Campus LifeNews

Dr. Ed Goetz Visits UWT to Discuss Public Housing and Gentrification

University of Minnesota professor Dr. Ed Goetz is coming to UW Tacoma as part of the Urban Studies Annual Lecture Series. The politics of urban and regional planning expert, will talk about his book New Deal Ruins: Race, Economic Justice and Public Housing, which discusses the dismantling of the public housing project over the last decade.

Dr. Goetz cites the demolition of public housing in the 1990s, in favor of new mixed-income communities, as a result of policy shifts in the 1980s which formed a pattern of disinvest­ment in public housing. Since this shift, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the large scale de­molition or sale of 250,000 public housing units since 1990.

In his talk, Dr. Goetz will discuss the nationwide effort to dismantle public housing and how this results from pressures of gentrification. This discussion comes at an important time for the university and the city of Ta­coma.

In September 2014, a restaurant in historic Hilltop called Hilltop Kitchen was painted with graffiti reading “f**k you yuppies” and “gentrified.” The of­fensive paint was purportedly in re­sponse to what some viewed as the impending gentrification of the his­toric neighborhood. With the surge of gentrification in historic neighbor­hoods in Seattle, Tacoma is at risk to follow in the footsteps of its northern neighbor. Bill Virgin of The News Tri­bune wrote in February 2014, “Tacoma has tried to light the fire of gentrifica­tion. Downtown is one big gentrifica­tion zone, or would be if people and businesses would move in in sufficient numbers to support such a move.”

Although Tacoma might be strug­gling to gentrify, gentrification is a problem in cities across the country. For more information about anti-gentrification movements, organiza­tions like Right to the City are com­mitted to halting the displacement of urban communities from their his­toric neighborhoods.

Ultimately, the debate surrounding gentrification revolves around wheth­er urban populations of often margin­alized individuals have the right to remain in historic neighborhoods. This issue is one the Urban Studies forum at UW Tacoma is intent on keeping at the forefront of discussions about ur­ban development and investment in the south sound region.

The lecture, slotted for Tuesday, May 12, 2015 from 6-7 p.m. in William W. Philip Hall, is free but registration is required.