Did you know that when asked, more Oakland community members believe that gentrification is shoddy for Oakland? Why would they say that gentrification will have a negative impact on Oakland? Gentrification is the rapid development of a city in order to “modernize” it. Many cities have gone through gentrification, such as San Francisco, Brooklyn, and Los Angeles. Some cities, like Oakland, are still going through gentrification. But there can be mixed feelings about whether or not gentrification is positive or negative. I believe that the Oakland community thinks gentrification will have a negative impact on Oakland because it makes people leave their homes, it increases housing price drastically, and too many new people are starting to move in, causing more buildings to be built.
The Oakland community believes that gentrification is negative because it makes people leave their homes. In an interview with a high school student at LIFE Academy in Oakland, he said why he believed gentrification was a negative change for Oakland, and stated, “[Some changes that I have seen because of gentrification is that] there are many more houses and apartments being built, and more people have to move out to let the city build those houses/shops/buildings.” (Yang). A downside to new buildings is that there needs to be space to build, and to get more space, they will have to build on open areas, or demolish old buildings. The highly chosen option is to demolish old buildings, which would force people out, making more people lose their homes. Also, another reason people would get kicked out is because of prices going up. When a family can not afford a house, they have to leave or they will be arrested (for living in the house without paying). Additionally, when UC Berkeley researchers mapped gentrification and displacement in Oakland, they saw some interesting facts. Gillian Edevane, a news reporter, notes, “Oakland neighborhoods that are experiencing ‘advanced gentrification,’ according to the study, include Lower Bottoms, Old Oakland, and Northgate/Koreatown… The researchers also said ‘the crisis is not yet half over’ and that the city can expect the displacement of lower-income households to accelerate in coming years” (Edevane). What was interesting is that most of the neighborhoods experiencing advanced gentrification were lower income neighborhoods. This was interesting to me because those places aren’t seen as significant and, as such, the city wants to make those places the prime target of gentrification because they aren’t as important as other wealthier neighborhoods and can be easily changed. The community doesn’t think gentrification is positive because more people are getting kicked out to make room for the wealthier newcomers.
Another reason as to why the community thinks gentrification is negative is because of the sudden rise of housing price and rent price. My second interviewee, Jay Cox, is an EDP Coach at Life Academy, and is a native from Oakland. He shows, “I have absolutely seen prices go up. When I came back from college, I saw a HUGE change in price, compared to before.” (Cox). This proves that prices going up have surprised the community. For example, Cox told me two days after the interview that he didn’t expect to see prices go that high up. If Jay, someone who left Oakland for only 6 years for college, saw that huge change in price, than there must’ve been others who lived here and must’ve gotten angry, which might be another reason why people left. Something else that Jay pointed out was, “I don’t think [gentrification] is fair because if you were to look at how much people are getting paid, they get paid less than a house would cost to buy” (Cox). The quote says that the prices are going up, but paychecks are staying the same, which would make it harder for anyone who worked in Oakland to buy a house because they aren’t getting paid enough. This can also be infuriating to residents because they might want to move out of their apartments or other lower-income neighborhoods, but they can’t because newer houses are too expensive to buy, and they may have to work more than one job to make sufficient money to buy said house. So, if people have to pay more for houses, then they can see gentrification as a negative for Oakland.
Finally, gentrification is seen as negative to Oakland because there are too many new buildings. Firstly, Adrian Kudler, a writer for the Curbed L.A website, is discussing the history and effects of the Brooklyn Basin community, and she reports, “but today a new Brooklyn is about to rise on part of the old one, in the form of a 64-acre, $1.5-billion development called Brooklyn Basin that will create an entirely new neighborhood just southeast of the Jack London loft district (home to hundreds of recently built housing units), on two peninsulas of what was most recently port-run land sandwiched between the 880 Freeway and the Oakland Estuary. It will be Oakland’s biggest new housing development in many decades.”(Kudler). A significant phrase that is a part of this quote is “in the form of a 64-acre, $1.5 billion development…”. This is significant because it shows how much money will be put into this project. $1.5 billion is a lot of money, and that money could be used on other, more significant objects, such as rebuilding old buildings (like apartments, family-owned shops, and parks). Something else is that not everyone will be able to buy a house for Brooklyn Basin. I believe that when built in 2019, the condos/houses/apartments will be expensive to suit the likes of higher income families, so low and some medium income families might not be able to afford the pricing. Secondly, because of all of the newcomers, people won’t have places to live. Robert Ogilvie, SPUR’s (a non-profit organization) Oakland director, who works to help improve the life of those in low and middle income communities, explains, “New construction, and lots of it, is critical if we’re going to get ourselves out of the current housing shortage. But the fear people feel about it is legitimate.” (Ogilvie). This quote is significant because it says that we need more houses in order to have fair housing. What this means is that more space will be needed, and the easiest way to obtain space is to demolish buildings that aren’t seen as “significant” by the city. And, building more houses will just make our limited resources go away faster, which would put the future world in a dismal state.
