L 24 Gentrification

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  • Created on: 31-05-17 18:07

Key concepts in human geography

- the process of becoming obsolute, outdated.. no longer used  e.g. computers are becoming outdated

- the state or process of falling into decay or being in decay - 'the mill was in a state of dilapidation'

-  again or new

- the process of renovating and improving a house or district so it conforms to middle-class tastes

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Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the lecture you would be able to:

understand the origin of ‘gentrification’

appreciate underpinning ‘processes

Identify outcomes – winners and losers

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Bob Lupton Explaining Gentrification

returning of the wealthy- people with money to buy homes, rents go up, new rules- people move out. 

Gentrification comes from the OE word gentry - the landed gentry - the folks who owned the land in the 1500s. the masses were under the lordship of whoever owned it.

The gentry were the lords of their lands, everything that was produced, the crops, proceeds went to benefit the gentry and the poor remained poor. 

Gentry were the ruling class.

People started moving to the cities for jobs in factories- money shifted off the land into industry- the gentry started to decline and died out- the industrialists won the day, that is where the money shifted.

The gentry disappeared until this moment in history recoined  - gentrification- the return of landowners into the city and it is changing everything.

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Ruth Glass Explaining Gentrification

… referring to the alterations she observed in the social structure and housing markets in certain areas of inner London, Ruth Glass wrote in 1964:

One by one, many of the working class quarters have been invaded by the middle class - upper and lower ... Once this process of 'gentrification' starts in a district it goes on rapidly until all or most of the working class occupiers are displaced and the whole social character of the district is changed

Ruth Glass, 1964

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Underpinning processes

Two concepts:

•Obsolescence (fall of exchange value)
- obsolescence means the same stuff is no longer worth the same
- e.g. if you sell it in market it wont give you a lot of money
traded- market terms

•Dilapidation (decrease in the use value)
Same person using it but it does not give you the same satisfaction, do the job properly
concerned with use

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Obsolescence (fall of exchange value)

oConcentrates on where potential return on investment is greater

oAn outcome of creation of market inceptives to attract (globalised) financial capitals?

An industrial area has become obsolete
- obsolescence has phenomenan of linking to market/globalisation

used in fashion ndustry too, where nylon stockings for example seen as outdated.... used for computer software, encourage consumers to buy new products to stay updated.. consumerism... this is called planned obsolescence

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Dilapidation (decrease in the use value)

oMore commonly by deliberate (in)action by the property-owners (or market actors) oLess commonly – by changes in preference for a particular building style or aesthetic tastes oRarely (but does happen) – in response to disasters deliberate, sometimes it happens by delibarate neglect- efficient heating- old way o fliving no longer valued. cultural shift can lead to dilapidation element  

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Underpinning processes


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Let’s take the Salford Quays Example

Timeline of gentrification 

Manchester grew rapidly, thanks to Lancashire’s cotton textile industries
- gentrification- a lot of activity going on

Manchester Cottonopolis
manchester eventually became a cottonopolis - but it started  decling 20th century

1970 - Business began to decline, unemployment became a major problem
- obsolecense, delapidation 

1984- Doc closed, redevelopment (gentrification?) process began

1990- The dilapidated city is transformed

Whole area been transformed bbc mediacity- upmarket

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Some other examples

Liverpool waters, liverpool dock has had similar transformation, global product, global actors funding coming from other sources.

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Manchester’s response to a disaster (IRA bombing)

Arndale centre- nice shopping area

after this bombing there was an opportunity to change the landscape of an area, it was redesigned - one of the most enjoyable markets of the city area to visit.

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Not-so-good’ side of gentrification

Economic problems of Gentrification

High economic cost – ‘gamble’

Public money, but also less secure private investment

Boom and bust

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Economic problems of Gentrification


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Social problems of gentrification

Direct: compulsory purchase orders, eviction/non-renewal of tenancy agreements
Salford negotiation, developers needed government's support to buy house
Rio Olympic- this big event leads to these situations 
Imagie having their own home little garden vs living somewhere else knock-on effect 

Indirect: rising cost of rent/house prices due to increased desirability of area
Same person who has to leave cannot live in this area, have to move out, break social ties that have developed.

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Other issues

Access to services

If demographics of area change so will services provided – schools, GPs, libraries
- Decline in quality of services- reduced QoL 
- no longer have bargain shops- upmarket shops come M&S- 
Services become upmarket and unaffordable
•Independent businesses lose out to chains

- Private businesses come- monopoly  
-little butchers, food shop taken out by arrival of chain
- gentrification changes area 
- public space is redesigned, buggies

Sense of community

•Community spirit  - sense of community is lost- community split 
•Also community provision of voluntary or informal services and welfare
- In  a tightly-knit community there would have been one person shopping for others, these things are no longer happening.

