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Gentrification and displacement: urban inequality in cities of late capitalism



This chapter provides the reader with an understanding of what gentrification is and why it is the cause of urban inequalities. In the last fifty years, gentrification has grown from a few cities in the Global North to become a world-wide strategy for capital accumulation. The following pages explore this evolution and contributes towards explaining why it has become a prominent topic for urban geography research, policy makers and social movements. The chapter shows the role of the state and neoliberal urban policies in advancing gentrification, stressing the fact that the growth of the phenomenon is a central ingredient for the reproduction of capitalism. Finally, it assesses the way in which gentrification displaces residents from their places and so provides a critical understanding of gentrification as a process of social exclusion.
Gentrification and displacement: urban inequality in cities of
late capitalism
Agustín Cocola-Gant
This chapter is to appear in:
Cocola-Gant, A (2019) Gentrification and displacement: urban inequality in cities of
late capitalism. Schwanen, T. and R. Van Kempen (Eds.) Handbook of Urban
Geography. Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.
1. Introduction
This chapter provides the reader with an understanding of what gentrification is
and why it is the cause of urban inequalities. In the last fifty years, gentrification has
grown from a few cities in the Global North to become a world-wide strategy for capital
accumulation. The following pages explore this evolution and contributes towards
explaining why it has become a prominent topic for urban geography research, policy
makers and social movements. The chapter shows the role of the state and neoliberal
urban policies in advancing gentrification, stressing the fact that the growth of the
phenomenon is a central ingredient for the reproduction of capitalism. Finally, it
assesses the way in which gentrification displaces residents from their places and so
provides a critical understanding of gentrification as a process of social exclusion.
2. The origins of gentrification
The classical process of gentrification is the transformation of working-class
areas of the inner city into middle-class neighbourhoods, which ultimately means the
displacement of low-income residents by high-income groups. The term was first
coined by the sociologist Ruth Glass in 1964 to describe how many poor areas of
London have been invaded by the middle class (Glass, 1964, p. xviii) and once this
process of ‘gentrification’ starts in a district it goes on rapidly, until all or most of the
original working class occupiers are displaced and the whole social character of the
district is changed (Glass, 1964, p. xviii). Glass observed that gentrification was related
to housing rehabilitation, the tenurial transformation from renting to owning and the
relaxation of rent control. She also noted the increasing liberalisation of urban policies
and stated that in such circumstances, any district in or near London, however dingy or
unfashionable before, is likely to become expensive; and London may quite soon be a
city which illustrates the principle of the survival of the fittest the financially fittest,
who can still afford to work and live there (Glass, 1964, p. xix). As has been noted, the
term was coined as a neighbourhood expression of class inequality (Lees, Slater, &
Wyly, 2008, p. 80) to critically illustrate the displacement of working-class residents
after the rehabilitation of the housing stock. Therefore, gentrification is a process of
socio-spatial change in which the working-classes are displaced by the middle-classes
and the residential and commercial landscape is upgraded. It is worth noting that the
displacement of residents is inherent to any definition of gentrification so that there is
no gentrification without displacement.
The origin of gentrification was a post-war phenomenon seen in a few cities in
the Global North, especially London and New York, that started when small-scale
gentrifiers entered run-down neighbourhoods in order to rehabilitate individual homes
for personal consumption. The consolidation of gentrification in metropolitan cities in
the Global North took place after the crisis of 1973 and lasted until the end of the 1980s.
In this period, usually called ‘second wave’ gentrification (Hackworth and Smith,
2001), the role of development firms in rehabilitating housing for the middle-class
became increasingly more powerful, which exacerbated the displacement of low-income
Gentrification needs to be related to the abandonment and physical degradation
of the inner city and the following process of urban regeneration. After decades of
building expansion into the suburbs, which resulted in the decentralisation of middle-
and upper-income residents, inner cities became home to concentrations of poor
immigrants and working-class tenants who lived and worked in a decaying built
environment. Deindustrialisation and the crisis of 1973 in Western societies made both
physical and social conditions in the inner-city worse, including the decay of buildings,
unemployment, and marginalisation. In response to this process of abandonment,
successive governments adopted expansive regeneration programmes to change the
social and material problems created by the decline of post-industrial city centres. As a
result, the 1970s witnessed a euphoric ‘back to the city’ movement or ‘neighbourhood
revitalisation’ which, according to the media and policy-makers, was bringing new life
to old neighbourhoods after decades of disinvestment (Lees et al., 2008).
Simultaneously, some critical urban scholars searched beneath the euphemistic
vocabulary to reveal a new geography of exclusion and depicted it as a process of
gentrification in which inner-city areas had been upgraded by pioneer gentrifiers and as
a consequence the indigenous residents were being evicted or displaced (Clay, 1979; N.
Smith, 1979). It is worth stressing that this origin of gentrification concerned
metropolitan areas of the US and London, but research on the geography of
gentrification (Lees, 2012) shows that its temporality and forms are different in different
places. The chapter will explore this issue under the heading ‘expanding the geography
and forms of gentrification’ below.
