First Advisor

Thomas Harvey

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Community arts projects -- Oregon -- Portland, City planning -- Oregon -- Portland, Urban renewal -- Oregon -- Portland, Neighborhoods -- Oregon -- Portland, Gentrification -- Oregon -- Portland, Alberta Arts District (Portland, Or.)



Physical Description

1 online resource (144 p.)


Art is often used as a catalyst to stimulate redevelopment and neighborhood change. This often occurs inadvertently as the presence of artists in certain communities can attract both public and private investment to revalorize economically depressed areas. Marginal neighborhoods in inner-urban areas offer inspiration and diversity to artists seeking lower-cost housing. Their presence effectively makes these marginal communities "safe" for middle-class residents looking to live in a funky, urban neighborhood. Ultimately, however, artists are eventually priced out of the communities they helped to create.

The Alberta district in northeast Portland, Oregon has used art to create an identity that distinguished it from other redeveloped neighborhoods throughout the city, having become known as the Alberta Arts District. The research presented in this thesis traces the history of the Alberta district from its roots as a thriving streetcar community through its years as a dilapidated, crime-ridden neighborhood, and into its current state as a vibrant arts district. I show how the commercial corridor along Alberta Street has evolved to reflect the changing demographic composition of the surrounding neighborhood. Additionally, housing in the surrounding residential neighborhood has experienced a dramatic increase in average sale price and an upfiltering of aesthetic appearance. Many are attracted to the Alberta district for its vibrancy and diversity, the people and businesses that contribute to the diverse atmosphere may disappear as real estate becomes increasingly more expensive.


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