Here comes the neighborhood : gentrification, displacement, and educational opportunity

Date

2019-05

Authors

Pulte, Gregory

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Abstract

Cities across America are experiencing the gentrification of their urban centers. Austin, Texas is no exception with gentrification advancing rapidly in East Austin accompanied by profound changes for East Austin’s historic Black and Mexican American communities and schools. As East Austin communities gentrify, traditional resident parents who remain experience economic and social displacement as community institutions and cultures change. Institutions that serve traditional resident parents who remain in the community transition to meet the needs of new gentry entrants, continue to operate, or they close. Like other community institutions that adapt, public schools adjust to meet the needs of increasingly affluent students entering schools that themselves gentrify. Schools that do not attract new gentry entrants may become under-enrolled and subject to closure. In contrast to gentrification and schools literature that explores the experiences of gentry parents whose children attend the public school, this study focusses on the experiences of traditional resident parents from the longstanding community. Traditional resident parents who continue to live in East Austin experience transitions as new gentry families enter the school community. Traditional resident parents struggle to maintain their voice as gentry parents exert their influence in school and resource allocation decisions. Findings reveal that traditional resident parents experience feelings of social displacement as the community and school gentrify. As affordability pressures increase, traditional resident families struggle with economic displacement and are compelled to leave the community with outcomes that include less access to food and city services, long commutes to workplaces, and reduced educational opportunity

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