Engaged Learning

What Comes After Gentrification?

Urban affairs students hit the streets to study evolution of SF’s oldest neighborhood


It’s one thing to read about the evolution of a city — immigration, new industries, booms and busts. It’s another thing entirely to hit the streets and talk to community members about how those changes affect their lives.

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Master’s of Urban Affairs students in Rachel Brahinsky’s Urban Field Course get to do both, pairing classroom academics with real-life fieldwork in San Francisco, one of the most dynamic and important cities in the world.

The course is rooted in exploring neighborhoods around the city and the Bay Area, examining local history and current affairs through the lens of shifting communities, abandoned buildings, changing street signs, architecture, and other everyday urban phenomena.

In this video, Brahinsky, an expert on gentrification and director of the Urban Affairs program, leads students on a walking tour of San Francisco’s Mission District — the rapidly changing neighborhood that’s a focal point of the city’s tech transformation and the challenges that go along with it.

“By the end of the semester students have a different outlook on this city, but also others as well,” Brahinsky says. “It changes how they walk through cities in general.”

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