3. Explanations
In the late 1970s and 1980s two theoretical perspectives proposed different
explanations for gentrification: consumption-side and production-side theories. The
former are derived from the work of David Ley (1996) who explains gentrification as a
consequence of changes in the occupational and income structure of advanced capitalist
societies. According to Ley, the shift of cities from being manufacturing centres to
centres of business and consumption services produced an expanding group of qualified
new professionals that have displaced the industrial working-class in desirable city
centre areas. Ley sees rehabilitation activity as being stimulated by the market power of
the growing white-collar labour force and their consumption preferences and demand
for urban living. In this sense, it is no coincidence that cities like New York and
London, which are dominated by the financial services sector, were at the forefront of
gentrification activity (Atkinson and Bridge, 2005).
Consumption-side theories have focused on the formation and behaviour of the
middle-classes, exploring questions of class constitution such as who are the gentrifiers
and why they are seeking to locate in central city areas. In The New Middle Class and
the Remaking of the Central City, Ley (1996) proposes a model of the potential
gentrifiers who would typically be childless; primarily under 35 years of age; employed
in the advanced services, that is, professional, administrative, technical, and managerial
occupations; highly educated; and receiving a high income despite their young age. This
model of the young professional as the prototypical gentrifier has usually been accepted
in the classical explanation of gentrification (Lees et al., 2008). Regarding why
gentrifiers prefer to locate in central city areas, Ley (1996) argues that a central location
is valued because it offers access to work, leisure, and cultural activities, and it enables
an urban lifestyle close to environmental amenities such as waterfronts, historical
architecture, or local shops. Ley also relates this ‘back to the city’ movement to the
counter-cultural awareness of the 1960s and 1970s during which the city centre was
seen as a place for tolerance, diversity, and liberation, whereas the suburbs were the
location for patriarchal families and political conservatism. The remaking of the central
city was interpreted as a reaction against the structural domination of the modernist
ideologies and planning (male-oriented society, industrial, authoritarian structures, mass
production, religion, suburbs) and the arrival of post-modern liberation through the
consumption of culture and diversity (minorities, pluralism, rights, feminism,
multiculturalism, identity, individualism) (see Harvey, 1990). This ‘emancipatory city
thesis’ (Lees, 2000) is more explicit in Caulfield’s work (1994), and has also been
applied to explain why women tend to locate in city centres as a rejection of patriarchal
suburbia (Bondi, 1999).
Production-side explanations consider gentrification as part of a much larger
shift in the political economy of the late twentieth-century, linking the process to a
broader conceptualisation of the production of space rather than the outcome of new
middle-class tastes and a demand for urban living. The theory was developed by Neil
Smith as a reaction to the optimistic celebrations of an urban renaissance in the late
1970s. For Smith, the important point to understand gentrification would be the
mobility of capital and investments instead of the mobility of people (N. Smith, 1979).
Smith follows Harvey (1978) to explain how capitalism creates new places for profit
and accumulation and in the process devalorises previous investments for future profit.
The contribution of Smith was to connect these logics of uneven development
whereby the underdevelopment of an area creates opportunities for a new phase of
redevelopment to the conditions of American inner-cities. By analysing American
processes of suburbanisation, Smith showed that inner-cities were affected by a
movement of economic capital to the suburbs and that this historical process of capital
devalorisation of the inner-city made profitable reinvestment possible. As a
consequence, according to Smith (1979, 1996), a theory of gentrification must explain
why some neighbourhoods are profitable to redevelop while others are not. In doing so,
he proposed the so-called ‘rent-gap theory’, which focuses on the difference between
the value of inner-urban land (low because of abandonment) and its potential value
(higher if rehabilitated). The movement of capital to the suburbs, along with the
continual devalorisation of inner-city capital, eventually produces the rent gap. In other
words, the rent gap refers to conditions in which profitable reinvestment is possible, and
therefore, once the rent gap is wide enough, rehabilitation can start and capital flows
back in.
In the explanation of gentrification, Hamnett (1991) argued that production and
consumption theories are partial abstractions from the totality of the phenomenon and
so suggested the need to integrate both theories as complementary interpretations.
Nowadays research has accepted that neither side is comprehensible without the other
(Clark, 2005; Lees et al., 2008), and that an adequate explanation of gentrification will
have to cover both aspects of the process: the production of urban space and the
consumption of urban lifestyles.
4. Neoliberalism and the role of the state
Local governments have been advancing gentrification as a solution for urban
decay since the 1970s and 1980s (Lauria and Knopp, 1985). However, state-led
gentrification intensified in the 1990s after the global triumph of neoliberalism and
urban entrepreneurialism (Hackworth and Smith, 2001). If in the first wave of
gentrification the state played a crucial role in stimulating the back to the city
movement, it also was concerned with the provision of public housing and
decommodified components of welfare and collective consumption (DeVerteuil, 2015).
