International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities
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International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities

Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox

This Handbook offers an unrivalled overview of current research into how globalization is affecting the external relations and internal structures of major cities in the world.
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Chapter 33: Gentrifying the World City

Loretta Lees


Loretta Lees It is interesting that the process of gentrification that has been evident in London, New York City and Paris since at least the 1950s (Carpenter and Lees, 1995; Lees et al., 2008), in Toronto since the 1960s (Caulfield, 1994) and in Tokyo since the 1980s (Fujitsuka, 2005) has not been evident in that other ‘world city’ – Los Angeles – until very recently. Gentrification can be defined broadly as the social upgrading of a locale by incoming high income groups which includes the reinvestment of capital and results in both landscape change and the direct or indirect displacement of low income groups (Davidson and Lees, 2005). That not all world cities have been gentrified, nor have experienced gentrification at the same time, is important, for we have long assumed that gentrification and world city status go hand in hand (e.g. Sassen, 1991). In the gentrification literature there has been the beginning of work on the specifics of gentrification in global or world cities (e.g. Lees, 2003; Butler and Lees, 2006), yet such a research agenda has much further to go. So what do we know about gentrification in world cities and those cities which aspire to be world cities, what might the future of gentrification in world cities be, and what might a future research agenda look like? GENTRIFICATION AND THE WORLD CITY It is perhaps significant that the term ‘gentrification’ was first coined in London (Glass, 1964), at a time when London was emerging as a global or world...

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