Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Elisabeth Jay Friedman
While the subject or broad area of my research is housing, my specific interest within that area is gentrification and affordable housing in the city of Fremont, California. More specifically, my research problem asks the following questions: How have Fremont’s racial demographics shifted since the 1990s? Is gentrification the reason for changes in Fremont’s racial composition and if so, how? Why or why not is this scenario ideal for residents of Fremont? What can be done to address this?
The significance of my research problem stems directly from the fact that the issue I am studying, gentrification, is so tremendously widespread. The impact of this significant socioeconomic and political phenomenon can be seen occurring in the housing crisis throughout the United States, not just in my case study of Fremont. I am hoping that through my analysis of Fremont, I will be able to uncover practical solutions to gentrification and the lack of affordable housing, solutions that can then be implemented in cities across the country that are experiencing similar issues concerning gentrification, and the displacement that accompanies it. Thus, the answers to my research will teach us how to foster and maintain socioeconomic and racial diversity, as well as encourage others to eliminate or at least work to mitigate the gentrification of cities that is driving up housing costs.
Before delving into my research, there are a few key terms that I will define so that there is no confusion when discussing this topic. For this project, I will be defining gentrification as the process through which an area is changed from an influx of wealthier people moving in, new and improved housing and businesses are created, all the while current residents are displaced. The forced movement of an individual from their home will be referred to as displacement. Diversity will be defined as the quality of involving individuals from a broad range of different backgrounds i.e. social, racial, sexual orientations, genders, etc. Last, residential racial segregation is the spatial separation of two or more racial groups within a specific geographic area.
While gentrification and affordable housing are not considered new topics of discussion to the debate on housing in America, how these two issues are impacting the racial diversity of communities still demands to be studied further. I will be discussing the effect of gentrification on racial demographics in Fremont, California, and how gentrification affects Fremont’s residents both currently and in the long term. This first section of my thesis will be an overview of the scholarly debate surrounding gentrification in the United States. I will explore the different methodologies employed in this debate, the impacts gentrification has on particular cities, the intersection of factors that economically and socially diverse neighborhoods possess, and how transit-oriented development plays a role in the gentrification of communities.
Talbot, Melissa Marie, "The Impact of Gentrification on Racial Demographics: A Case Study on Fremont, California" (2021). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 41.