• Considering the Political Motivations Behind Gentrification

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    Published September 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm - One Comment Johanna Bockman is a sociologist and curator of the blog Sociology in My Neighborhood: DC Ward Six. She has been working with Grassroots DC and the P ...

    Considering the Political Motivations Behind Gentrification
  • Kara Walker’s Desecrated Cemetary For Blackness

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    Published September 8, 2014 at 1:40 pm - No Comments Kara Walker is a Black woman artist famous for grotesque silhouette cutouts depicting the experiences of Black woman in the South before the dismantl ...

    Kara Walker’s Desecrated Cemetary For Blackness
  • Disparity in DC Public Schools

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    Published August 25, 2014 at 7:49 am - No Comments Several conclusions have been brought to the public view to why students specifically in DC public schools are dropping out. This problem has become ...

    Disparity in DC Public Schools
  • One Student’s Take On What Really Matters In DC Public Schools

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    Published August 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm - No Comments I asked DC Public School graduate Quintess Bond why she thought DCPS test scores were so low? She presents her thesis in the form of this documentary ...

    One Student’s Take On What Really Matters In DC Public Schools
  • Residents, Developers are Divided on SW Redevelopment

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    Published July 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm - No Comments Tensions ran high between developers and community members last Wednesday night, June 25, during a meeting regarding the proposed redesign of the Sou ...

    Residents, Developers are Divided on SW Redevelopment
  • The Human Heart and How It Works

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    Published July 1, 2014 at 6:29 pm - No Comments According to The New People’s Physician the human heart is a hollow muscular organ located in the breast that pumps blood received from the veins i ...

    The Human Heart and How It Works
  • Why the R*dsk*ns Needs to Change Their Name

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    Published June 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm - No Comments Crossposted from the Huffington Post Written by Amanda Blackhorse The Washington NFL team needs to change its name. I am a proud member of the Navajo ...

    Why the R*dsk*ns Needs to Change Their Name
  • White Paper: How to Make Housing Affordable in the District of Columbia

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    Published June 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm - 3 Comments Written by Eugene Puryear This white paper explores solutions to one of the most pressing issue for residents of D.C.—housing affordability. Make H ...

    White Paper:  How to Make Housing Affordable in the District of Columbia
  • Capitol Hill Community Foundation Supporting Computer Literacy at Grassroots DC

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    Published April 22, 2014 at 7:23 pm - 2 Comments When Grassroots DC began setting up shop within the Potomac Gardens Public Housing complex in May of 2013, it was with the intention of providing med ...

    Capitol Hill Community Foundation Supporting Computer Literacy at Grassroots DC
  • Confronting Gentrification: Part Two

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    Published April 15, 2014 at 5:21 pm - No Comments On February 18, a panel discussion on the critical implications of “urban renewal” in DC communities took place at American University. T ...

    Confronting Gentrification:  Part Two
  • Writing History with Potomac Gardens Residents

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    Published February 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 2 Comments Cross-posted from Sociology in My Neighborhood: DC Ward Six by Johanna Bockman Back in December 2012, I took a look at the Wikipedia page for Potomac ...

    Writing History with Potomac Gardens Residents
  • Become an Advocate for Affordable Housing

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    Published February 9, 2014 at 12:51 pm - No Comments . . . → Read More: Become an Advoca ...

    Become an Advocate for Affordable Housing

Considering the Political Motivations Behind Gentrification

Johanna Bockman is a sociologist and curator of the blog Sociology in My Neighborhood: DC Ward SixShe has been working with Grassroots DC and the Potomac Gardens Community on the production of the documentary Potomac Gardens Inside and Out (which you’ll soon hear more about on this site and beyond).  Below is a post from her site of particular relevance to DC’s public housing communities and anyone interested in increasing the amount of affordable housing in the District of Columbia.

My Gentrification Talk & Video

By Johanna Bockman

Last week, I gave the annual presidential address to the DC Sociological Society about gentrification in DC. You can view a video of my address below. I start with a bit of history about the DC Sociological Society, which has its own connections to gentrification in DC. I then define gentrification, show some historical trends and maps, and discuss four myths/narratives about gentrification.

The fabulous discussion afterwards covered a wide range of topics, but there were two that I found particularly interesting.

First, we talked about looking beyond the economic motivations behind gentrification to its political motivations. What are the political motivations behind gentrification? How is DC as a whole threatened by gentrification? As discussed in the talk, one former resident of the Arthur Capper public housing project told me: “It [Arthur Capper] was part of the District of Columbia…like a finger or an arm in the body of the District of Columbia…You just cannot destroy a community and expect the city to thrive and survive.” His comment was surprising to me at the time. What is the nature of this District he is talking about? How is it being destroyed?

Second, we talked about renters. Many amazing community organizers in DC are working to increase low-income home ownership, especially through limited-equity cooperatives. I argued that we should also work to support renters, including by maintaining and expanding public housing, because about 41% of DC residents are renters and those in low-income jobs can barely afford to pay rent, let alone to buy a place. What would have to change in DC and nationwide to create a good environment for renters, especially low- and very-low-income renters? How might we create a positive “renter nation“?

Thanks to the DC Sociological Society, our host Mason’s Sociology and Anthropology Department, and the audience for an amazing discussion.


Kara Walker’s Desecrated Cemetary For Blackness

kara-walker-sugar-syrup-2

Kara Walker is a Black woman artist famous for grotesque silhouette cutouts depicting the experiences of Black woman in the South before the dismantling of formal chattel slavery. In the late spring of 2014, Walker constructed a mammy sphinx out of sugar, along with multiple Black male children made from molasses, exhibiting [...] . . . → Read More: Kara Walker’s Desecrated Cemetary For Blackness


Community Tenant Meeting in Chinatown

Community Tenant Meeting

. . . → Read More: Community Tenant Meeting in Chinatown


Disparity in DC Public Schools

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Several conclusions have been brought to the public view to why students specifically in DC public schools are dropping out. This problem has become an obvious and almost unavoidable factor mainly in the districts public highs schools. The issue is disturbing and draws the attention of almost everyone, some who wish the [...] . . . → Read More: Disparity in DC Public Schools


One Student’s Take On What Really Matters In DC Public Schools

What Really Matters

I asked DC Public School graduate Quintess Bond why she thought DCPS test scores were so low? She presents her thesis in the form of this documentary. In it, Quintess explores the theory that good schools need active parents, engaged students and a dedicated faculty and administrative staff. I think she puts [...] . . . → Read More: One Student’s Take On What Really Matters In DC Public Schools