However, as Hackworth (2002) illustrates, since the late 1990s state support has become
more direct again, but this time outside of the Keynesian model and instead within the
framework of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism involves the destruction of state
redistribution and provision of welfare while creating new forms of state policy to
promote capital mobility and consumption (Brenner and Theodore, 2002). The
important point is that this role of the state has been translated into an increasing
targeting of high-income residents and in a policy framework in which gentrification
becomes a positive tool rather than a form of exclusion. In the neoliberal context,
gentrification has been incorporated into public policy as an engine of urban renaissance
(Lees, 2003b).
The targeting of gentrifiers as a solution for urban decay has resulted in a
number of policies aimed at ‘attracting the consumer dollar’ while criminalising poverty
and marginalised communities. It is for this reason that Hackworth defines
gentrification as the production of urban space for progressively more affluent users
(2002, p. 815). Among such policies, the deconcentration of poverty by demolition has
been implemented in several cities. For instance, in the United States the HOPE VI
programme provided grants for the demolition of public housing complexes that were
partly substituted by middle-class dwellings (Wyly and Hammel, 1999), while in
London council estates are in the process of being demolished and replaced with mixed
income new-build housing (Lees, 2014). Such state-led gentrification policies rely on
the rhetoric of social mixing or mixed communities. This rhetoric holds that the arrival
of upper and middle-income residents will benefit poorer members of society by
improving the economy as a whole. However, it has caused the displacement of tenants
and a lack of affordable housing, while several empirical studies show little evidence of
shared perceptions of community after gentrification (Bridge et al., 2012).
5. Expanding the geography and forms of gentrification
The chapter has so far discussed an understanding of classical gentrification as it
was depicted by the literature in global cities of the Anglo-Saxon world, especially
during the period between the 1970s and 2000. This was useful to provide an overall
description and explanation of the process. However, it is worth noting (1) that
gentrification can be traced back to the late 1970s and 1980s in other contexts as well,
such as in provincial cities of the Global North (Dutton, 2005) and Southern European
urban centres (Arbaci & Tapada-Berteli, 2012); and (2) that gentrification is now a
global process that has also spread to cities in the South as well as to the suburbs, the
countryside and even to slums. The expansion of gentrification has been explained as
the result of (1) the international dominance of neoliberalism (Brenner and Theodore,
2002; N. Smith, 2002); (2) the globalisation of real estate markets and the central role
that urbanisation plays in the reproduction of capitalism (Slater, 2017; N. Smith, 2002);
and (3) the emergence of a global gentrifier class (Rofe, 2003) and growing middle-
classes in places such as Asia and Latin America (Janoschka, Sequera, & Salinas, 2014;
Shin, Lees, & López-Morales, 2016). In recent years, accounts of planetary
gentrification (Lees et al., 2016; Slater, 2017) show that the process is a global strategy
of rent extraction and that it takes a myriad of forms in different places.
In relation to this, new forms of gentrification have been identified by several
authors. The literature has described rural gentrification as the process in which the
post-productive countryside attracts middle-class residents from cities in search of the
charm and natural environment that those locations provide (Phillips, 2005);
studentification refers to the formation of ‘student only’ enclaves that displace existing
populations (D. P. Smith & Holt, 2007); new-build gentrification is the process in
which residential developments in low-income neighbourhoods cater exclusively to the
middle-classes, transforming the character of the place and resulting in the rise of rent
prices in the area; (Davidson and Lees, 2010); super-gentrification’ is the gentrification
of neighbourhoods that have already experienced earlier rounds of the process by an
elite of super-rich employees in financial centres (Lees, 2003a); and ‘slum
gentrification is defined as a process of capital investment and new interest in the
consumption of cultures of informal built environments such as favelas in Brazil,
resulting in the partial or total displacement of incumbent populations (Ascensão, 2018).
Within the new forms of gentrification, ‘commercial gentrification’ and ‘tourism
gentrification’ deserve special mention as they play a crucial role in contemporary urban
change. Commercial or retail gentrification refers to the displacement of traditional and
local stores and their substitution by boutiques, trendy cafes and franchises (Hubbard,
2016). Certain types of upmarket restaurants, cafes, and stores emerge in gentrified
areas and thus are a highly visible sign of urban landscape change. Zukin (2008)
stresses that commercial gentrification transforms the working-class character of the
place into a new space for cultural distinction and differentiation. Although commercial
gentrification tends to follow residential gentrification as the result of the consumption
demands of new gentrifiers, it also needs to be contextualised within the trajectory of
neoliberal urban policies aimed at transforming urban centres into spaces of
consumption for affluent users. For instance, this is the case regarding the increased
tendency to upgrade traditional food markets which are substituted by gourmet products
and ‘local’ restaurants (Gonzalez and Waley, 2013). Importantly, authors like Gonzalez
and Waley (2013) and Zukin (2008) note that, as a product of commercial
gentrification, the resulting new middle-class shopping environment destroys the
services that are essential for low-income residents because of their affordability.
Therefore, this retail change strengthens the displacement pressures that low-income
communities experience in gentrifying areas. The chapter will focus on how residents
experience gentrification below.
Tourism gentrification refers to the process by which residential areas are
transformed into leisure spaces for visitors, threatening the right to ‘stay put’ of existing
populations (Cocola-Gant, 2018; Gotham, 2005). The growth of tourism is a worldwide
phenomenon and residents experience tourism-driven gentrification in both the North
and the South. However, the way in which the process occurs varies in different places.
