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Edited by Markus Moos
Cody Hochstenbach and Willem Boterman
In this chapter, it is shown how multiple age groups are involved in different forms of gentrification. It is argued that it is necessary to consider age, life course, and generation in order to understand the increasingly widespread scale at which gentrification and displacement operate. The chapter zooms in on three different age groups in broader gentrification processes: (1) young people, (2) families, and (3) ageing groups. It specifically focuses on the crucial role of life-course transitions, and the cumulative experiences and residential trajectories of particular generations. It also considers the political economy of life course and shows how as gentrification has become mainstream it becomes an ever more likely outcome of the negotiation of various life-course transitions. Developers recognise this and jump on those niche markets for profitable speculative housing development, and lure those households deemed desirable.
The intention in this chapter is not to champion or prescribe certain models or practices as ideal types or as cure-alls for gentrification, but instead to explore current progressive community-based alternatives to housing provision and land ownership and stewardship as methods to challenge local scale gentrification processes and encourage community self-determination. Through the study of community land trusts and ecovillages in cities, the chapter demonstrates how individuals and communities, largely at the neighbourhood scale, can engage in alternative practices of everyday urban living and how these may act as aspirational spaces for community-based empowerment and for shaping new urban futures. While not all urban community land trusts and ecovillages identify their rationales and mandates as resisting gentrification, the work of these organizations inherently challenges dominant relations of production and consumption through the de-commodification of housing and land and by acting as collective, participatory spaces for cultivating social and environmental justice and change in everyday life.
Hyun Bang Shin and Ernesto López-Morales
In this chapter, it is argued that gentrification narrowly understood in a fossilised way, e.g., gentrification equated with its classic form in 1960s London, is not a useful barometer through which to evaluate the experiences of gentrification beyond the Anglo-American examples that have dominated the literature to date. Comparative gentrification studies in recent years have taught us the importance of de-centring the production of knowledge, incorporating emergent contextual discussions from elsewhere, and adhering to relational perspectives in order to understand how gentrification interacts with other local processes and discourses. The chapter asserts that the de-centring of gentrification studies requires researchers to pay more careful attention to the historicity of urbanisation and urban contestation. It also requires researchers to accept that gentrification may look completely different in places and societies researchers do not yet know about or yet work in/on.
Freek de Haan
This chapter argues for a relational approach to looking at the chaotic problem of gentrification. It rejects attempts to generalise gentrification, to link local and global, and earlier work on complementarity in gentrification theorizing; rather, it makes the case for a more earthly gentrification embedded in relational approaches such as assemblage, actor-network and intra-action theory, which it is hoped might open up new epistemic and methodological avenues for research on gentrification. Different from traditional approaches to gentrification, these radically relational theories are not predicated on the ‘internal relations’ of parts, wholes, scales and their contradictory dialectics but on ‘relations of exteriority’, which have a life of their own, reducible to neither parts nor wholes. It suggests an epistemological strategy of ‘counter-actualization’ and applies it to some very familiar themes of gentrification.
As gentrification studies entered the C21st some authors proclaimed that gentrification had gone global and was now a generalised urban phenomenon. More recently a small number of urban geographers have become interested in investigating this claim using ideas from the supposedly ‘new’ comparative urbanism literature that has arisen in geography and beyond. Focusing on the relevance of this ‘new’ comparative urbanism for researching gentrification around the world, this chapter argues that the comparative urbanism literature is fashionable right now for a number of reasons, that it has good potential for a truly global gentrification studies, but that there is much theoretical, conceptual and especially methodological progress that needs to be made. There are also other issues to attend to, for in gentrification studies it is important to consider and resist the neglect and marginalization of those people being socially cleansed; that is, displaced from cities worldwide, not simply the neglect and marginalization of cities in the Global South in (northern) urban theory.
Michaela Benson and Emma Jackson
In this chapter, how a reconceptualization of class might reanimate scholarly engagements with gentrification and urban redevelopment theoretically, conceptually and methodologically is considered. This is done drawing on inspiration from contemporary feminist scholars of class who have put forward a dynamic approach to understanding class as producing inequality and injustice through the struggle over value. The chapter revisits the understandings of class that underpin studies of gentrification with a view to making the latter a more malleable and adaptable concept. It is argued that to understand planetary gentrification there is a need not only to critically evaluate the conditions through which knowledge of the urban has developed, but also to apply the same logic to the understandings of class that we mobilise within these.
This chapter investigates gentrification in one of the US’s most suburban cities – Los Angeles, a city where until recently few have discussed gentrification. It always seemed odd that a city as large, as powerful, as infamous, as controversial, and as ethnically, economically and culturally mixed as Los Angeles somehow slipped through the major gentrification debates of the 1980s and 90s altogether. The gentrification that is occurring in LA has been described as ‘gentle’ or ‘weak centred’. Zooming in on the neighbourhood of Silver Lake, northwest of Downtown LA, the chapter finds a gentrification that is trying to preserve some of the character of this neighbourhood but that the speed of change is escalating. Looking at Silver Lake’s walkable form, historic housing stock, and extensive history as an attractor for alternative types, it is argued that it is not surprising that new incomers (gentrifiers) are flocking to the neighbourhood today. But it is argued that a tipping point seems to have been reached moving the neighbourhood from social preservation into full blown gentrification.
In comparison to class much less has been written on ethnicity and gentrification. Ethnic minorities are often seen as the victims of gentrification, yet ethnicity is also marketed (for example, ethnic neighbourhoods) as a cosmopolitan gentrification. Whites displacing black or ethnic minority groups (often first or second generation immigrants) is common in US gentrification studies, but there are also studies of black, middle class gentrifiers. This chapter expands the discussion beyond the US to Norway, Mexico and elsewhere. It concludes that the ethnic dimension to gentrification is as yet under-theorised, that the role of ethnicity and/or ‘race’ in gentrification processes is often ambiguous, and that ethnic identifications may well be contradictory and multivalent. Engaging with the relationship between ethnicity and gentrification requires sensitivity towards the geographical and historical context of ethnic minorities’ positions.
This chapter seeks to foster greater reflection on the significance of landscape within the study of gentrification. It begins by highlighting claims that landscape is a central, even a defining, feature of gentrification. A feature that has arguably been taken-for-granted. Then four distinct understandings of landscape are identified and discussed: landscape as material/physical world; landscape as space of social life and social relations of power; landscape as a symbolic text or ways of seeing; and landscape as lived space. The chapter concludes that landscape, as much as gentrification, can be viewed as a 'congested and contested concept' and it is hence unsurprising that a range of tensions have surrounded the definition and employment of both of these; but tensions have often been used productively to drive both theory and praxis into new terrains.