Community-Engagement Summer Fellowship

Gentrification and Racial Disparity in Oakland, California

Author Full Name
Andrew Cha

Faculty Partner: 

Jackelyn Hwang, Sociology 


Gentrification has become one of the largest social and economic issues in the development of contemporary United States cities, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Working with the Changing Cities Research Lab (CCRL) and Assistant Professor of Sociology Jackelyn Hwang, this report overviews the preliminary findings of a summer research fellowship focused on documenting the racial disparities of gentrification in Oakland. This project, supported by the Community-Based Research fellowship with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE), sought to answer how forces of gentrification in Oakland affect low-income residents’ residential stability before and beyond displacement. In the context of this research, gentrification refers to the in-migration of middle-and high-SES residents and influx in investment in previously disinvested neighborhoods. In relation to displacement, “before displacement” indicates strategies/sacrifices taken by residents to avoid displacement while “beyond displacement” references how residents navigate the housing search/moving process after being forced to move. Following a brief historical overview of gentrification and the effects of the housing crisis on Oakland, California, this report describes how in-depth interviews with low income Oakland tenants and qualitative analysis of these transcripts yielded several racial disparities regarding tenants' access to housing assistance programs, familial and social networks for mutual aid, landlord relationships, perceptions of governmental institutions, and more. Additionally, this research project reveals some general sentiments of how low income renters in Oakland perceive neighborhood conditions/safety, pressures to move out of Oakland and the Bay Area, the housing search, and strategies to avoid displacement.

Read the final paper here.