Over the past week, I’ve presented my poster at the Festival of Scholars and written prose-style versions of my poster subheadings for the subsite, viewable by clicking the menu at the right. My poster presentation went pretty well—a lot of people are generally interested in gentrification, even if it hasn’t become something they think about literally every day. All of the people who seemed engaged enough for me to recount the details of why I chose land value change to look at gentrification were convinced by my methodology, agreeing with me on the limitations of either designating a cut-point for gentrification or using socioeconomic census data as the end-all-be-all of determining gentrification. The view of Portland from campus distorts many people’s perception of the city—multiple people were unaware that Portland extends east of 82nd Ave, and a couple were surprised that Portland has any frequent transit.
Several times, the person I was talking with would reach one of my conclusions, particularly about the equity contradiction issue or, when I was talking about the UGB project, the benefits and drawbacks of potential solutions to gentrification. I did get two relatively difficult questions, one from a friend, Danni, who asked how the county determines assessed land value and one from Jennifer Hubbert, who asked me why the main change in North Portland hasn’t occurred right alongside light rail. Danni didn’t accept my initial deferral to experts/tax assessors on her question, so I had to simply say that I imagine they have some sort of multivariate algorithm which is based on and updated by hedonic regression of records of property sales. Jennifer’s question gets at the core of my hedging of the regression analysis—the main factors seem to be that Albina had better “bones” for gentrification, in terms of its presence and density of small shops which aren’t alongside major arterials. Albina also appears to have had even more undervalued land and was more of the historic center of the black population in Portland.
I also took the opportunity to talk to Aaron Fellows about his thesis on urban trees and amenity value and about his recommendations for moving through the thesis process. He liked my independent study, but recommended that for the thesis I should question the term gentrification more. I’m a little reluctant to do so, as I like the simplicity of defining it as simply class upgrading of an urban area, with it being a broad process containing a huge set of nuanced, differential causes and effects which can only be understood through situating the issue (and probably only fully understood by situating it in a neighborhood, rather than city context).
Getting my website ready for the Festival of Scholars was another helpful part of wrapping up this independent study. I won’t be doing a paper for this project this semester, as the topic is pretty much in line with what my thesis is going to be and I’ve already spent probably too much time on this. The website text thus is the main conclusive written element. I will be producing a selected annotated bibliography this next week, involving a summary and critique of references I will almost certainly use in my thesis. These wil involve a bit of a grab bag of a review of the central theoretical papers, relevant case studies on transit and gentrification, found through Revington’s article “Gentriﬁcation, Transit, and Land Use: Moving Beyond Neoclassical Theory,” and the various articles I’ve found which directly relate to Portland.