LIPS Students Participate in Somerville Gentrification Project

Recently, Laurie Goldman, a professor in the UEP (Urban & Environmental Policy) department at Tufts University trained our LIPS students as researchers for the Somerville Gentrification Project.Started in 2015, the Somerville Gentrification project aims to “understand how residents of Somerville perceive and experience gentrification in their neighborhoods.” The project is a partnership between Tufts University and the four community organizations: The Welcome Project, Somerville Community Corporation, Somerville Homeless Coalition and Community Action Agency of Somerville.

This past summer, researchers conducted the first pilot of the project which consisted of door-to-door surveying. Researchers were able to survey eighty doors in total over the summer. Although they talked to a large amount of residents, researchers found that many of the people who were answering their doors were wealthier residents and not those most affected by gentrification. Since then, researchers have developed a more targeted approach to data collection in which they will survey individuals at meetings and gatherings within communities of Somerville most affected by gentrification (like our immigrant communities).

The LIPS students will play a vital role in the data collection as they will be surveying individuals in their native languages. The goal of the most recent training was to familiarize our LIPS students with the process of gentrification as well as research ethics and the project’s survey materials. Many of our students have grown up experiencing and observing the effects of gentrification in their communities. One student expressed her reservations about the changes on Broadway Ave. and the new condos that are “right across from the new brewery...when you look inside it’s all white people and there is no one else, it’s not reflective of the community.” Given that many of our students have already experienced the effects of gentrification, Goldman asked the question, “what might we want to know more about?” This question is at the heart of the Somerville Gentrification Project and understanding the complexities that emerge from changes in our community.

Researchers will be conducting interviews until the end of march at various community events. If you are interested in getting trained to participate or learning more about the project in general, please contact Laurie Goldman at laurie.goldman@tufts.edu