I am creating a documentary looking at the process of gentrification in my home neighbourhood of Astoria, Queens, looking at not only the process of gentrification but why Astoria has gentrified in the way it has, which is vastly different to other neighbourhoods which have undergone demographic change. While other communities have had significant displacement of existing communities, Astoria has to a large extent avoided the large-scale demographic turnover that other gentrifying neighbourhoods have undergone. That is, long established Greek and Italian communities coexist alongside recently-moved young professionals, however the influx of the latter has not displaced the former.
The documentary will examine the reasons for Astoria’s management of gentrification, as well as speak with Astorians both old and new, to gain a deeper understanding of the social and economic fabric which gives Astoria the ability to avoid the negative impacts of gentrification. The documentary will also speak with the owners of businesses both new and old to understand the challenges and benefits of operating in this community.
The production of the documentary–tentatively called ‘Astoria Stories: Gentrification, culture and community in the World’s Borough’, is currently on hold due to the producer pulling out of the project at short notice, which was also a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the moment, the production plan is being reevaluated.
This documentary will serve as an OER for classes in the social sciences, such as both introductory and higher-level sociology and urban studies classes. The documentary, once completed, will be made available on platforms such as CUNY’s institutional repository as well as Vimeo.