UMass Boston News

Public Policy Dissertation Proposal Defense on Gentrification in Jamaica Plain

The McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies is pleased to announce that Jennifer Douglas will defend her Public Policy PhD dissertation proposal on "Producing Space: Real Estate Actors and Policy Contexts in a Gentrifying Neighborhood."

The purpose of this study will be to investigate the policy and institutional contexts for spatial transformation in a gentrifying neighborhood. Using a case study design, I will investigate selective inputs to the impediment and advancement of processes of gentrification in parts of Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. At this stage in the research, the term “gentrification” is used to represent the diverse processes through which the built environment and everyday life of a neighborhood are reconfigured from prior uses and social characteristics to meet the consumption and lifestyle demands of an incoming population of professional-class residents.

Specifically, I will explore attributes of the real estate environment, including the roles of debt and finance—in the context of relevant public policy, municipal institutions, and discursive representations over the last half-century—in the areas surrounding Jamaica Plain’s Hyde and Jackson Squares. Descriptive numeric data will be used to establish key characteristics of people and place at sequential time points. Qualitative analysis of archival materials and key informant interviews will be used to establish historical context, including explicit municipal goals for the area, and to address “how” and “why” questions about the forces of change. The goals of this research are to:

  • identify the real estate actors and practices associated with gentrifying pressures
  • explore key institutional and policy inputs to this local instance of gentrification
  • read these phenomena through critical perspectives on the urban process and the production of space
  • produce recommendations for community action.

Dissertation Committee
Ann Withorn, McCormack Graduate School and College of Public and Community Service, Chair
Donna Haig Friedman, McCormack Graduate School, Committee Member
Michael Stone, College of Public and Community Service, Committee Member
Miren Uriarte, McCormack Graduate School and College of Public and Community Service, Committee Member

For disability-related accommodations, including dietary accommodations, please visit two weeks prior to the event.