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Wayne Beggs

on 20 April 2018

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Transcript of Gentrification

What is Gentrification
An expanding and politically loaded urban process.

Changes neighborhoods and communities around the world.

A nebulous concept, crucial in the regeneration of many cities.

Continued morphing means that it defies a precise definition.

What is it?
A destroyer of neighborhoods and authenticity?

Displaces populations and destroys communities.

Leads to a cycle that ultimately reduces diversity.

Debates continue - is this a process with positive, or negative results?

Efforts to attract and direct gentrification’s powers of renewal

Hoyt and Burgess (1939) suggested that “the wealthy seldom reverse their steps and move backwards into the obsolete housing which they are giving up”

Move backwards was first observed in London by Glass in 1964

Middle-class homeowners applied sweat equity to improve declining housing stock with favorable design remnants.

Tended to be in larger world cities.

A Definition
Gentrification is:

a process involving a change in the population of land-users

such that the new users are of a higher socio-economic status than the previous users,

together with an associated change in the built environment

through a reinvestment in fixed capital.
What a Definition Needs
1. Why gentrification is concentrated in a small number of large cities such as Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne (and why it is limited in older industrial cities).

2. Why gentrification appears in some areas of housing and not others, and the characteristics of the areas involved.

3. It must explain which groups become gentrifiers and why, and fourthly, it must explain the timing of gentrification.

In other words, a comprehensive explanation must address the questions of where, which areas, who and why.
Who is displaced?

Who is displacing?

Which groups gentrify and why?

Is it an urban elite
Which Areas
Early Consideration of Which Areas
Portrayal of Gentrification
Urban Renaissance
Two-competing Theories
An increasing focus on housing finance in the economy.

Focus on the commodification of housing.
What is Gentrification?
How is


Our Current Understanding
What does it look like today?
A return to the city after a period of abandonment spawns a fabulous rebirth in arts and culture.

Suggestion that this view is tied to an urban rebirth where squalor is expunged and the respectable classes reclaim the city.

This popular view is offensive as it negates the actual history of urban disinvement and decline
Negative view suggests colonization whereby a dominant group subsumes a subject group.

Most marxist views of gentrification use the image of colonization.

Colonization as a process of unfair economic relationships and exploitation.

Gentrification is portrayed is compared to a number of historical movements.

It is a point of easy reference, a shorthand for understanding relationships.
Consideration of Race and Gentrification
Consideration of Gender and Gentrification
The Influence of Living Alone
Traditional Inner-city Gentrification
Global Movement of Populations Creating Intensification
First Ring Suburbs and Reinvestment
Redevelopment Using Formulas Related to Gentrification
Rural Gentrification:
Commodification of Quaint Towns
Globalization and Gentrification
Rose and the concept of the marginal gentrifier.

Couples, deferred parenthood.

Considerations for the commodification of space
Klienburg outlines emerging trend of individuals living alone.

Policy implication - twice as many homes a desire for connecting spaces

More desire for outdoor meeting spaces.

Smaller housing units.
Increased global commerce.

Increased transnational migration and migration to cities.

Increased migration to the 'arrival cities' of developed nations.

Global wealth looking for safe places to land.

Looking for new opportunity
Viewing cities as a wild space the frontier view of gentrification suggests it as a civilizing force.

Images include the urban pioneer, the urban cowboy and urban homesteaders.
Early Studies of Who
Glass sees an urban gentry

Smith sees a striving class seeking a bargain presented by evolving patterns.

Ley sees artists.
Later Studies of Who
Seems to be centered in large global cities initially.

Then spreads to other cities, but does not appear in all cities initially.
A myriad of potential gentrifiers - students, hipsters, global citizens.
Rent Gap Theory (Smith)
Post-industrial Theory (Ley)
Hamnett - The Blind Man and the Elephant
Neo-liberalism and Gentrification
Is gentrification all of these processes, or is the term too narrow to use to describe the variety of processes at play?

In the face of neo-liberalist approaches, what is the role of the planner in ensuring equity?

In the DFW Metroplex, where is gentrification occurring? Where could it happen next?
If gentrification is truly generalized... why does it happen in some spaces and not in others?

Is it possible to gentrify without displacement?

Is there such a thing as equity-based gentrification?

Is "distinction" at play in your conception of gentrification?
Seems to focus on undervalued areas with an abundance of renewable housing stock.

Eventually, is seen in post-industrial core of the city.

Rise of the loft.
Is this based on an economic opportunity.

Is there an inherent value in these areas.
Impacts of Gentrification
Early discussion focuses on displacement.

Class and race elements tied into displacement.

Displacement is difficult to track and outcomes are complex.
The Complexity of Displacement
Does displacement lead to negative outcomes?

Are all communities of value? Are there some communities that we would like to displace?

