Dissertation Abstracts

Whose Change Is It? A Multimodal Exploration of Urban Ecology and Gentrification Resistance in Crumbling Black Communities

Author: Lusk, Jeniece T, jlusk@sky.miyazaki-mic.ac.jp
Department: Applied Sociology
University: Baylor University, USA
Supervisor: Dr. Carson Mencken, PhD
Year of completion: 2010
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Gentrification , Urban , Community , Revitalization
Areas of Research: Social Indicators , Community Research , Population


An extensive body of literature notes the racial and ethnic patterns of
gentrification categorizing Whites as antagonizing decisions to disinvest in communities
and Blacks and other minorities as falling victim to renewal (Marcuse, 1986; Gale, 1984).
However, the role of Blacks in not only resisting gentrification, but as countering with
Black community and economic development is not well-represented in literature
(Muniz, 1998). New literature is arising looking at Blacks as investors in revitalization,
attempting to protect their identity and loyalty to the community (Hyra, 2006; Pattillo,
2003; Boyd, 2000). Michelle Boyd (2000) refers to this effort as “defensive

To further explore the characteristics of a community‟s likelihood of achieving
defensive development I chose to focus on the Elm Avenue area, a stark Black
community located in Waco, Texas currently entering its own battle with gentrification.
Due to the exploratory nature of this study, I chose to implement three methodologies: a
quantitative phone survey of the local community's attitudes and opinions of the Elm
Avenue area, a pair of focus groups, and one-on-one interviews with key informants
serving as stakeholders in the area‟s development. Combined, these methodologies
provide well-round insight into the perceptions of likelihood that the Elm Avenue area might achieve Boyd‟s defensive development.