What are the place-specific drivers of change? At our Newcomers Think & Drink, we sought out the answers - Metropolitan Planning Council

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What are the place-specific drivers of change? At our Newcomers Think & Drink, we sought out the answers

Newcomers explores the complexities of community development and explains how a phenomenon that began with good intentions has turned into one of the most vexing social problems of our time.

LUCHA Interim Director Lissette Castañeda and 'Newcomers' author Matthew Schuerman

At our sold out Think & Drink Newcomers: Gentrification and Its Discontents, author Matthew Schuerman, in conversation with Lissette Castañeda of LUCHA, examined the histories of northwest Brooklyn, San Francisco’s Mission District, and Chicago’s Cabrini-Green with respect to broader narratives, discussions, and concerns about gentrification. 

Associate Debbie Liu introducing speakers Lissette Castaneda and Matthew SchuermanMetropolitan Planning Council welcomed Lissette Castañeda and Matthew Schuerman for a Think and Drink book talk over the Newcomers: Gentrification and its Discontents in mid-December.

Author Matthew Schuerman discusses his new book, NewcomersMatthew Schuerman, author of Newcomers: Gentrification and its Discontents, was born and raised in Chicago and has spent most of his life in cities since then. He is currently a senior editor at WNYC public radio in New York, where his projects have won numerous honors.

LUCHA Interim Executive Director, Lissette CastanedaLissette Castañeda serves as the Interim Executive Director of LUCHA (Latin United Community Housing Association). Lissette was born and raised in Chicago and spent her formative years in Lincoln Park. Her family made Logan Square their home in 1994 when gentrification pushed the Latinx community west and Lissette continues to reside in Logan Square to this day.

Castaneda and Schuerman in conversationIn Newcomers, Schuerman doesn’t condemn gentrifiers as a whole, but rather articulates what it is they actually do, showing not only how community development can turn foul, but also instances when a “better” neighborhood truly results from changes that are good. Schuerman draws no easy conclusions, using his keen reportorial eye to create sharp, but fair, portraits of the people caught up in gentrification, the people who cause it, and its effects on the lives of everyone who calls a city home.

Many thanks to our event host City Lit Books in Logan SquareThe event a part of the Equity in Action series. The event was held in Logan Square, where residents are currently faced with gentrification concerns, at City Lit Books. We thank our partners City Lit Books and our food and drink sponsors, Forastero Restaurant and Marz Brewing. The conversation was a testament of the complexity of community development in today’s world. View the full conversation on C-SPAN here.

Interested in continuing the conversation? Have an idea for our next Equity in Action event? Tweet us at @Metroplanners!


MPC’s Blogs and Data Points on community development and equity issues such as this are made possible in part by the Chicago Community Trust – Seale Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Field Foundation of Illinois, the Bowman Lingle Charitable Trust, the Conant Family Foundation, and individual donors.

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