First Advisor

Matthew Gebhardt

Term of Graduation

Summer 2023

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.)


Urban Studies and Planning




Gentrification, Green Gentrification, LEED Certification, Vulnerability



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 50 pages)


LEED certification has become highly popular in the United State under the current political climate of addressing climate change, however in the implementation of green initiatives like LEED, social and economic impacts are not being considered. "Green gentrification" through the implementation of green initiatives such as LEED can cause displacement to highly vulnerable groups of people, disproportionately dealing the environmental goods to the wealthy and the environmental bads to the low income groups.

Portland has a fairly large amount of LEED buildings, and the city and state emphasizes its goals for sustainability through the use of green initiatives such as LEED. Portland, however, also has a very high cost of living and a number of highly vulnerable neighborhoods.

In this research, the correlation of LEED buildings and vulnerability scores are compared, with Portland as the case study. Vulnerability scores are determined by four factors: housing cost-burdened (pay 30% or more of their income on housing costs); belong to communities of color, particularly Black and Indigenous communities; lack college degrees; and have lower incomes (0-80% MFI). Using the LEED data and a vulnerability assessment, the correlation between these two variables (LEED buildings and vulnerability score) can be seen at a large scale, being visually displayed through the use of mapping of this data.

However, there are some exceptions; such as one highly vulnerable neighborhood in Portland with established LEED buildings, which were developed through affordable housing projects. This potentially demonstrates a way for LEED buildings to establish themselves in vulnerable neighborhoods without changing the economics and demographics of the area.

Portland also provides an interesting case study due to its lack of housing stock the past decade which has led to high rent and home ownership prices, along with high rates of homelessness within the city.


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