How to ‘Not Be a Gentrifier’—Oakland Edition

As an urbanist, it can be easy to think of gentrification as a macroeconomic trend or a collection of data points, not as an individual experience. A community organizer in Oakland would like to bring the issue home for the city’s newcomers.
Jesse Richmond / Flickr

Like most of the San Francisco and Silicon Valley Bay Area, Oakland is amidst a large-scale demographic shift. Community Organizer Dannette Lambert argues the case of the historic population of Oakland, along the way providing examples of the many difficulties inherent to the processes of gentrification and displacement.

Some of the “20 ways to not be a gentrifier in Oakland” Lambert mentions are uniquely suited to the Oakland experience (for instance, “remember, you don’t gain culture by eating a burrito”), but she consistently appeals to the personal, even emotional experiences of gentrification (“You gain culture by engaging in a real and meaningful manner with the person who makes the burrito…”).

Whether or not you agree with Lambert’s assessment of the Oakland situation, her polemic can be read as a reminder of the ripple effect and the stressful emotional valence of demographic shifts.

Full Story: 20 ways to not be a gentrifier in Oakland

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