AB: The Consequences of Gentrificiation

Jackson, Jonathan. “The Consequences of Gentrification for Racial Change in Washington, DC.” Housing Policy Debate, vol. 25, no. 2, Dec. 2014, pp. 353–373.

In his scholarly article “The Consequences of Gentrification of Racial Change in Washington, DC,” Jonathan Jackson looks at the effects of gentrification on the racial composition and transformation of urban neighborhoods.  While focusing on Washington D.C, the author uses quantitative research to compare’s demographics and displacement in gentrifying and non gentrifying areas. Jackson uses his findings to conclude that gentrification correlates to the displacement of African Americans. 

I can use this article as a method source to analyze the authors method in his study on gentrification in Washington, and apply this to my site located in the Shaw neighborhood.   I will be able to use information the author gathered from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau to connect my individual site to the larger picture.  By using this article I will be able to discuss the implications and problems with gentrification not only in my site, but in Washington D.C. as a whole.  

AB: The Back To The City Movement

Hyra, D. “The Back-to-the-City Movement: Neighbourhood Redevelopment and Processes of      Political and Cultural Displacement.” Urban Studies, vol. 52, no. 10, 2014, pp. 1753–1773.

In his scholarly article, “The Back-To-The-City movement: Neighborhood redevelopment and processes of political and cultural displacement,” Derek Hyra uses the Shaw neighborhood as a case study to analyze the effects of the area’s revitalization.  Hyra’s case study explains how the increasing amounts of development projects due to rising populations in D.C. has caused an influx of upper-middle class white citizens into primarily African American neighborhoods. The article then analyzes how this trend has affected African American’s political and cultural displacement from areas they had previously lived.  

I will use this article as a background and exhibit source.  I will use the information gathered during the author’s four year case study on Shaw to provide context on the “back-to-the-city” movement occurring in the area.  Because the author did his case study where my site is located, I can also use this article as an exhibit source to analyze the affects of the revitalization happening in Shaw.

A New Sociospatial Dialectic

In chapter eight of his book City of Rhetoric, David Fleming argues that different environments in which people live are a key factor in influencing individuals opportunities and thus their participation in public life.  To prove this claim, Fleming provides indirect and direct examples of where the place in which people live determines their behavior.  One example Fleming includes is proximity to jobs.  Those who are geographically close to job opportunities are more likely to be employed and keep the job.  However, research shows that “the fastest growing locations for low-skilled jobs in this country tend to be the low income adults that would benefit from them.”  A close proximity to job betters one’s opportunities and abilities to develop civic skills, however due to their location groups of people are placed at a disadvantage (187).  Fleming states that the quality and character of neighborhood schools is the most important factor for the development of civic capacities.  He supports this by saying residence patterns stratified by race and class has created inferior school systems.  This difference in quality of education for different groups of people affects the distribution of civic abilities and opportunities (189). Fleming argues that the landscape of contemporary North America is segregated by race and class.  This segregation perpetuates people’s inabilities to develop rhetorical skills and participate in civic life because there is a lack of communication between these communities.  In conclusion to his chapter Fleming calls for humans to create “strong publics” by evenly distributing opportunities into communities that are geographically disadvantaged.  Fleming claims the solution to the issues raised in this chapter is to create more commonplaces where diverse people can connect with one another (191).


Works Cited

Fleming, David. “Toward a New Sociospatial Dialectic.” City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2009. 179-194. Print.

What Is A Ghetto?

“The ghetto, defined by the 1968 Kerner Commission as ‘an area within a city characterized by poverty and acute social disorganization and inhabited by members of a racial or ethnic group  under conditions of involuntary segregation.'”


This is a quote from David Fleming’s book City of Rhetoric.  This is the first time I have read an actual definition of the term “ghetto.”  Growing up in a primarily white middle class neighborhood I knew what a ghetto was, but  I never truly understood or was taught the circumstances behind how they formed.  Just by reading this simple definition I realize how the stigma surrounding these communities is insensitive and counter productive.

RA: Ghetto


In chapter four of his book City of Rhetoric, David Fleming explains how American Ghettos were intentionally created and used to systematically oppress racial or ethnic groups through the example of African Americans in Chicago.  Chicago is used to illustrate Flemings arguments because the city’s “extreme spatial manifestation of [its socio economic] subjugation” makes it a prime example of an American Ghetto (65).  

Fleming explains how Chicago’s segregation was intentional by describing it’s ghetto’s formation.  In the 1800’s slaves travelling on the Underground Railroad formed a neighborhood on the South branch of the Chicago River, however racist attitudes discouraged them from moving into white neighborhoods in the North, East and West parts of the city.  By 1908, a group called the “Improvement Club” was created to keep African Americans confined the South Side by petitioning for segregated schools and blacklisting real estate agencies that allowed black residents move into white neighborhoods. Their efforts resulted in African Americans increasingly confined to areas where housing conditions were poor, in what is called “the black belt” (68-69).  

Fleming then uses different events in history to illustrate how the city’s ghettos were utilized to isolate and oppress African Americans. During The Great Migration following World War I,  Chicago’s black population more than doubled during this time as farmers in the South moved north to fill industry jobs created by the war.  Chicago’s African American population dramatic increase caused white residents to fear an overflow of the black belt into their neighborhoods. This resulted in attacks on the black population including destruction of their homes and businesses.  Not only did white violence keep the increasing black population confined, but Chicago’s Real Estate Board created covenants restricting African Americans from moving into white neighborhoods (73).  A similar migration of African Americans to Chicago occurred after World War II.  However, a building boom allowed for middle class white families to move to the suburbs.  This dramatic shift in demographics allowed for the black belt to expand West and further South resulting in what is called “the second ghetto” (75).  Fleming argues that although the size of the ghetto increased, the black population remained segregated due to white violence, urban renewal, and public housing.  By the late 1960’s there was a massive decrease in manufacturing jobs resulting in severe underemployment in Chicago’s ghettos and increasing poverty.  As these areas deteriorated, middle class African Americans fled.  By the mid 1990’s Chicago’s ghettos were a site of extreme poverty (87).

 The history of Chicago’s ghettos illustrate how racism drove residents and policy makers to isolate and confine African American populations, and economic changes in the country restricted these people’s socioeconomic mobility resulting in a cycle of poverty.


Works Cited

Fleming, David. “Ghetto.” City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2009. 65-90. Print.

The Elephant In The Room

“When there is an invisible elephant in the room, one is from time to time bound to trip over a trunk.”


This sentence is taken from Karen Joy Fowler’s novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I chose this quote because I enjoyed how the author played with the idiom of the invisible elephant and turned it into a metaphor.


The first part of the sentence before the comma is a dependent clause because the “when” that starts the sentence makes the first part incomplete.  The verb is not introduced until the second half of the sentence, making the second have an independent clause.  However, both clauses rely on each other because the dependent clause gives context to the independent clause.