Theses Master's

The Right to Adequate Food and Gentrification in Harlem, New York

Sullivan, Jacquelyn

Accessing high-quality, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods in the United States has long been a challenge for many individuals experiencing social and financial challenges. These difficulties are furthered when the neighborhoods in which people live and eat undergo development that alters the food landscape of the area.

Gentrification is the process of neighborhood change that creates a shift in resident demographics and community characteristics and often causes an increase in the local cost of living. While urban development initiatives that support gentrification may introduce more food resources into an area, they may contribute to social divides that further food insecurity. This paper uses a human rights framework to understand gentrification in the context of the human rights to adequate food in Harlem, New York City. Harlem has a rich history of Black culture and resilience that some say is threatened by gentrification.

Using the rights-based framework presented by scholar Molly Anderson, this study seeks to explore the ways the gentrification of Harlem affects the ability of local residents to access adequate food that is affordable, healthy, and desirable to the people of Harlem. Informed by five semi-structured qualitative interviews with food professionals in New York City, this study presents comprehensive and sustainable responses to gentrification that will reduce the harm of urban development and redirect power to communities.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Koch, Pamela
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
March 8, 2023