Handbook of Gentrification Studies
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Handbook of Gentrification Studies

Edited by Loretta Lees and Martin Phillips

It is now over 50 years since the term ‘gentrification’ was first coined by the British urbanist Ruth Glass in 1964, in which time gentrification studies has become a subject in its own right. This Handbook, the first ever in gentrification studies, is a critical and authoritative assessment of the field. Although the Handbook does not seek to rehearse the classic literature on gentrification from the 1970s to the 1990s in detail, it is referred to in the new assessments of the field gathered in this volume. The original chapters offer an important dialogue between existing theory and new conceptualisations of gentrification for new times and new places, in many cases offering novel empirical evidence.
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Chapter 19: Gentle gentrification in the exceptional city of LA?

Juliet Kahne

Abstract

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.

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