Firstly, in cities of advanced economies, tourism has been promoted since the 1970s as
a tool for urban revitalization after the decline of old industries. This involved a major
round of capital investment in decaying areas aimed at bringing the middle-class back to
cities, not as resident taxpayers but at least as free-spending visitors (Eisinger, 2000, p.
317). In other words, the emergence of urban tourism parallels the emergence of
gentrification and, in fact, they tend to coexist in similar urban environments. In this
regard, some authors note that gentrification usually becomes a precursor for the
promotion of the place, particularly because visitors and middle-class residents usually
feel comfortable in similar landscapes of consumption (Cocola-Gant, 2015; Judd, 2003;
Maitland and Newman, 2008). Gentrified areas create tourist-friendly spaces as they
provide visitors with sanitized environments, consumption opportunities and a middle-
class sense of place. As tourism brings further consumers into gentrified areas, the
resulting intensification of land use increases property prices and accelerates the effects
of gentrification.
Secondly, tourism gentrification is especially important in peripheral economies
where tourism represents a key factor for development and growth and so is an
important driver of gentrification into the Global South. An overview of case studies on
tourism gentrification reveals a geography that covers secondary cities in the North such
as New Orleans (Gotham, 2005), but particularly the Global South from Latin America
and the Caribbean to the Mediterranean and from South Africa and Mauritius to the
Asia-Pacific region (Cocola-Gant, 2018). In these places, the progression of
gentrification is less related to the consumption demand of a local middle-class and
more to the effects of tourists from advanced economies as consumers of urban, rural,
and coastal environments. Consequently, tourism gentrification in the global South is an
expression of uneven geographical development and regional inequality.
Recently, tourism gentrification has been strengthened worldwide by the rise of
digital platforms such as Airbnb and the consequent proliferation of short-term rentals
(Cocola-Gant, 2016; Wachsmuth and Weisler, 2018). These authors show that suppliers
of holiday rentals are less single families that occasionally rent the homes in which they
live as Airbnb suggests and more companies and landlords that are renting out
residential properties permanently. The growth and professionalisation of holiday
rentals leads to a shortage in the housing stock and a consequent price increase, which
makes it increasingly difficult for residents to find affordable accommodation,
exacerbating the effects of gentrification.
6. Contemporary definition of gentrification
Initially, the chapter defined classical gentrification as a process in which
middle-class professionals were rehabilitating low-priced residences in working-class
areas, resulting in the displacement of existing populations. Then, we showed that
gentrification expanded as a global strategy of capital accumulation and that it takes
different forms. Early definitions are problematic when it comes to describing new
phenomena in different places and, in fact, some authors have wondered whether they
were gentrification at all (see Davidson and Lees, 2010). However, the evidence that
processes such as studentification, new-build gentrification or tourism gentrification
also cause displacement and socio-spatial change and are usually led by the initiative of
private developers resulted in a redefinition and a more flexible conceptualisation of
gentrification. The important point is that the built environment is produced according
to the demands of affluent users (Hackworth, 2002), and that such production displaces
the indigenous inhabitants from their places. Regarding this, Lees et al. (2015, p. 442)
state that the phenomenon of gentrification is global to an extent that urban spaces
around the world are increasingly subject to global and domestic capital (re)investment
to be transformed into new uses that cater to the needs of wealthier inhabitants.
Consequently, Lees and colleagues conclude that any form of contemporary
gentrification should include, in the widest sense, capital-led restructuring of the built
environment with significant upper or middle-income newcomers and class-led
displacement of the indigenous inhabitants. As Clark (2005, p. 263) pointed out several
years ago,
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. The greater the difference in socio-economic
status, the more noticeable the process It does not matter where, and it does
not matter when. Any process of change fitting this description is, to my
understanding, gentrification.
As Slater (2006) suggests, this understanding of gentrification retains the defining
aspect given by Glass, that is to say, that the gentry colonisation of urban space and
the neoliberal ‘principle of the survival of the fittest’ cause the displacement of low-
income residents and so it is an expression of urban inequality. This is a definition
which reveals that a process of dispossession is taking place. It challenges the
celebration of gentrification as a process that ‘brings life’ to disinvested areas and,
instead, reminds us that the term was coined to depict a new geography of exclusion.
7. Experiencing gentrification: displacement and loss of place
This chapter has shown that the displacement of communities constitutes a key element
of any definition of gentrification and that for this reason gentrification is regarded as an
expression of class inequality. Displacement is a politically controversial issue and has
strong implications for public policy. If for critical scholars displacement shows that
targeting affluent users excludes low-income residents from urban space, for neoliberal
policy-makers evidence of a lack of displacement can be used to claim the positive
effects of gentrification and to deny the need for protective welfare measures.
