?Back-to-the-city? Movement: The Shape of Gentrification in Alhambra


Sarah Park

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The focus of this project is on Alhambra, a diverse and changing ethnic city in the San Gabriel region. With the many changes in the housing and commercial redevelopment, this project examines the nature of gentrification. While there are many ways to define gentrification, it is often interpreted as an economic phenomenon where a class struggle for control of land and business determines the fate of the community. There is a negative connotation to gentrification because many times, the conflicting relationship between capitalism and community displace prior residents. A city?s historical background of capital depreciation and the precise way this depreciation opens the door for profitable re-investment is one way of observing the nature of gentrification. In addition, culture, aesthetic ideals, and themes influence how cities are commercially generated to create new economic opportunity. In Alhambra, the large Chinese population, ethnic economy, and establishment of a global outpost demonstrate Alhambra as a racialized place. Yet, the many housing and commercial redevelopment changes imply a back-to-the-city movement, which refers to a changing migration pattern of ex-suburbanites returning to the city from the suburbs outside the city. This movement suggests that Alhambra is in the process of gentrification and urban renewal. This study examines the nature and sociological ramifications of gentrification in Alhambra by exploring housing redevelopment, new businesses, the character and culture of Alhambra, and demographic shifts.


Jan Lin




Ford Research Endowment

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