As part of the Springer Nature Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Programme, we're interviewing leaders and researchers about the work they're doing to address the 17 SDGs outlined by the United Nations. Read on for our interview with Jerome Krase on how gentrification of our cities affects sustainable development.
by Angie Voyles Askham, Content Marketing Intern
Jerome Krase is Emeritus Professor and Murray Koppelman Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and co-editor of the book Diversity and Local Contexts: Urban Space, Borders, and Migration and the forthcoming two-volume set on gentrification across the globe. He responded to our questions about the SDGs and explained why gentrification is an issue that affects sustainable development worldwide.
How is your work addressing the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or specifically, the Sustainable Development Goal of creating equitable cities?
Embedded in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals is the phrase “leaving no one behind.” How can we say cities are better if in the process of making them so, poor, working- and even middle-class residents are cleansed from them? We have seen that as places improve, those who are less able to compete for space are removed. The simple, yet complex, answer is what John Rawls termed “distributive social justice,” which, with a nod to David Harvey, I ask “What do we owe to those people who live in the neighborhoods which are upscaled or otherwise gentrified?”
What do you think is the most relevant way to measure success against these goals?
The most relevant way to measure success against these goals is assessing how they are accommodated to remain in their current neighborhood or are rehoused, without expense in another at least equally desirable location.
How do the changes that Brooklyn has gone through in the past decades reflect more global issues?
Gentrification, and upscaling, of central city areas is taking place in every major city around the globe as demonstrated in the 2-volume edited work, Gentrification around the World, I am co-editing with Judith N. DeSena.
At the most abstract, it follows the global movement of capital and the efforts on the part of many countries to increase the competitiveness of their cities in the global real estate, commercial development, and tourist markets.
In your experience, what does the relationship between the research community and policy makers look like when it comes to gentrification and sustainability?
Unfortunately, they work both sides of the battle for and against sustainability. From my observations of urban policy around the globe, social justice, or equity for all current as well as future residents, is not the primary goal.
What are the long-term and short-term goals of your work?
Since I have been at it for more than half a century, the long and short of it is the same—demonstrating the worth of all peoples so that they are willing to live in relative peace with each other, especially in our ever-changing cities.
Jerome Krase is an emeritus and Murray Koppelman Professor of sociology at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He was Brooklyn-born and raised and is a U.S. Army veteran, having served from 1963 to 1966. As an activist-scholar, he has worked with and studied a wide variety of city-wide organizations as well as neighborhood and ethnic groups in New York City, especially in Brooklyn. He also researches, writes and photographs about urban life and culture globally.
Angie Voyles Askham is the Content Marketing Intern for Springer Nature’s Research Marketing team. She received her PhD in neuroscience from NYU in 2015 and has since worked in radio journalism and academic publishing, with the goal of communicating science and research to a broad audience.