What Happened to Grandma's House? Exploring Structure and Agency in the Gentrification of Seattle's Central Area.
Murphy, Emily Jordan
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The aim of this paper is to understand gentrification in terms of a structural process, identify the key actors and stakeholders, and focus on the hurdles plaguing one particular community organization at the heart of a gentrified neighborhood. I examine the significance of agency within Seattle's Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP) and the housing needs of the neighborhood's low-income African American residents. My goal is to examine gentrification in a unique and nuanced way by advancing the following arguments: (1) That gentrification is the teleology of Western modernity, embodied in the neoliberal market usurpation of the urban landscape; (2) That purely structural explanations of gentrification are morally disenfranchising and undermine individual and community agency. Informed by the conceptual framework from the literature review and my fieldwork in the Central Area, my final synthesis takes the form of recommends on how CAMP can build on preexisting community assets in order to better serve the housing needs of low-income African American residents in the community.