Tag: Gentrification


Abraham Avnisan
Kent State University

Christian Anderson
University of Washington Bothell

Amir Sheikh
Independent Scholar


Gallery Project Statement

unARchived is a mobile publishing platform and accompanying website that uses geolocation and augmented reality to explore critical histories and narratives of place. Created in collaboration with The People’s Geography of Seattle, as well as undergraduate students at University of Washington Bothell, unARchived is an open-source project designed to enable the creation and distribution of content by and for the public. Using augmented reality technologies, the project engages with archival documents in order to reveal changes in the built environment over time, spark critical conversations about those changes, and highlight efforts to create more just and equitable urban futures. By overlaying current buildings and landmarks with images, historical documents, stories, and other qualitatively rich content, the app can present the changing history of particular places in any number of unique and interactive ways.

As we have been developing and piloting unARchived, we have focused on Pioneer Square, Seattle’s oldest neighborhood, to show some modest examples of what the platform can do. As the project continues to develop, the app will empower communities with different experiences of these histories to create and share their own narratives. Eventually, we’d love to collaborate with communities and support them in creating and sharing their own experiences using the platform.

We hope unARchived will become a tool to facilitate serious analysis and conversation about development, displacement, community, urban culture and ecology, the promises and perils of technology, and other tensions that have been with the city since its founding, and which continue to be actively negotiated in the present. Ultimately, we hope unARchived will become a multi-sited, multi-layered collective project spanning multiple communities and extending beyond the city of Seattle.

Mapping Racial Capitalism: Gentrification and Legacies of Redlining in New York City

Nerve V. Macaspac
College of Staten Island, The City University of New York

Gallery Project Statement

What are the geographies of racial capitalism? How can mapping and integrating the historical data of redlining with the contemporary patterns of gentrification reveal the spatiality of racial capitalism? In New York City, Amazon’s plan of building a second headquarters in Long Island City (LIC), supported by $3 billion tax incentives offered by the state government, was widely opposed by community groups and select city officials and was eventually canceled. Had the plan pushed through, the proposed Amazon HQ2 would have been constructed under a 99-year net lease on Vernon Blvd. in LIC (Amazon.com Services, Inc. 2018) and would be within formerly redlined neighborhoods. AmazonHQ2 also would have been one of at least 75 new constructions of mixed-use buildings and luxury rentals within redlined neighborhoods in LIC. At the height of the #NoAmazonHQ2 grassroots campaign in 2018 and 2019, this project mapped the geographies of redlining in LIC in the 1930s (Nelson, et al. 2019) and integrated the data with real estate redevelopment and building constructions between 2008 and 2018. Through Geographic Information Systems (GIS), these maps illustrate the spatial patterns that reveal how redlining and gentrification are corollary to the broader processes of racial capitalism. At stake in this project is a better understanding of the structural, material and spatial features of racial capitalism, particularly in the context of post-recession gentrification driven by state-corporate partnerships (Smith and Hackworth 2002; Hackworth 20002) and the “real estate state” (Stein 2019). Further, this project contributes to our understanding of the ways in which gentrification are rooted upon the revanchist policies of both state and market toward working class people (Smith 1996), the devaluation of Black and Brown lives and futures under capitalism (Robinson 2000), and the ongoing cycle of racial banishment in cities (Roy 2017).

Citations and Works Cited

Amazon.com Services, Inc. 2018. Long Island City Development Project, last accessed September 1, 2019, https://d39w7f4ix9f5s9.cloudfront.net/4d/db/a54a9d6c4312bb171598d0b2134c/new-york-agreement.pdf

Hackworth, Jason and Neil Smith. 2002. “The changing state of gentrification,” Journal of Economic and Social Geography 92(4), 464-477. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9663.00172

Nelson, Robert K., LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, et al., “Mapping Inequality,” American Panorama, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, last accessed September 1, 2019, https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/ #loc=13/40.736/-73.949&city=queens-ny 

Robinson, Cedric. 2000. Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina.

Roy, Ananya. 2017. “Dis/possessive collectivism: Property and personhood at city’s end,” Geoforum, last accessed September 1, 2019, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.12.012  

Smith, Neil. 1996. The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. London: Routledge.
Stein, Samuel. 2019. Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State. New York: Verso.

Gourmet Gentrification: Mapping Elite Tastes Along New York’s Consumption Frontier, 1990-2015

Will Payne

University of California, Berkeley

Theorists of gentrification and other urban scholars have long considered the spread of upscale amenities like restaurants, cafes, and bars to be important visual indicators of gentrification in the built environment. Scholars from urban geographer Neil Smith to sociologists Sharon Zukin, Sylvie Tissot, and Richard Ocejo have demonstrated how new high-end consumption spaces can themselves become spurs to further change in an area, in an unfolding dialectic of rising cultural and real estate capital, forcing out low-income residents. In this paper, I extend this tradition to consider the role of evolving informational networks about urban consumption, from paper guidebooks like the Zagat Survey to mobile location-based service (LBS) and web mapping applications like Yelp, Foursquare, and Google Local, and their interaction with broader trends in urban inequality and sociospatial segmentation. In my research, I argue that changes in the production and distribution of spatial data about urban amenities help to accelerate gentrification and residential displacement, as the use value of local businesses like gourmet restaurants and bars is quickly inscribed into digital databases and realized as exchange value in real estate and tourist markets. This paper looks at the period from 1990-2015, using data from New York’s pioneer “user-generated” restaurant guide the Zagat Survey to trace the contours of “gourmet gentrification” over time, with special attention to the accelerating rate of change in Brooklyn neighborhoods.