Date of Submission

Spring 2021

Academic Program

Environmental and Urban Studies

Project Advisor 1

Ivonne Santoyo Orozco

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Past analyses of gentrification have largely examined the phenomenon along the consumption-production theory binary; the former contending that the middle-class consumer is to blame for initiating the process, the latter illuminating the contributions of larger political entities. This oversimplifies the complex process of gentrification, boiling its causal factors down to a singular class, policy, event, or point in time. This tendency to homogenize the root cause of gentrification gives a narrow understanding of a city’s history and largely ignores the overarching, systemic patterns of class and race-based oppression that have played into a city’s development over time. Furthermore, colonizers and gentrifiers alike have claimed that city investments are intended to benefit the community at large, but these same efforts often work against the needs of, and often displace, local community members. Hudson, NY proves useful as a case study to test the hypothesis that the disproportionate means of betterment that gentrification has historically allowed for is largely a result of the gatekeeping of capital that was initiated by the region’s colonizers. This hypothesis is assessed through the analysis of various means of financial and social betterment - property ownership, public safety, and public services - that we born during Hudson’s colonization in the fifteen and sixteenth centuries. The strength and persistence of these colonial legacies will be evaluated through the comparison of various bodies of legislation and institutions that have been actively functioning during Hudson’s more recent period of gentrification - beginning around 1960 and lasting until current day. This study ultimately reveals that the degree to which one possesses the “correct” means of social and financial capital, as determined by Hudson’s colonizers, severely affects the extent to which one has access to property ownership, public services, and protection by public safety measures today, which together guarantee one’s chances for individual betterment and improvement.

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