The Push and Pull Factors of Development in East Palo Alto, CA
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The City of East Palo Alto was once viewed as one of the most dangerous cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. The city has recently been experiencing dramatic changes in demographics as well as economic development which were not present 15 years ago when the city was viewed as unsafe, economically depressed city by many outsiders. What is evident is that the city has changed dramatically since major development began in the late 1990's. Some local officials contend that the incorporation of a tax base economy and retail center can be viewed as a sign of progress and continued rejuvenation of the city. Others, particularly those that have witnessed development at a cost to both residential character and uproot of local businesses, argue that the city is becoming significantly less welcoming and, at times, dismissive of its long time residents. Using qualitative data, most notably interviews with city officials, local housing support agencies, and current residents, I uncover what people really perceive of this rapidly developing community as well as discovering the real factors of development. What is known is that benefits have surfaced because of gentrifying forces in the city. It has prospered by establishing itself as retail destination for a number of surrounding communities. Findings also reveal that East Palo Alto is experiencing increased gentrification resulting in displacement of area residents and local businesses.