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Jess Steele

This chapter looks at what critical geographers have called ‘false choice urbanism’, the destructive choice that neighbourhoods are offered between ‘gentrification or decline’, a choice that has become ‘common sense’ both in the urban regeneration field and more widely. In critiquing this false choice, the chapter makes clear that we need an alternative to it. It reviews some of the alternatives from the gentrification literature and beyond, including the decommodification of housing, urban commons, etc; but self renovating neighbourhoods are put forward as a better solution that involves collaborative action for common and mutual good. The chapter argues for taking the neighbourhood more seriously as a site for social good and economic opportunity, both empirically right now and normatively for the future. This chapter makes clear that genuine alternatives to gentrification (and decline) are both imaginable and emerging.