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Gentrification of Sesame street

become different play area for kid
now it is yoga bleh
what things have been discussed here
very famous documentation -  a lot of videos produced
Sesame street what was before, cricket, football now it has become a different play area

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Anti-Gentrification (1)

Socialist – class/race war?

There is resistence to gentrification, this social resistence how it takes place. 
Gentrification drives colour out of communities 
can affect working class and race who are driven out of the area as part of gentrification
They want us to leave but we are here to stay
History movement 
very rarely people go without a fight.
But ultimately money wins the fight - big corporations money goes in their favour 

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Anti-Gentrification - 2


Part of ‘authenticity’ or Localisation movement.

Maintaining independence of area

Maintaining community and mixed neighbourhoods.

Some other issues - language used, communities before corporations
how do we protect the cornr shop? local market
authenticity- kicking out communities within communities
Community is resisting all of these plans,
the local community when they are consulted they do not accept.

Perhaps some of the changes are attracted to the younger lifestlye, but the older generation like the community bonds. 

Some of the arguments against gentrification are this- maintaining independence of area authenticity, maintaining community and mixed neighbourhood. 

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- Think about gentrification as a process – obsolescence, dilapidation and re-appreciation

Gentrification is a process it does not occur everywhere. it occurs where there is obslecense, delapidation, where there is interest into investment. has to be in certain places where certain investors/government are interested. 

- Appreciate diverse outcomes: who wins (globalised market agents), who loses (communities, the original settlers)
You need big players who can ultimately drive the city's economy, 
a balance must be struck what is the protection, what can you do for those who are likely to be affected by gentrification 

- Ask the tricky question:  Is gentrification really bad? When can it be good?Can we make gentrification work? what conditions? The aftermath of gentrification is affecting communities, how can we safeguard these things- give preference to local shops to stay? Mumbai- rehouse these people within 75% of the area then you can have 25% of the area where you can build stuff. Can there be this sort of negotiation- how can you protect those

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paper- graph link reading explanation of diagram 

four readings 
listed in reading list 

nature of gentrification 

Sheppard, S. (not dated). Why Gentrification a Problem? Available at: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/ArtsEcon/library/pdfs/WhyIsGentrificationAProbREFORM.pdf

This lecture is a starting point, foundations important for all contexts

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Gentirification reading (Bridge et al 2000)

Gentrification first identified by Ruth Glass in London in the 1960s. she identified gentrification as a complex process involving phyiscal improvements of the housing stock, housing tenure change from renting to owning, price rises and the displacement of the existing working-class population by the middle classes.

extent of gentrified areas in cities such as New York, London and Paris grdually expanding- pushing steadily outwards into solidly working-class or minority areas, such as, Hackney in London.
idea of rural gentrification well established as middle classes have moved into attractive rural villages or small towns permanently or as second home owners.

Neil Smith 1979 sees gentrification in terms of the emergence of a growing 'rent gap' between the current value of property on a site and the underlying value of the land. 
in his view suburbanization and subsequent inner-city decline leads to the existence of devalued inner-city property on potentially valuable land which opens up the potential for profitable reinvestment. 
Neil Smith 1979 'the need to earn profit is a more decisive iniative behind gentrification than consumer preference'

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Gentrification is not an inevitabe consequence of a rent gap but primarily as a result of the continuing economic transformation of major Western cities from manfacturing centres to centres of business, creative, and cultural services. 

Gentrification is a major component of the transition from industrial to postindustrial cities. (Bedcock 1995) 
To significiant extent, postindustrial middle class has replaced the industrial working class from desirably inner-city areas where the financial and business/financial sector has grown rapidly.

Gentrification phenomenon of the late 20thC posindustrial service-based city 
gentrification not simply class/income phenomenon - crucially linked to new set cultural & residential preferences. 

What was required to underpin large-scale gentrification was fundamental change in the economic base& occupational structure of cities- shift from industrial to postincdustrial of service-based industries. 

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 Decline in working class size & sharp increase in number + proportion of professional, managerial and technical groups: so-called 'new middle class.'

Would seem that Bell (1973) right in asserting that postindustrialism has created a postindustrial society wit a diff occupational class structure, cultural characteristics & aspirations.

Geography of postindustrial society not even, transition has only been marked in small number of major cities- global or world cities (20 yrs ago). 

