oakland to that in LA, underscoring her experience of the increased breakdown of race barriers, which creates a promise of greater social change to come. Read her blogpost onKcet here .

Block Party Outside of Galleries and Shops on 15th St downtown Oakland

Block Party Outside of Galleries and Shops on 15th St downtown Oakland

 

5. Complicated and Individual

Journalist Megan Herning holds the opinion that gentrification in Oakland is much more complicated than a simple good or bad. Her central question to Oakland residents is “Why is Oakland Home for You?” Focusing on an event held at Impact Hub in Oakland, she notes the not often mentioned factor of young African American professionals who live in Oakland and have different goals and realities than the working class. The stories of individuals showed passion-driven pursuits that led people to Oakland. There was also an emphasis on “inclusive gentrification” which aims to help individuals in poverty move out of it, as well as stay in Oakland. One other perspective Herning brings to the conversation on gentrification is that transplants to Oakland see Oakland as home, which distinguishes gentrification in Oakland from other Urban places where many gentrifiers are only temporary inhabitants.

Read the rest of her blog post here.

photo credit: Dakarai Towle via popfront.us article "Oakland Buck the Gentrification Trend"

photo credit: Dakarai Towle via popfront.us article “Oakland Buck the Gentrification Trend”

 

6. Quan’s Save Face Development and Displacement Campaign

The mayor’s plan to bring 10,000 new residents to Oakland, especially her plan for West Oakland, is seen by advance the struggle as a capitalist venture that ignores the impacts on the environment, laws on zoning and the people who are already living in these areas that will no longer be able to stay living there when these “opportunity sites” raise the rents. These tactics will serve to bring in new people but not do anything to help the people already there stay in place and benefit from any of the improvements. In a footnote, bloggers at advance the struggle elaborate on their definition of a gentrifier as being house flippers and developers who sell to the wealthy, those involved in government, city planning who pass racist laws to increase revenue, as well as the individual people that make lots of money and can come into these newly developed areas and live. The bloggers do say that this last group is not the same as the first two, but is culpable in that they start behaving in cooperation with the other two groups, contributing to the growing gap in accessibility between them and the residents that lived in theses areas before these changes.

Mary Quan at OakCatVidFest

Mary Quan at OakCatVidFest

 

Want to be a part of the conversation? Email me at [email protected]

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