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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Gentrified Barrio : gentrification and the Latino community in San Francisco's Mission District

  • Author(s): Nyborg, Anne Meredith
  • et al.

Scholarly literature has focused predominantly on the role of the gentrifiers and the developers in the gentrification process without formally addressing the perceptions of existing residents. New studies that incorporate local resident sentiment reveal that contrary to popular wisdom, gentrification can actually have certain beneficial and appreciated effects on low-income communities. The reactions to gentrification of residents from different neighborhoods vary however, depending on the context of the neighborhood. For example, while studies of Harlem suggest that residents appreciate many changes in their neighborhood resulting from gentrification, the area had reached levels of blight unknown by other low-income communities. Although also low -income, other areas like working-class ethnic enclaves may be more hostile towards gentrification because their communities have not reached the same levels of disinvestment and abandonment. This thesis explores the experiences of long-term Latino residents in San Francisco's gentrifying Mission District with the aim of providing a fuller understanding of gentrification's impact on low-income communities. I conducted field research in the Mission District between September 2007 and January 2008 which included interviews with long-term Latino residents. I also conducted an historical analysis of the neighborhood in order to give my interview and participant observations context. I found that although Latino residents were concerned about certain changes to their neighborhood resulting from gentrification, their perceptions about the process were complex and incorporated other contextual factors. Instead of blaming all changes in the community on gentrification, they mapped out relationships between family, crime, unemployment, youth, and community culture

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