Evidence for paris shows white-collar workers shrunk, manual labourers shrunk- service workers increased. RESULT: More professionalised clas structure than traditional industrial city.

Not just poor working class being displaced- argument that to some extend some of the new working class been forced out of desirable gentrified inner-city areas and forced to live further out (crisis migration) with affordable prices - London. Amsterdam, Paris.

Gentrifiers characteristed by distinctive number dual-career households by high female activity- live in inner-city areas ease of access workplace and chilcare arrangements more manageable

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Gender postindustrial society

Warde argues tthat a change in gender relations central defining characteristic of gentrification and is more important than class.

Rise in number of women working in professional&managerial jobs allied with increase in dual-career households, big significance.
part of the transition from a male-dominated industrial society to a more female postindustrial society.

Gender roles shift in postindustria society

emancipation of women? 

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Conclusion (Bridge et al 2000)

dubious to extent of the rent gap being a principle driver  of gentrification.

supply & demand leads to gentrification. 
without demand from expanding postindustrial service class gentrification unlikely to take place.
WHY there are large derelict inner-city areas in some American & European industrial cities.

a developed rent gap may only be characteristic of cities which have a large, growing middle-class workforce.

Smith developed rent gap thesis as explanation - individual choice & preference- gentrification
BUT explanation based on structure urban property & rental markets only considers two factors.

Argue that.. focus on earning structures of capitalist cities, combined with changes in the educational, gender and cultural composition of the expanded urban middle is likely to be of the same signifiance as the rent gap thesis.

Need a synergistic approach at looking at the drivers of postindustrialisation - cultura, industrial and occupational structure changes- comprehensive understanding. 

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Nature as a tool of social power. (Bryson 2013)

Gentrification the class remake of the central urban landscape (Smith 1996) one of most important processes reshaping contemporary cities.

economic strategy- gentrification reinvests capital into deinvested areas to exploit rent gap between actual and potential ground rent.

gentirfied landscape US: collection trendy bars& cafes, refurbished luxury lofts, upscale boutiques & other classes middle-class consumption. 

Accounting of visible scene not complete- ignores urban natural environment - bricks and motor landscape of gentrification - street trees parks, other green spaces - manicured landscaping.

nature can be used as tool of social power in the gentrification process & can be a dynamic actor that shapes how gentrification unfolds. 

Protecting urban ecosystems or manipulating physical nature are powerful ecological acts that can transform power dynamics within a city. 

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ecological gentrification

Powerful groups can use the natural environment as a tool in the gentrification process.

Sarah Dooling defines 'ecological gentrification' as the uneven distribution of benefits associated with a planning effort driven by ecological agendas or environmental ethics
(Dooliing and Simon 2014)

These environmental agendas create and maintain urban parks so that they exclude the city's most vulnerable populations.

urban greenspace apparently universally beneficial ends up being a tool that powerful groups use to redevelop the city.

elite workers demand environmental services from their cities - river walks, landscaped plazas - landscape aesthetic SOME researchers argued 'urban entrepreneurialism itself might depend on the active remaking of urban environments and ecologies' White et al 2004

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Coeur d'Alene Idaho Lake view

Coeur d'Alene Idaho's lake view 

Idaho's lake view portection ordinances- urban environment managed to assist urban entrepreneurial impulse in attracting high-end development. 

'gentrification recast as +ive & necessary environmental strategy'

  • local developer explained why so many high rises in the small city
  • 'Views. the higher you go the more expensive it is.. view is spectacular and people willing to pay for it' 
  •  Coeur d'Alene boasts more than a half dozen buildings between 7-23 stories.
  • Lake views increase property values
  • Viewed as quality-of-life city
  • Widened sidewalks encourage strolling 
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Using natural environment to promote gentrification asumed humans have all the power in the nature-society relationship and that the evironment is simply a passive backdrop in urban gentrification. 

- nature not an actor, acted upon by humans 
- However nature is "more than a passive recipient, it is dynamic, sets boundaries & penalties' 

nature matters in gentrification processes 

brief exampleof the brownelds to green space redevelopment trend - illustrates how urban environment functions as actor - gentrification process

low-income residents indirectly displaced by brownfields remediation because can no longer afford housing in an area where they once could have. 

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Conclusion - (Bryson, 2013)

more careful attention to nature's role in gentrification process important 

by paying careful attention to nature of gentrification scholars understand better social and physical processes - occur - when gentrification happens 

e.g. a park, remediated brownfield site, community garde or after environmental disaster 

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