Can you have gentrification without displacement?
Realities of Displacement


Disappearing or evolving services

Business Impacts

Housing scarcity

Rising prices
Early Consideration of Where
Seems to be tied to world cities.

Seems to be in cities with some form of land scarcity.
Later Consideration of Where
Moves beyond world cities and is now experienced in many places.

Is not just seen in cities. Other areas that are undervalued are now pursued.
In the post-industrial core of world cities

In undervalued areas with historic housing neighborhoods.
Later Considerations of Which Areas
Sites with proximity to amenities.

Sites with views.

Sites with cachet.
In some instances, there seems to be a relationship between the presence of students and the triggering of gentrification.
In some cases, it is the displacement of the black working class by other populations.

In other cases, black professionals replace the black working class (eg. Harlem).
Hamnett suggests that gentrification as a theory is all of the things noted, and there are likely more.

Issue is that we are looking at the same process manifesting itself differently in different locations.
Gentrification Generalized
Supply-side focused, suggesting that gentrifiers are influenced by the availability of properties.

Focus on development of areas that have become undervalued.

An economic choice to extract maximum value through the improvement of a property.
Often referred to as demand-side gentrification.

Relates to middle-class search for authenticity through consumption.
Increasingly Diverse Theories
Influenced by global wealth and social mobility.

Increased focus on how to harness gentrification to drive renewal.

Cities wishing to trigger gentrification and renewal adjust policies while seeking to develop the right set of amenities.
Gentrification and Sustainability
Bunce (2009) asserts that sustainability and its related concept of densification can be used as cloak that delivers corporate profits, while making communities feel like they are making a difference.

Gentrification and intensification is a related concept?
Recognizing an opportunity, corporations have inserted themselves into gentrification and have sought to stay ahead of the developments.

The emergence of marketing based on gentrification.

Larger and more sophisticated projects.

Large development firms competing to create the right lifestyle locations
Gentrification and
Gay Culture
Gay neighborhoods form partly out of an interest in concentration - services.

Partly an interest in creating a defensible space.

Historically, couples are child free and are double income.

Time and money for renovations

Smith suggests that rather than being some condition that appears in certain places at certain times, gentrification is now found in many cities.

Increased importance for understanding how it works and why it happens.
Aesthetic Choices as Distinction
Use of aesthetic choice as a sign of distinction.

In certain groups, purchases are made for their intrinsic value, but also for their sub-textual value as symbols of status.
A "pro-urban lifestyle characteristics are associated with the historical ambience of the central city, and a more bohemian lifestyle set against the assumed conformity of the suburbs" (Bridge, 2001).
Central city space is redefined as desirable and a mark of distinction, recapturing an older tradition of the elite centre of the city prior to industrial capitalism.

This re-ordering of the symbolic significance of central city space is set against working class history as well as middle-class suburbia.

The symbolic ordering of space becomes a new set of class dispositions. Redefinitions of space are accompanied by a redefinition of time.

The past history of the housing comes to represent a form of aestheticized authenticity.

The ability to redefine and reorder time and space in these class practices is a mark of authenticity, an exercise of class power.
A Symbolic Re-Ordering
What Aesthetes Do
Bourdieu speaks of a “systematic inversion of the fundamental principles of ordinary economies’ whereby ‘profits and worldly influence are demeaned” (Bourdieu, 1993, p. 39 in Ley, 2003).

In this systematic inversion, edgy neighborhood locales and places with a patina of authenticity have a certain cachet with a neo-bohemian set of early gentrifiers (Lloyd, 2006, Zukin, 2008).
“Early gentrifiers are seen as having large amounts of cultural capital even if their stores of material capital are small. Cultural capital is deployed in lieu of material capital to achieve distinction” (Bridge, 2001, p.206).

Artists possess the ability to wade through cultural discards and identify difference and authenticity (Ley, 2003, Lloyd, 2006, Zukin, 2008).

Bourdieu notes how artists work to exercise a “stylization of life [where] nothing is more distinctive, distinguished than the capacity to confer aesthetic status on objects that are banal, or even common” (Bourdieu, 1984, p.5).
Cultural Intermediaries
Artists, critics and others then play a role of the cultural intermediary, helping to establish and convey cultural value (Ley, 2003).

Through applying this approach in the urban setting, artists and aesthetes are able to sift through neighborhoods, identifying housing stock, proximity and urban configurations that support the authentic lifestyles these artists and aesthetes value (Ley, 2003, Lloyd, 2006, Zukin, 2008).
Corporations and Distinction
Corporate interests now trail these communities, seeking to understand where opportunities may arise, before they do.

These corporate interests often trigger a development cycle that kills the very authenticity that the neighborhood represents. Ley found that the artists then move on, seeking other spaces that are as yet undiscovered.
Pro-urban Lifestyles
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