Changing Cities: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood (Second 7 weeks) Jun 20-Aug. 1
S 2018


“Gentrification” of our cities has been occurring across the US for the last 20 years, intensifying over time. Some see this development as a revitalization of cities and urban spaces, while others argue that it is displacing people and communities, destroying the fabric of civil society in those neighborhoods.

In this SDG, we will look at what gentrification means and what impact it has.  Using Peter Moskowitz's How to Kill a City (2017) as our core book, supplemented by a number of articles, we will try to understand this process from various points of view.  We will analyze the forces behind gentrification in a number of specific cities and consider how the question of who can and cannot afford to pay rent affects inequality and racial justice. 

Weekly Topics

  1. What gentrification is and how it works:  A look at New Orleans (core book, part I)
  2. A case study of Detroit (core book, part 2)
  3. San Francisco: the epitome of a gentrified city (core book, part 3)
  4. New York:  Changing neighborhoods/changing rents/changing demographics (core book, part 4) 
  5. Los Angeles:  A look at our own backyard (see bibliography below for readings on LA) 
  6. Is gentrification a problem? (see bibliography below for readings)
  7. How will our cities look in the future? 


Note that none of the readings supplementing the core book are terribly long.

Core Book:

Peter Moskowitz, How to Kill a City (2017) 

Readings on Los Angeles: 

Map of most gentrified areas in LA: 

Los Angeles gentrification:

Urban displacement in LA:

This site lists a number of readings on LA gentrification:

Readings for weeks 6 and 7:

What happens with gentrification:

Is gentrification really a problem:

How to stop gentrification:

 What gentrification does:

Kelefa Sanneh, There Goes the Neighborhood: Is it really a problem when poor areas get richer. The New Yorker, July 11 & 18, 2016.

The end of black Harlem:

Myths about gentrification:

The following book would not be required (it is long and expensive) but the coordinator may want to copy a few of the papers included in the book for the class to read at various points during the term:

The Gentrification Reader by Loretta Lees (2010)