Some may argue that more houses gives more people a chance to live in Oakland. For example, in the article “Brooklyn Rises on the Oakland Waterfront,” Kudler is describing what the proposed community of Brooklyn Basin would be like when it is built. She suggests, “ Proposed and shepherded by Oakland-based Signature Development Group, Brooklyn Basin comprises a dozen parcels that, in 10 or 12 years, should hold up to 3,100 residential units, 200,000 square feet of retail space, at least 3,950 parking spaces, four parks and other open space, and two marinas” (Kudler). This quote suggests that because of the rapid gentrification, more communities like Brooklyn Basin can be built. And, all of those new communities will give people who are just moving in a chance to live in a brand-new community, which might lower the cost of other houses because there would be more houses, which would lower the demand.
The community thinks that gentrification will be negative on Oakland because many people have to leave their homes, housing prices going up, and because of all of the new houses that are being built. What the community can do is protest, non-violently, for their thoughts, whether they are positive thoughts or negative thoughts.
Cagle, Susie. “Oakland Wants You to Stop Calling It the “Next Brooklyn”.” Next City, 15 Dec. 2014,
This article talks about gentrification in Oakland. It gives a brief history of how gentrification has affected the community by giving three perspectives; a salon owner who has lived in Oakland, a new homeowner who just moved to Oakland, and a new business owner who moved to Oakland. This source is credible because it gives facts and statistics about Oakland and gentrification. It also gives the community a chance to tell the world how they feel about gentrification.
Cox, Jay. “Gentrification Interview.” 8 Jan. 2018.
I interviewed Jay Cox, an EDP Coach for Journalism at LIFE Academy who was just hired, on January 8th, 2018. We discussed how gentrification has impacted not just the community, but how it has affected him as well. Jay is credible because he has first-hand experience with buying a house and seeing how people reacted to gentrification when it was active.
Edevane, Gillian. “UC Berkeley Researchers Map Oakland Gentrification and Displacement.” East Bay Express, East Bay Express, 20 Dec. 2017, www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/08/28/uc-berkeley-researchers-map-oakland-gentrification-and-displacement.
This article talks about how researchers at UC Berkeley mapped gentrification and displacement in Oakland. For example, there are seven maps that all show different things that all connect back to gentrification, like housing price changes, displacement, etc. This article is credible because the maps were created by UC Berkeley, and the article was written by the East Bay Express, which means that they are a news source from the East Bay area.
Kudler, Adrian Glick. “Brooklyn rises on the Oakland waterfront.” Curbed, Curbed, 29 June 2016, 9:49 a.m, www.curbed.com/2016/6/29/12010862/brooklyn-basin-oakland-gentrification.
This article talks about how Oakland is turning into the “Brooklyn of the West”. What this means is that more people are calling Oakland “Brooklyn” because of the rapid gentrification that is occuring. This rapid gentrification also happened to Brooklyn, hence the name. It also talks about the changes, the effects, and the future of the city. This source is credible because of the evidence that it states, like the new $1.5 billion development on the southeast of Jack London district, called Brooklyn Basin. This is a very precise fact that must have required research in order to obtain, and this also means that there must have been a lot of research going into this article.
Ogilvie, Robert. “What’s Going On: Tensions, and Solutions, in a Changing Oakland.” KCET, 27 Sept. 2017, www.kcet.org/shows/city-rising/whats-going-on-tensions-and-solutions-in-a-changing-oakland.
This article discusses the effects of gentrification on the community. For examples, it gives pictures of community-led protests, like blocking I-880. It also talks about how the community is slowly but surely resisting the effects of gentrification. This source is credible because it shows maps and gives a lot of evidence about how gentrification has positives and negatives, which also proves that the article is unbiased.
Yang, Xin. “Gentrification Interview.” 8 Jan. 2018.
I interviewed Xin Yang, a High School student at LIFE Academy, on January 8th, 2018. We discussed gentrification in Oakland, how it has affected the community, and whether or not gentrification is positive or negative. Xin is credible because he lives in Oakland and will continue to contribute to the community via LIFE Academy certifications.
Tags: Blog Post community gentrification LifeAcademy Oakland