E7: What are the economic, social, and political forces fueling gentrification? (Rhetorics of Place: Part 2) (w/ Scott Riess)

In part two of our series on Rhetorics of Place, Alex and Calvin squeeze into a 5x5 sound booth (reminiscent of a $1,000/month+ studio apartment, or perhaps one floor of a Tiny Home, in a gentrifying Pittsburgh neighborhood) with CMU Master’s Candidate in Literary and Cultural Studies Scott Riess to talk about the politics of urban development. We map out some of the different social, economic, and political factors in gentrification, and how these are specifically playing out in the city of Pittsburgh. We also discuss how the frontier metaphor is used by developers and in the news as a way of justifying the influx of "urban pioneers" to impoverished neighborhoods. Finally, we conclude with some thoughts on different actions that can be taken at a local level to resist gentrification and/or make redevelopment policies that bring wealth to impoverished communities without displacing their residents.

Cover image: Tiny Home designed and sold in the neighborhood of Garfield by Eve Picker, a real estate developer and the landlord of the East Liberty “Last Billboard” space discussed on our previous episode.

Works, Concepts, and News Items Cited in this Episode:

Dionne Jr, E. J., Ornstein, N. J., & Mann, T. E. (2017). One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-yet Deported. St. Martin's Press.

Edbauer, J. (2005). Unframing models of public distribution: From rhetorical situation to rhetorical ecologies. Rhetoric Society Quarterly, 35(4), 5-24. [Discusses how the slogan “Keep Austin Weird” was appropriated by developers in Austin.]

“Future of Manufacturing To Rise Within Abandoned Steel Mill.”  [CMU website article describing the university’s new development in Hazelwood.]

Glass, R. L. (1964). London: aspects of change (Vol. 3). MacGibbon & Kee. [Coins the term “gentrification.”]

Harvey, D. (2008). “The right to the city.” The City Reader, 6, 23-40.

Kelly, M. & McKinley, S. (2015). “7 Paths to Development That Bring Neighborhoods Wealth, Not Gentrification.” yes! Magazine.

Moore, D. (5/8/2018) “Secrecy surrounding Amazon HQ2 bid will help Pittsburgh win, Allegheny Conference CEO says.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Smith, N. (1996). “‘Class struggle on Avenue B’: The lower east side as wild wild west.” The New Urban Frontier. New York, NY: Routledge, 3-27.

St-Esprit, M. (5/8/2018). “As Bloomfield weighs new development, residents seek to prioritize affordable housing.” Public Source. [Note for Pittsburghers: “The BDC will hold another public meeting regarding affordable housing options in the community at 6:30 p.m. May 24 in the West Penn School of Nursing auditorium.”]

 “Keep Pittsburgh Shitty” bumper sticker spotted by  a user on the r/pittsburgh subreddit  (t-shirt  here ).

“Keep Pittsburgh Shitty” bumper sticker spotted by a user on the r/pittsburgh subreddit (t-shirt here).

Alex Helberg