In order to disentangle these contradictory points of view, we need to pay
attention to what displacement actually is and how it takes place. Regarding this, it is
important to consider the conceptualization of displacement proposed by Marcuse
(1985; see also Slater, 2009). Marcuse (1985) suggested that gentrification causes direct
displacement, displacement pressures and exclusionary displacement. Direct
displacement refers to a housing-related involuntary residential dislocation (Marcuse,
1985, p. 205). According to this definition, displacement occurs when any household is
forced to move out of its residence. This is the most widely accepted definition of
displacement and, as a result, several authors have attempted to measure the amount of
people displaced in gentrified areas (Atkinson, 2000; Freeman and Braconi, 2004).
However, Marcuse stressed that the involuntary out-migration of a place is not
the unique socio-spatial impact of gentrification and that there are other consequences
that usually remain hidden. For this reason, he suggested supplementing the definition
of direct displacement with the concepts of exclusionary displacement and pressure of
displacement. According to the author, exclusionary displacement occurs when any
household is unable to move into a dwelling because it has been gentrified, and thus
refers to affordability problems. Gentrified areas become increasingly expensive and
this undermines the access to housing of low-income populations. Linked
fundamentally to this concept, displacement pressure refers to changes at the
neighbourhood scale that make it increasingly difficult for residents to continue living
in the area. Those who avoid direct residential displacement may suffer the
displacement of their neighbours, traditional retailers, public facilities, as well as the
upgrading of stores and services. The result is that the area becomes less and less
liveable for the indigenous population, triggering feelings of frustration and
Drawing on this conceptualisation, recent research on displacement has not only
focused on the out-migration of residents but on exploring the daily experiences of
people who managed to remain in gentrifying areas. For instance, Newman and Wyly
(2006) find that, for many low-income residents, staying put means accepting poor
quality accommodation, overcrowding as well as having to cope with high housing cost
burdens. The authors conclude that those who have managed to avoid displacement are
likely to be those people who have found ways to adapt and survive in an increasingly
competitive housing market (Newman and Wyly, 2006, p. 28). This shows that direct
displacement is not a test for gentrification and that residents can adapt and remain, but
at the expense of undermining their quality of life and well-being. In relation to this,
DeVerteuil (2012) observes the importance of considering the disadvantages of
passively ‘staying put’, especially because the literature on gentrification usually sees
immobility as inherently positive and unproblematic.
In exploring how low-income residents experience gentrification on a daily
basis, and linked to the concept of displacement pressures, several authors have
concluded that a central impact is loss of place and a feeling of dispossession
(Davidson, 2009; Davidson and Lees, 2010; Shaw and Hagemans, 2015; Valli, 2015).
Place is usually defined as a space which people have made meaningful. It is not only a
location but the subjective and emotional attachment that people have to any space
(Cresswell, 2004). In addition, for Fullilove (1996) a sense of community is inherent to
any definition of place. She emphasises that for low-income residents the
neighbourhood is a web of human bonds that leads to emotional links but also to mutual
aid and solidarity that is essential for survival. In this regard, the loss of place caused by
gentrification results both in an emotional loss and especially in the disintegration of the
networks of exchange and solidarity that help low-income residents to stay put on a
long-term basis (Betancur, 2011). For instance, Shaw and Hagemans (2015) find that
despite the increase in restaurants and cafés in gentrifying areas, long-term residents
expressed that they had fewer places to go out and meet their neighbours. As the authors
state, if the sources of the familiar shops, services, meeting places, other people in the
neighbourhood, the nature of local social order and governance become unfamiliar,
low-income people may lose their sense of place without the capacity to find a new one’
(Shaw and Hagemans, 2015, p. 327). The loss of resources that are essential for the
everyday lives of low-income people such as meeting places, stores, and social
networks make them vulnerable and leads to an emotional upheaval that is expressed in
frustration, hopelessness and in the feeling that the place now belongs to others.
Consequently, the effects of gentrification cannot be reduced to the out-
migration of the neighbourhood. The measurement of direct displacement leaves
important aspects of space silenced and so, in order to assess the impacts of
gentrification, there is the need to emphasise the lived spaces experienced by residents
(Davidson, 2009). As Friedmann (2010) has pointed out, the destruction of places
caused by gentrification inevitably imposes immense human costs and the capacity to
protect them should constitute a moral imperative for planners and-policy makers.
8. Concluding remarks
This chapter has provided an understanding of gentrification as a process in
which spaces are produced according to the needs of middle- and upper-income users
and in which the indigenous population is displaced. Going back to the explanations of
the process, both the cultural consumers of space and the economic production of
space theories stress the fact that gentrification is the consequence of changes in late
capitalism: the demand of the new white-collar class of the service society and
urbanisation and investment in the built environment as a central strategy of capital
accumulation. Neoliberalism has stimulated gentrification to the extent that it has been
promoted by the state and celebrated by policymakers and local authorities. In addition,
the lack of advanced industries and services in the Global South turns this production of
space for affluent users into a central growth strategy by which local governments
often in conjunction with property developers seek to attract overseas investment and
consumers. In conclusion, gentrification is a central ingredient in the reproduction of
capitalism. However, the evidence that gentrification causes socio-spatial inequality
shows the need to work for a more equal society rather than excluding residents
according to their consumption abilities.
