Date of Graduation

Spring 5-20-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Urban and Public Affairs


College of Arts and Sciences


Public Administration

First Advisor

Patrick Murphy

Second Advisor

Keally McBride


This Capstone interrogates the teleology of neoliberal community development – does investment in historically disinvested working-class urban neighborhoods inevitably lead to gentrification? Learning from the Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors Initiative (BNSN) in Deep East Oakland as a case study, the Capstone uses a Transformative Justice (TJ) framework to make the case for an ethical approach to community development: one in which working-class urban residents are the authors and architects of their own neighborhood’s future, community needs are centered, and long-term residents are able to continue to age-in place. This approach utilizes the lens of Black-centered community development, integrating an understanding of the American racial caste system and the particularly anti-Black urban impacts of this dynamic, including reoccurring displacement, environmental harms, and economic exclusion, in order to push for an approach that centers the need of working-class Black residents. Through qualitative research on East Oakland and BNSN, this Capstone offers recommendations on ways to both improve BNSN and the larger Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) grant, as well as uplift strategies towards creating an ethical approach to urban development on the city, regional, state, and national level.