In "How to Kill a Neighborhood and Make a Profit," Professor Tanya Golash-Boza shares her experiences and takes a close look at racist housing policies in the mid-twentieth century to see how they can help us understand gentrification patterns today.
Tanya Golash-Boza is available to speak about her ongoing research on incarceration and gentrification in Washington, DC
The Violence of Dis/Investment: Gentrification in Washington, DC
Washington, DC has transformed from a majority-Black city to one where Black people no longer make up the majority. Alongside racial change, the city has experienced an intense wave of gentrification. Whole swaths of the city have been demolished. Glass and steel condos have replaced public housing. Yoga studios have replaced welfare offices. Upscale restaurants have replaced carryouts. I offer a theoretical framework of coercive and profit-driven investment, disinvestment, and reinvestment to explain these changes. I argue that dis/investment in Black communities in Washington, DC in the 20th century laid the groundwork for gentrification in the 21st century. In the mid-twentieth century, racist housing polices led to disinvestment in Black communities. The response to the violence of disinvestment was policing and mass incarceration in the 1980s and 1990s. Ultimately, disinvestment made reinvestment profitable.