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... La expresión urbanística de la gentrificación se ha ido diversificando y matizando con el tiempo, generando intensos debates acerca de la naturaleza misma del fenómeno como manifestación variable, histórica y geográficamente situada de una misma lógica capitalista de desposesión (Cocola-Gant, 2019;Elliott-Cooper al., 2020;Harvey, 2004). En particular, la investigación de la gentrificación ha ido poniendo más o menos énfasis en cuestiones como: la importancia y los tipos de desplazamiento de población que produce (Goetz et al., 2019); los efectos de expulsión y discriminación racista, de clase y de género que se derivan de ella (Levy et al., 2006); su afectación principal a los centros urbanos o a otros nú-cleos poblacionales (Atkinson & Bridge, 2005); el papel de la estructura de la propiedad inmobiliaria en el proceso (Nel·lo, 2018;Sorando & Andura, 2016); las explicaciones centradas más en lógicas de producción, en lógicas de consumo o en una combinación de ambas (Gotham, 2005;Lees et al., 2010); el lugar que ocupan las prácticas culturales de consumo simbólico, los estilos de vida urbana y la estandarización estética de la vida social (Jager, 1986;Ley, 2003), o su relación con la turistificación (Gotham, 2005), la studentification, la greentrification, la súper-gentrificación o la gentrificación comercial (Fresniillo, 2018;Lees et al., 2010) como expresiones particulares de la gentrificación o fenómenos con dinámicas urbanas propias. ...
... Given the rapid development of Austin, Texas, understanding the health impact of gentrification in East Austin for its LTRs is especially important, not only for academic research but also for developing appropriate urban management policies and public health interventions to improve the general well-being of the most vulnerable population. Theoretically, there is a direct link between gentrification and inequality, be it spatial, racial, social, or economic inequalities (Chapple, 2017;Cocola-Gant, 2019). However, how they directly or indirectly relate to the self-rated mental, physical, and overall health of residents in gentrifying neighborhoods have been understudied, notably in Austin, Texas. ...
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Association between neighborhood change and health exists in the literature with mixed evidence. This study examined the association between perceived gentrification and self-rated health—physical, mental, and general—in some selected neighborhoods experiencing gentrification in Austin, Texas. In this cross-sectional study, three hundred and forty (N = 340) current residents in East and Southeast Austin participated in a Neighborhood and Health Survey in summer 2020. We used a combination of quantitative techniques, including descriptive statistics, t-test, Pearson’s Chi-square, analysis of variance, and logistic regression to describe and assess various relationships between variables. Results show that perceived gentrification among community members reduced the report of high self-rated mental health but increased the report for self-rated physical health and general health. In addition, older residents in these gentrifying neighborhoods rated their mental health higher than middle-aged residents. However, access to socioeconomic resources served as a cushion to the impact of gentrification on self-rated health in the multivariate analysis. Thus, this study provides evidence that reinforces the importance of health impact assessment of urban renewal policy and its implication on the minorities’ well-being, particularly longtime residents.
... Gentrification is the transformation of a working class or an empty area into middle class residence or commercial region (Lees, Slater, & Wyly, 2013;Ye, Chen, Duan, & Yang, 2017). Critically gentrification also caused by public opinion which is constructed by capital owner, planner and policy maker, to think there are some elements needs to be evicted and removed from city's spaces (Cocola-Gant, 2019;Scott, 1999;Smith, 1979). Correlated with Lefebvre conception about the production of space, the condition can be reinterpreted as the inequality process of production of space. ...
Right to the city become one of essential point in New Urban Agenda discussion, as the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals which includes point 11 on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements. Right to the city is a concept which encloses political power, land ownership, and social justice within globalized cities which run into rapid change. Lefebvre describes the right to the city as people cry and demand a transformed and renewed urban life. Participation is seen as a basic right in the concept of the right to the city. This article drawing on a study case of relocation of Malioboro’s parking attendants. The relocation itself was one of the policies to revitalize tourism area along Malioboro street. In the process, there are some resistances from Malioboro’s parking attendants emerge as their concern on their sustainability after the relocation into the new place. Based on the field research, this article concludes that the process of participation that occurs does not meet up with parking attendants aspiration and the process is ruined by the government. Public participation is ineffective at the process and ruined as the government intervention in Malioboro parking attendants organization. The ineffectiveness of public participation is due to the logic of technocratic participation and the government's informal approach to some parking attendants.
... Consequently, due to its very flexible mechanism, the spatial concentration typical for the Airbnb phenomenon is slowly shifting a whole former multifunctional city center to a homogeneous tourism-oriented area [9]. According to the typical space limitation of the housing market, development of the short-term rental market leads to a change of property value as well as costs and quality of living that finally forces displacement of former residents [40]. Therefore, the ongoing touristification eventually results in the destruction of the local community. ...
