It’s not easy being green : an examination of gentrification, green gentrification, and Unity Park in Greenville, South Carolina
Gentrification is not a new phenomenon, yet it is always evolving in its manifestations. In trying to better understand why gentrification is occurring, it is important to examine the historical context of the area in question. For this thesis, that area is Greenville, South Carolina. Taking an environmental sociological view of gentrification, I investigate the role of green space as a factor in gentrification in Greenville, and look specifically at the proposed Unity Park, as a case study. Utilizing neo-Marxist theories such as the Treadmill of Production (Schnaiberg 1980), Growth Machine Theory (Logan and Molotch 1987), in combination with the work of Environmental Justice scholars Dr. Robert Bullard, and Dr. David Pellow, I endeavor to draw out the many underlying factors of gentrification. I also use ideas of green gentrification to show the importance of using an environmental sociology perspective to view parks, and green spaces within cities, and how they are not complicit within gentrification. I also conducted interviews with residents of Greenville to learn how they perceived gentrification in their neighborhoods, and what they viewed as causes of it, and potential solutions to the changes occurring within Greenville. This was a vital part of my thesis, and enabled me to learn from those that are most affected by the changes occurring in Greenville.
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