Gentrification Is Not Inevitable, Says Report

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Causa Justa: Just Cause (CJJC), a multi-racial, grassroots organization that works for social justice for low-income San Francisco and Oakland residents, released a report this week that details the state of gentrification in the Bay Area’s two most prominent cities.

The 121-page report, “Development with Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the Bay Area,” produced by CJJC and the Alameda County Public Health Department, looks at disinvested neighborhoods in San Francisco and Oakland, which faced increased levels of development and high rates of displacement for persons of color.

CJJC defines gentrification as profit-driven racial and class reconfiguration of urban, working class and communities of color.

Between 1990 and 2011, rents increased by $460 in San Francisco neighborhoods and in parts of Oakland, including West Oakland and the downtown area, which “had higher median rents in 2011 than historically affluent neighborhoods such as Rockridge and the Oakland Hills” the report said.

During the same time period, Oakland’s African American population decreased from 43 percent to 26 percent. San Francisco’s Black population fell by half, from 10 percent to 5 percent.

“The Mission doesn’t look the way it did when I came here. You can count the Latino’s left,” said Don Condalarrio, a 24-year resident of San Francisco’s Mission District.

“Developers think of the $100,000 salary. We’re saying flip it and think of long- time residents, working class communities of color,” said Don Philips, Program Coordinator for CJJC.

Dr. Muntu Davis is director of Public Health Department Director of Alameda County, spoke at a press conference Monday about the health impacts and problems that arise in populations affected by gentrification, especially those who are forced to choose between paying rent and buying medication.

“Gentrification is not the development we want to see. It doesn’t benefit existing residents,” said Dr. Davis. “You bring in goods and services, but…the folks who need it the most don’t get to benefit from it.”

He says there has to be more of an emphasis in coordinating resources to change the problems that are being seen.

“Gentrification is not inevitable,” said Philips of CJJC. “It was created quite specifically, and we think we can quite specifically push back on it.”

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