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As a result of the Airbnb eruption, not only has the character of the short-term rental market been completely transformed, but the decades long growth in tourism has also been further accelerated. Therefore, due to the new demands of the tourism economy, the major shift in the usage of historic city centers occurred-the process of 'touristification', that results in the emergence of its new, unsustainable form. Despite the significance of those circumstances, there is a lack of any broader quantitative research that would present the dynamic of the Airbnb phenomenon. Therefore, thanks to the recognition of AirDNA data, such statistical analysis has become possible. The goal of this paper is to investigate the Airbnb's growth trajectories-data that bind together a market dimension of the growth in tourism and the community aspect of an urban change caused by its impact-from the perspective of its spatial distribution across Europe between 2014 and 2020. As a result, it was possible to follow the Airbnb phenomenon during its undisrupted period of growth-from its sudden eruption, further spread, and potential future after the COVID-19 outbreak-all together with its logarithmic character, concentration form, and momentum of already reached economic equilibrium.
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Guadalajara, la segunda ciudad más grande de México, ha devenido un archipiélago de fraccionamientos cerrados, sobre todo en la periferia, a donde se han desplazado, en progresivo aumento, prácticamente todos los estratos sociales. Ante este problema se advierte la necesidad de repoblar el centro de la ciudad, lo cual ha servido para justificar procesos de especulación inmobiliaria. La proyección de una "Villa Panamericana" en 2011 fue un punto de quiebre en la gentrificación del centro. Una combinación de oposición vecinal y desarreglos institucionales hicieron fracasar el proyecto, no sin que algunas zonas del centro se vieran afectadas por expropiaciones y destrucción de inmuebles. El proyecto fallido se ha reciclado ahora bajo la marca de la Ciudad Creativa Digital, reactivando en los vecinos el miedo a la expulsión. A partir de una investigación cualitativa con más de una decena de vecinos y activistas, este trabajo tiene como objetivo analizar el discurso cívico en defensa del territorio, muy crítico con los discursos institucionales que legitiman la transformación urbana de esta parte de la ciudad.
Conference Paper
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Washington DC is one of the gravely affected urban areas by social inequality and its effects. According to the Gini Index of the Population Reference Bureau, the District of Columbia carries an income inequality of 52.8%, the highest percentage within the United States. In this inquiry, we aim to uncover the diverse patterns of inequality and their potential interrelations with the urban form in the District of Columbia in three levels. (1) Mapping inequality: We diachronically map spatial data about land value, household income, race and ethnicity, school and healthcare accessibility and rating, crime data and Covid-19 data. (2) Analysing urban change: We compare and analyse specific areas of the district according to the changes that we track in the diachronic mapping and find potential depriving and decaying areas as well as gentrifying areas. (3) Relating to urban form: We attempt to make sense of these patterns of urban change by relating them to urban form on two levels by means of street network analysis where we analyse the closeness centrality (integration) of street segments and then compare the built form characteristics and urban density measures using Nolli maps. Through this methodology, we aim to reveal how social inequality and spatial segregation issues relate to urban form in the District of Columbia case.
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This paper traces the recent transformations that have taken place in the city of Bologna to critically redefine the meaning and scope of the changes related to commerce and consumption, and including the city’s more general practices and promotional rhetoric. It will show how, starting from the increase in tourism and the strategic planning and policies to render the city more attractive, the city has undergone a reconfiguration through important regeneration processes linked to food. It will highlight the limited range of political and economic values which, through new ways of regulating public space and access to consumption, have redefi ned the socio-spatial fabric of certain areas of the city. The processes described will trace a path for deconstructing the reductively optimistic way in which Bologna is being portrayed, which ends up producing forms of displacement and exclusion.
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Despite today's stronger awareness of the importance of adopting a sustainable approach to tourism management, many tourist destinations suffer from overtourism. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to shed light on this phenomenon, identifying its main risks and possible strategic solutions in urban tourist destinations. In particular, the thesis focuses on the case of Dublin, investigating whether clear evidence of overtourism problems may be found in the capital city and analysing the strategies implemented to face the challenge. To conduct the investigation, the diagnostic method created by McKinsey & WTTC (2017) to identify potential or existing risks of overtourism is applied to the Dublin case. Subsequently, in order to identify the strategies implemented, a detailed analysis of the national tourism policy, the regulation of short-term rentals, the plan for Ireland's brand repositioning and for the development of the destination's tourist offering is carried out. The results have revealed that some of the most common problems of overtourism can be found in Dublin city centre and in a few other hotspots in Ireland. In addition, the strategies implemented have proven to be congruent with what, according to the academic literature, are the best measures to be implemented to solve overtourism problems and foster sustainable tourism growth. Essentially, the approach to be adopted includes the exact combination of strategies to establish a balance between the economic, social and environmental impacts of the tourism phenomenon. The paper concludes that, on the condition that Ireland tourism authorities and local actors continue to work together to pursue ambitious growth goals for the sustainable develioment of tourism in the country, the case of Ireland is ultimately a model to be followed by other urban tourist destinations that are to face similar challenges.
