RESISTING GREEN GENTRIFICATION: Seattle’s South Park neighborhood struggles for environmental justice

Helen V.S. Cole, Troy D. Abel

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In Seattle’s South Park neighborhood, residents strive to maintain the character of their tight-knit, largely minority community amidst citywide gentrification pressures. After decades of neglect and environmental struggles, the city continues to clean up the Superfund site along the adjacent Duwamish River while finally implementing several infrastructure, park and public space improvements. In addition, in 2014 the new South Park Bridge connecting South Park to other parts of the city was completed, replacing the dilapidated bridge condemned in 2010. Those physical improvements have facilitated rapid change in the neighborhood at a time when few affordable neighborhoods remain in Seattle and South Park attracts city-dwellers seeking a small-town feel. Vulnerable residents are having to balance priorities with limited and minority-driven organizing resources, often feeling forced to prioritize affordable housing over the threat of extreme environmental hazards that have long plagued the mixed industrial and residential neighborhood.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Green City and Social Injustice
Subtitle of host publication21 Tales from North America and Europe
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781000471601, 9781003183273
ISBN (Print)9781032024134
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • climate resilience planning
  • community-led greening
  • continued exposure to contamination
  • displacement and citywide fast-paced gentrification
  • environmental remediation
  • poor political representation of historically marginalized groups and conflicts over access to resources
  • recent fast-growing city
  • the inequalities at stake: legacy of environmental justice struggles
  • the urban development pattern of the city and neighborhood: tech-driven development
  • the urban greening of the neighborhood: neighborhood park improvements


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