Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Janet Grigsby




gentrification, urban planning, Massachusetts, community


Gentrification has been at the forefront of dialogue within major social science research fields, as it is a crucial urban phenomenon that prompts fascinating interchange regarding changing definitions of community. Traditional interpretations of this process have highlighted a dynamic in poor urban areas when residential shifts, urban planning, and other forces significantly alter the spatial, social, and cultural configuration of a particular city. Furthermore, much of the gentrification literature focuses on the displacement of poor pre-gentrification residents living in declining “broken” cities. The city of Somerville, MA, provides an interesting and refreshingly different context in which to observe the impact of gentrification. Somerville is unique not only in its ethnic and racial composition, but in its economic profile and the ways in which different populations in the city come to define their “Somerville identity”. This study expands on previous research by exploring the impact of gentrification on the socialization and acquiring of social capital for inner-city youth. Gentrification research has largely ignored the adolescent and youth population. The few studies that have considered them have done so only in the context of deviance. Using analyses of in-depth interviews, surveys, and focus group sessions with adolescent residents of Somerville, MA, this study shed light on the ways in which youth think about their changing urban realities, but also how youth themselves can be positive forces in the preservation, promotion, and revolutionizing of a community identity that is constantly being redefined.