Spatial Justice: Resource Site for Gentrification of Highland Park

Documenting the Gentrification of Highland Park


Initiated by the Spatial Justice (Critical Theory & Social Justice 352) course in Spring 2016, this site was created to serve as an online resource space for work on gentrification and displacement in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Rather than simply gathering information from a variety of sources, the project intentionally prioritizes work done collaboratively with community partners, particularly those working to challenge forces that contribute to the displacement of long-term residents and businesses in the neighborhood. The resource page challenges "mainstream" narratives that frame what is happening in Highland Park as simply "changes" that have both "positive" and "negative" aspects. As Spatial Justice students have learned, such an approach masks relationships of power--including economic power, political power, and especially for this course, the power to narrate what the changes mean for fostering the displacement of people from their homes, communities, cultural spaces, and businesses for the sake of greater economic growth. The course asks questions about who benefits--and who is erased--in stories about gentrification. We hope that the resource page will be the site for future collaborative work that centers marginalized voices, supports the self-empowering efforts of community members, and challenges all of us to be aware of how our actions and attitudes affect the community.


The lab component of Spatial Justice (CTSJ 352) is designed to engage the students with digital tools and platforms for research and community activism. It will introduce students to the various aspects of developing research-oriented digital content: content management system; data collection and analysis; digital mapping and visualizations; and digital storytelling. Focusing on the topic of gentrification of the Highland Park neighborhood as a case study, the students will collectively create a resource site that is accessible to the community partners of the course. The collaborative and cumulative process of the final project is an opportunity for the students to learn digital tools and digital storytelling, as well as think critically about methodology and knowledge production.  

This lab is offered as a part of the campus-wide effort by the Center for Digital Liberal Arts @ Oxy to advance and support emerging modes of teaching and learning.