Beyond Gentrification

jeff diversitykidsGentrification has become a dirty word to people displaced by the rising prices that come with it. A Portland neighborhood leader seeks to reverse that trend and bring opportunities and amenities to communities facing the invasion of affluent immigrants.

Jeff Gerwing serves on the Cully Eco-District Advisory Board in Portland OR and is an Associate Professor at Portland State University of Environmental Science & Management. He helped develop Interdisciplinary courses in Sustainability to assist students contextualize social and environmental issues. He spent 14 years as an Associate Researcher for Brazil’s Amazon where he studied the impacts of logging on forest ecosystems and the ecology and management proliferation of lianas. 

Food For Thought & Conversation

  • What factors do you think make up an ideal community in which to live?
  • Has gentrification taken place in your community?  If so, what do you see as the pros and cons?
  • Jeff mentions there is primary emphasis in the Living Cully Eco-District on assuring social equity and the prevention of displacement of low income and people of color in the gentrification process. Are you familiar with similar efforts in other communities?
  • Community land trusts are one tool to prevent displacement.   Please share your learning and/or experience with community land trusts.
  • Jeff makes an insightful comment about the willingness of the four nonprofits to actually work together instead of competing for their own turf.  Unfortunately, the latter is too often true even with organizations working for the greater good.  Are there ways that can assure true collaboration as is happening in Cully that you might be aware of or have experienced?
  • Progress to date on Living Cully Eco-District.


  • The four nonprofits working together on Living Cully Eco-District emphasize housing, employment opportunities and diversity. If you were to put together a dream combination for a similar project in your community, what organizations would you reach out to include?
  • Who and what community leaders and organizations’ representatives would you include in an advisory board for a similar project in your community?
  • Research and share information on how and what your community is doing to prevent the dislocation of low income neighbors when gentrification arrives. What additional work can be done?
  • Invite friends, colleagues or community members to view this video with you and host a conversation.

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Operation Bon Appetit is an initiative of the Cultural Innovations Agency, Inc. (CIA), a 501c3 nonprofit corporation, with the mission to engage ordinary people in sustainability and social change that emphasizes conviviality, arts, conversations and actions. The ethical framework for the CIA recognizes the interconnection of economic justice, human rights, respect for nature and a culture of peace.

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