Milena Ozernova ’22: Three Stories of Gentrification: Boston, Chicago and San Diego

Summer 2022

About the Project

This summer, I’ve been working on a photojournalistic book Three Stories of Gentrification that explores the issue of gentrification and how it’s affecting local communities, businesses and urban spaces in Roxbury (Boston), Wicker Park (Chicago) and Barrio Logan (San Diego).

My project consists of two components: photography and storytelling. My photographs will depict gentrifying and already gentrified streets, portraits of residents and business owners, as well as scenes from the daily life of the neighborhood. Storytelling will connect my photographs to the stories of people who are experiencing gentrification firsthand. I used my professional experience in journalism to conduct interviews with residents and local business owners to show the life and death of America’s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods and gain insights into their future. At the same time, my book will also trace larger socio-economic implications of gentrification to provide a bigger picture of the process and its effects on society. I believe that this project will perfectly encompass my academic trajectory – my training in visual arts, writing as well as social sciences – and help me highlight the skills that I have mastered during my undergraduate career.

What changes did you notice in your summer experience due to COVID-19?

Most of my interviews with the activists happened over Zoom, despite me being in the respective cities! I think COVID is still definitely with us, and it’s evident in the way people connect with one another.