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Master of Arts (MA) in Critical GIS and Public Anthropology
Anthropology and Geography
Intense redevelopment has steamrolled across Seattle’s South Lake Union and Belltown neighborhoods, home to the headquarters of the world’s largest ecommerce corporation, Amazon. After the corporation established a presence in what is now referred to as ‘Amazonia’ in 2007, the surrounding urban landscape underwent a colossal metamorphic overhaul as high-tech and biotech industries, along with bourgeois luxury high rises, replaced old warehouses and empty parking lots. These new industries have attracted tens of thousands of people to the city, resulting in an oversaturated housing supply and an ensuing housing affordability crisis as rents have continued to skyrocket year after year. The circumstances surrounding the crisis suggest foul play not only by the megacorporation itself, but by developers and City officials, all supporting each other through a network of growth strategies that favor capital over people. This thesis therefore applies a critical mixed methods approach in conjunction with land rent theory to achieve two goals. First, I analyze the ‘roll-with-it’ circumstances of neoliberalized policy-making decisions by the City that leads to an unveiling of Amazon’s dual-natured role as both a steward for the rent-seeking class and as a ‘glocalized’ actor operating at multiple scales of neoliberalization. Second, I investigate the potential factors that have helped create the housing affordability crisis using geospatial and statistical modelling techniques to find confirm that the strategies the City employed as they lie in bed with developers have significantly impacted rising rents to an alarming degree.
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Hansen, Elijah Connor, "'Armageddon': the unholy trinity of class monopoly rent in the Emerald City" (2020). EWU Masters Thesis Collection. 644.