Dr. Molly Vollman Makris and Dr. Mary Gatta have co-authored Gentrification Down the Shore, an insightful ethnographic case study recently released by Rutgers University Press. The book explores the evolution of Asbury Park, New Jersey, a beach town vibrant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries before bearing the downward impact of broader structural socioeconomic changes on US urban areas. Unexpectedly, Asbury Park was thrust into the national spotlight in 2017, when it was ranked America’s “coolest small town” by Budget Travel Magazine, drawing wealthy buyers and developers of oceanfront properties and tourists seeking the experiences and amenities of luxurious resorts. Combining in-depth interviews, focus groups, ethnographic observation, and data analysis, Drs. Makris and Gatta show the devastating effects of this seasonal gentrification on the residents of Asbury’s West Side, many of whom live on incomes at or below the poverty line and are blocked from socioeconomic advancement. “Focusing on historical [racial] segregation both residentially and in the labor market,” as well as exclusion based on class and LGBTQ identities, this “rich qualitative work and presentation of intersectionality… sheds light on the experiences of living in Asbury Park from the perspective of people who were there long ago,” writes urban change and policy scholar Kathe Newman.
Dr. Molly Vollman Makris, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Urban Studies, holds a Ph.D. in Urban Systems from Rutgers University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, with concentrations in Urban Educational Policy and the Urban Environment. She received her M.A.L.S. in Urban Education from the CUNY Graduate Center and a B.S. in Secondary Education from NYU. Her current areas of research are urban education reform, charter schools, school segregation, privatization of public space, and gentrification. Dr. Makris won the American Educational Studies Association (AESA) Critics’ Choice Book Award and the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance Book Award in 2016 for authoring Public Housing and School Choice in a Gentrified City: Youth Experiences of Uneven Opportunity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). Her articles have been featured in the Peabody Journal of Education, Journal of Urban Affairs, and Journal of Education Policy. Dr. Makris’ research and teaching have been covered by The Takeaway, The 74 Million, and Chalkbeat, to name a few. She enjoys presenting her work at the conferences of the AESA, the American Educational Research Association, and the21 Urban Affairs Association.
Prior to joining Guttman faculty in August 2015, Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Mary Gatta served as a Senior Scholar at Wider Opportunities for Women in Washington DC; Director of Gender and Workforce Policy at the Center for Women and Work; and Assistant Professor of Labor Studies at Rutgers University. She has served on New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Labor and Workforce Development Transition Team and headed a series of evaluation of workforce and education programs for agencies including the US Department of Labor. In addition, Dr. Gatta is a leader in research related to job quality, such as workplace flexibility for low-wage workers, workforce development programs, and nontraditional job training for women. She is the author of several books, including Waiting on Retirement: Aging and Economic Insecurity in Low Wage Work; All I Want Is a Job! Unemployed Women Navigating the Public Workforce System; Not Just Getting By: The New Era of Flexible Workforce Development; and Juggling Food and Feelings: Emotional Balance in the Workplace. Dr. Gatta was also the editor of A US Skills System for the 21st Century: Innovations in Workforce Education and Development and has published numerous academic articles, policy papers and op-eds.