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The expansion of accommodation establishments in an urban area might bring about a transformation to its commercial structure to meet tourists' needs. This can result in the loss of the area's identity, jeopardize its authenticity, and worsen the residents' quality of life. Yet, beyond some anecdotes which currently dominate the policy debate, no empirical evidence exists identifying which specific businesses abound around accommodation establishments. This paper proposes to fill this gap by estimating in Barcelona the degree to which each commercial sector appears to be geographically coagglomerated with the accommodation industry. Barcelona seems to be an appropriate case of study since it has already shown signs of the touristification of the commercial sector in neighborhoods that comprise most of the tourist accommodation offer. The results of this study allow identifying the particular commercial sectors that most and least coagglomerate with accommodation establishments; and show that tourism-oriented sectors tend to colocate with accommodation establishments, whereas residential-oriented ones do not follow this pattern. These results might help design policies aimed to preserve neighborhoods' identities and community resilience in tourist cities.
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In a context of increased distrust towards representative democracy, participatory budgeting (PB) stands out as one of the most successful democratic innovations of the last decades, although PB experiences and outcomes differ greatly worldwide. The city of Paris has launched in 2014 an ambitious PB experience of about 100 million euros per year, with a third of the budget dedicated to low-income neighbourhoods. Focusing on these areas, the study aims to investigate the potential of the Paris PB to address social inequalities and be inclusive of the most marginalized social groups. Findings indicate the need for several changes in the structure and implementation of the process, while the distribution of PB projects in low-income areas appears to be affected by their ongoing gentrification.
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Airbnb and other short-term rental services are a topic of increasing interest and concern for urban researchers, policymakers and activists, because of the fear that short-term rentals are facilitating gentrification. This article presents a framework for analyzing the relationship between short-term rentals and gentrification, an exploratory case study of New York City, and an agenda for future research. We argue that Airbnb has introduced a new potential revenue flow into housing markets which is systematic but geographically uneven, creating a new form of rent gap in culturally desirable and internationally recognizable neighbourhoods. This rent gap can emerge quickly—in advance of any declining property income— and requires minimal new capital to be exploited by a range of different housing actors, from developers to landlords, tenants and homeowners. Performing spatial analysis on three years of Airbnb activity in New York City, we measure new capital flows into the short- term rental market, identify neighbourhoods whose housing markets have already been significantly impacted by short-term, identify neighbourhoods which are increasingly under threat of Airbnb-induced gentrification, and measure the amount of rental housing lost to Airbnb. Finally, we conclude by offering a research agenda on gentrification and the sharing economy.
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In this paper, I explore the impacts of holiday rentals in the historic centre of Barcelona. The intention is to contribute towards a conceptualisation of this unexplored phenomenon with the aim of better understanding why it represents the new gentrification battlefront in several tourist destinations. I suggest that the rhetoric of the sharing economy conceals the fact that holiday rentals are actually a new business opportunity for investors, tourist companies and individual landlords and, for this reason, long-term residents represent a barrier to capital accumulation. I show that there is an increasing conversion of housing into accommodation for visitors and that such conversion involves different forms of displacement. Importantly, when residents move out, the only buyers tend to be tourist investors. In such a context, I suggest that the growth of vacation flats produces conditions that solely enable the reproduction of further accommodation for visitors, rather than for long-term residential use. I call this process 'collective displacement', that is to say, a substitution of residential life by tourism. Ultimately, throughout this paper I suggest the importance of undertaking critical research relevant to those experiencing urban inequalities. Documenting and producing data about the way in which displacement takes place can be a crucial political tool for those who are fighting for staying put.
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This article is a contribution to reinforcing our understanding of gentrification and displacement as neighborhood expressions of inequality. It explores the experiences of gentrification of lower-income, long-time residents in the gentrifying neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York City. The focus is on components of displacement beyond the traditional emphasis on outmigration. In particular, the article pinpoints the emotional, affective, psychological reactions of long-time residents triggered through the encounter with newcomers. While the entry point is the exploration of emotions and affects, the article argues that these feelings are outcomes of material socio-economic inequalities and, in particular, their powerfully racialized historical foundations, as embodied in the contemporary encounter of long-time residents with newcomers.
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This comprehensive book uses a rich array of case studies from cities in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Southern Europe and beyond to highlight the intensifying global struggle over urban space and underline gentrification as a growing and important battleground in the contemporary world.
Encouraging neighbourhood social mix has been a major goal of urban policy and planning in a number of different countries. This book draws together a range of case studies by international experts to assess the impacts of social mix policies and the degree to which they might represent gentrification by stealth. The contributions consider the range of social mix initiatives in different countries across the globe and their relationship to wider social, economic and urban change. The book combines understandings of social mix from the perspectives of researchers, policy makers and planners and the residents of the communities themselves. Mixed Communities also draws out more general lessons from these international comparisons - theoretically, empirically and for urban policy. It will be highly relevant for urban researchers and students, policy makers and practitioners alike.
Develops the 2 inter-related themes of accumulation and class struggle. The Marxist theory of accumulation views the role of investment in the built environment in the light of the internal contradictions of the accumulation process. Hence, investment in the built environment is seem as a response to the different forms of crisis which appear within the capitalist system. Then considers the issue of class struggle and how it influences investment in the built environment. Of particular interest is the manner in which class stuggle in the workplace is in part transformed, via the urbanization process, into struggles around the reproduction of labour in the living place. -from Editors