A Brief Survey

Do you care about gentrification in Oakland?
Why or why not?
Is gentrification a good or a bad thing?
Does "gentrification" happen in the same way or to the same degree everywhere?
Why do some area "gentrify" but others do not?
What can be done to stop gentrification?
Can you get some of gentrification's benefits without all of its downsides?

Learning Outcomes Class I Concepts, operationalization, variables, units/levels of analysis, attribute spaces

  1. empirical questions vs. theoretical, political, personal
  2. conceptualization and definitions
  3. concept, conversation, operationalization
  4. variables, constants, indicators
  5. units of analysis, units of observation, ecological fallacy
  6. levels of measurement

Is Oakland gentrifying? Is it being gentrified?

First of all, where does this word come from? gen·try is a noun that shows up in late middle-english to mean
people of good social position, (in the UK) the class of people next below the nobility in position and birth, one might hear the phrase "a member of the landed gentry." It's synonyms are upper classes, privileged classes, elite, high society, haut monde, smart set; establishment, aristocracy; informal upper crust, top drawer (source: google definition)

This sort of research gets us only so far because gentrification is what we call a "term of art" - a term that even if used in everyday discourse, it means something quite specific in a given discipline or field.

And so, we want to inquire about how social scientists who study urban communities use the term.

Consider this passage from an Urban Institute Report (2006)

For the purposes of this study, we define gentrification as the process whereby higher-income households move into low income neighborhoods, escalating the area’s property values to the point that displacement occurs. In addition to changes in economic class, gentrification often involves a change in a neighborhood’s racial and ethnic composition, which can further alter an area’s characteristics, potentially leading to community tension.

What kind of a thing? It is a PROCESS.

What are the moving parts, the objects, the actors, the arenas? neighborhoods, communities, households, properties (homes, parcels)

What are some of the properties of these parts? income, value, race, ethnicity, tension

Framing "gentrification" in terms of what kind of thing it is, what it involves, what changes, etc. is CONCEPTUALIZATION. It means doing the mental work to nail down the details of the whatness of soem

DEF: a unit of analysis is the entity about which data are gathered. In any research project there will be a set of entities about which you will make observations and measurements. This might be individuals whom you interview, households about which you gather data, countries about which you record information.

In the most general sense, we think of the entities as "cases" and the things we know about them as "variables" and we arrange them in a table that is "Cases by Variables":

So, what neighborhoods in Oakland are gentrifying?

oak-nhoods.png

Let's look at some online information about gentrification in Oakland. This is from Governing, an online magazine targeted at "state and local government leaders." They have a feature on gentrification in major cities including Oakland. Their analysis tries to characterize Oakland census tracts as "gentrifying," "not gentrifying," or "not eligible for gentrification" over a particular period of time.

ASIDE: a census tract is a "neighborhood-sized" geographic area used by the Bureau of Census for analyzing population and housing. A tract typically contains between 2,500 to 8,000 residents. The boundaries are intended to be more or less permanent over time but they do change slightly from census to census (most often by being subdivided so that the original boundaries are still used). If you want to do census research over time you have to use a "concordance" to match data.

State
County
County subdivision
Place (or part)
Census tract (or part)
Block group (or part)
Block

census-hierarchy2.png
census-hierarchy.jpg

Each tract has a FIPS number. The numbering system goes hierarchically too: STATE (we are 06), COUNTY (we are 01) and then TRACT (Oakland goes from 1401 to 1405 with several fractional tracks along the way to give us 113 total)

FIPSCode_Part4.png

Here's a map of Oakland showing census tracts

oakland-tracts.png

Here are Governing's Definitions:

Gentrifying Census Tracts: These

  1. lower-income Census tracts
  2. experienced significant growth in both home values
  3. and educational attainment.

To be eligible to gentrify,

  1. a tract's median household income and
  2. median home value needed to fall within the bottom 40th percentile of all tracts within a metro area at the beginning of the decade.

Tracts considered to have gentrified
recorded increases in the top third percentile for both inflation-adjusted median home values and percentage of adults with bachelors’ degrees.

Tracts Not Gentrifying: These Census tracts met eligibility criteria, but did not experience enough growth in educational attainment and median home values relative to other tracts within a metro area to have gentrified.

Not Eligible Tracts: These tracts, typically middle and upper-income neighborhoods, did not meet the initial criteria for gentrification. To be eligible to gentrify, a tract's median household income and median home value both needed to be in the bottom 40th percentile of all tracts within a metro area at the start of a decade. Tracts with less than 500 residents or missing data were also considered not eligible.

Learning Outcomes Class II Scales, indices, levels of measurement, validity, accuracy, precision, reliability

Learning Outcomes Class III Causation, experimental design, threats to validity

Learning Outcomes Class IV Why sample, probability sampling, non-probability sampling

Shoe Sizes
The Real Brooklyn by the Bay East Bay Express FEBRUARY 03, 2016

For the purposes of this study, we define gentrification as the process whereby higher-income households move into low income neighborhoods, escalating the area’s property values to the point that displacement occurs. In addition to changes in economic class, gentrification often involves a change in a neighborhood’s racial and ethnic composition, which can further alter an area’s characteristics, potentially leading to community tension.

Gentrification also involves investment in previously neglected neighborhoods. Those entities seeking to minimize displacement associated with gentrification face the challenge of encouraging neighborhood investment without negatively affecting residents who have weathered years of neighborhood disinvestment.

We characterize the neighborhoods in this study as being in an early, middle, or later stage of gentrification in order to examine the usefulness of strategies within the context of the local housing market, and to acknowledge the balance needed between encouraging revitalization and managing gentrification. Though there are no exact thresholds for identifying different stages of gentrification, the concept of stage is important in regard to housing strategy selection and success. Neighborhoods showing signs of revitalization with the possibility of future gentrification—evidence of housing improvements and increased housing prices in an area proximate to other gentrifying neighborhoods—are characterized as the early stage. Mid-stage neighborhoods are those in which prices have risen sharply, yet affordable housing remains available along with some developable land parcels. Communities at the later stage of gentrification are those where the housing prices have skyrocketed, there is little affordable housing or few devolopable parcels, and the demand for profitable, market-rate housing overshadows the needs of lower-income households.

Levy, Diane K., Jennifer Comey, and Sandra Padilla. 2006. “In the Face of Gentrification.” Urban Institute.
http://www.urban.org/research/publication/face-gentrification.