Course Description

What is gentrification? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the verb “gentrify” as: To change (a place, such as an old neighborhood) by improving it and making it more appealing to people who have money. But what does the process of gentrification actually look like? Who are the players? What are the driving forces? What are outcomes of such change?

To answer these questions and countless others, students will use multimedia tools to examine how cultural institutions, places of consumption, recreational spaces, and public infrastructure affect a neighborhood’s culture and evolution. The neighborhood is the center of urban life — a delicate network of community and culture. Throughout the course, we will examine the ecosystems of changing places and explore the interwoven elements of race and ethnicity, history, politics, economics, and space.

Students will carry out extensive site visits, meet with a range of relevant stakeholders, delve into detailed archival research, and learn to collect meaningful quantitative and qualitative data. In seminar, students will engage with and develop their own written and multimedia materials that address the complex, delicate topic at hand. The goal of this course is to master and apply digital media tools in order to document and analyze the phenomenon of gentrification. Students will develop theoretical and practical frameworks for discussing and analyzing the factors that the shape the complexity of social, spatial, economic, political, and cultural dynamics within urban neighborhoods. At the conclusion of the course, students will present their evidence-based analysis of a gentrifying neighborhood and articulate their opinions, generalizations, analysis, and judgments based on a set of criteria that the class develops together.
Students will engage in site visits and work with experienced content producers from East Village based media company Alldayeveryday, as well as other experts. Students will directly engage with stakeholders, including local community organizations, residents, business leaders, and elected officials, among others.