Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Urban and Public Affairs


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Sarah K. Burgess

Second Advisor

James Taylor


Since the mid-twentieth century, public and private actors across the country have been identifying sources of potential capital accumulation in the United States. Shortly after the passing of the Civil Rights Act by President Lyndon Johnson in the mid 1960s, many White families across the country fled the urban core for the suburbs leaving neighborhoods in the city center abandoned and without capital. During this period, Black families and other racial minority groups were forced to live in the blighted neighborhoods of the urban core due to a variety of racialized discriminatory housing practices that lead to the disinvestment of specific neighborhoods in the city. With capital quickly leaving the urban core for the suburbs, many of the remaining residents lived in dilapidated housing with little to no access to resources necessary for survival. Later in the twentieth century in what was known by some as the Back to the City Movement, capital began to return to the city in what is more commonly referred to as gentrification. Cities such as New York and San Francisco were some of the earliest cities to experience the phenomena where public actors, in partnership with private developers, would reinvest into blighted neighborhoods in which many middle- to low-income Black families lived.

Within the last decade, North Nashville has seen massive amounts of capital reinvested into the community. The capital being reinvested in the community is done so in an attempt to lure wealthier, whiter families into community to shore up the tax base for the City and provide the urban environment that is attractive to younger generations. This has been witnessed in brand new homes built on land once occupied by Black families, construction of new businesses owned by White families, displacement of Black families from the community to areas that are more affordable, decreased representation in decision making bodies, and this sense of disorientation developed by long-time residents who no longer recognize their own communities. The experience of North Nashvillians during this process requires me to ask the question: How do reinvestment practices developed by public and private actors in Nashville for capital accumulation impact the sense of community of long-time Black residents within North Nashville? In this Capstone Project, I argue that through the restructuring of physical space reinvestment practices develop by public and private actors in North Nashville erase the conditions in which community is forged along and across identity lines. I support this thesis through the examination of scholarly literature, a history of the North Nashville community, interviews with various members of the community and community organizations, and three specific policy recommendations in response.