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Social Mixing & Revitalization

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Bailey, N., Besemer, K., Bramley, G., Livingston, M. (2015). How Neighbourhood Social Mix Shapes Access to Resources from Social Networks and from Services. Housing Studies, 30(2), 295-314.

Abstract: Social mix policies have become controversial. Claims about the harms caused by neighbourhood effects have been challenged while counter-claims have been made about the potential benefits for low-income households from living in poor communities. This paper examines two aspects of this debate: whether deprived communities provide greater access to social networks and hence resources in the form of gifts, and whether they provide worse access to resources in the form of services. Data come from the largest survey of poverty ever conducted in the UK—the Poverty and Social Exclusion UK Survey 2012. Results do not support either position in the debate. They do not suggest that access to services is worse in deprived neighbourhoods for all services, but only for a minority. While people in deprived neighbourhoods report marginally greater contact with family and slightly higher levels of social support, there is no evidence of greater levels of exchange of gifts or reciprocity through social networks. 

Keywords: Social mix, neighbourhood effects, poverty, social network, public services, private services

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2011 to 2015

Community

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Butcher, M., and Dickens, L. (2016). Spatial Dislocation and Affective Displacement: Youth   Perspectives on Gentrification in London. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 40(4), 800-816.

Abstract: Analyses of contemporary processes of gentrification have been primarily produced from adult perspectives with little focus on how age affects or mediates urban change. However, in analysing young people’s responses to transformations in their neighbourhood we argue that there is evidence for a more complex relationship between ‘gentrifiers’ and residents than existing arguments of antagonism or tolerance would suggest. Using a participatory video methodology to document experiences of gentrification in the east London borough of Hackney, we found that young people involved in this study experienced their transforming city through processes of spatial dislocation and affective displacement. The former incorporated a sense of disorientation in the temporal disjunctions of the speed of change, while the latter invoked the embodiment of a sense of not belonging generated within classed and intercultural interactions. However, there are expressions of ambivalence rather than straightforward rejection. Benefits of gentrification were noted, including conditions of alterity and the possibility to transcend normative behaviours that they found uncomfortable. Young people demonstrated the capacity to reimagine their relationship with the complex spaces they call home. The findings suggest a need to reframe debates on gentrification to include a more nuanced understanding of its differential impact on young people.

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2016 to 2020

Housing & Gentrification 

Identity & Belonging

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Epstein, G. (2017). A kinder, gentler gentrification: a racial identity, social mix and multiculturalism in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood. Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 24(6), 707-726.

Abstract: This paper intervenes on the contemporary Canadian discourse that equates bourgeois self-making practices of progressive urban subjects with moves towards genuine spatial justice. Emerging from a three-year project assessing gentrification Toronto’s Parkdale neighborhood, the author probes the dissonance between the triumphalist rhetoric circulated by an anti-gentrification elite and the lived realities of displacement and violence in poor, racialized and mad communities. Using ethnographic observation and analysis of extensive interview data, this paper suggests that the ideas of inclusive urban development often rely on the ejection of intolerable bodies from the sphere of urban life and the simultaneous exaltation of ‘enlightened’ middle-class subjects as the authors and protagonists of social change. Yearning for a better future, this paper functions as a cautionary tale, a warning that so long as race and gender remain secondary sites of investigation and action, work for urban emancipation will reinforce those systems of domination it hopes to oppose.

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2016 to 2020

Housing & Gentrification 

Identity & Belonging

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Jackson, E., and Butler, T. (2014). Revisiting ‘social tectonics’: The middle classes and social mix in gentrifying neighbourhoods. Urban Studies, 52(13), 2349-2365.

Abstract: Studies of gentrification in London have shown that some groups of middle-class people have been attracted to poor and multi-ethnic areas of inner London in part because of their social and ethnic mix. However, the attraction has often not translated into everyday interaction. In an earlier account of gentrification in Brixton this de facto social segregation was typified as a process of ‘social tectonics’. In this paper we compare two ethnically and socially mixed neighbourhoods, Peckham and Brixton, that at different times have represented the ‘front line’ of gentrification in London. We examine the extent to which the gentrification of Brixton in the late 1990s is being mirrored by the gentrification that is occurring today in Peckham – a similarly mixed and counter-cultural area of South London. Whilst we identify continuities between the gentrification process in these two areas separated by a decade of boom and recession, we suggest that the Peckham example demonstrates the need for a more developed approach to the issue of social mixing than that implied by the social tectonics metaphor. Specifically, we argue that there is a need to explain how the presence of classed and ethnic ‘others’ can be central to the formation of identities within some middle-class fractions in such enclaves in the inner city, and how attitudes and neighbourhood practices can change over time.

Keywords: class, gentrification, London, middle classes, neighbourhood

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2011 to 2015

Housing & Gentrification 

Identity & Belonging

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Lees, L. (2008). Gentrification and Social Mixing: Towards an Inclusive Urban Renaissance? Urban Studies, 45(12), 2449-2470. 

Abstract: Nearly 30 years ago now, Holcomb and Beauregard were critical of the way that it was assumed that the benefits of gentrification would ‘trickle down’ to the lower classes in a manner similar to that hypothesised in the housing market. Nevertheless, despite fierce academic debate about whether or not gentrification leads to displacement, segregation and social polarisation, it is increasingly promoted in policy circles both in Europe and North America on the assumption that it will lead to less segregated and more sustainable communities. Yet there is a poor evidence base for this policy of ‘positive gentrification’—for, as the gentrification literature tells us, despite the new middle classes’ desire for diversity and difference they tend to self-segregate and, far from being tolerant, gentrification is part of an aggressive, revanchist ideology designed to retake the inner city for the middle classes. In light of this, it is argued that these new policies of social mixing require critical attention with regard to their ability to produce an inclusive urban renaissance and the potentially detrimental gentrifying effects they may inflict on the communities they intend to help.

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2006 to 2010

Housing & Gentrification 

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Roberts, D. and Catungal, J.P. (2017). Neoliberalizing Social Justice in Infrastructure Revitalization Planning: Analyzing Toronto’s More Moss Park Project in Its Early Stages. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108(2), 454-462.

Abstract: A public consultation process is currently underway to gather ideas on the revitalization of a park and community center in one of Toronto’s most economically diverse neighborhoods. This project is a partnership between a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)-focused community center, a private philanthropist, and the City of Toronto. In this article, we argue that More Moss Park is illustrative of the neoliberalization of social justice, in which social justice is touted as central to both the end goal of the project and the planning process that will shape it. We focus on three political moves that underwrite the neoliberalization of social justice in the project. The first is the technicalization of social justice as “know-how,” a form of expertise that one of the main partners claims to have gained via its history of working for sexual minority communities and that it claims to be able to offer in other sociospatial contexts. The second is the normalization of an anonymous private donor as a necessary “silent” partner in urban development whose foremost concern is social justice in the form of neighborhood improvements for marginalized communities. The third is the use of crises of neighborhood insecurity and of budget shortfalls as planning problems whose solutions rest on the suspension of normal planning approaches, thus justifying the use of a public–private partnership. These moves illustrate the ways in which social justice has become neoliberalized not only through narrowing its scope but also through using it as ideological armature to mask marginalizations emerging from urban neoliberalism itself. 

Keywords: homonormativity, LGBT, public–private partnership, social justice, urban planning.

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2016 to 2020

Housing & Gentrification 

Planning

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Rose, D. (2004). Discourses and Experiences of Social Mix in Gentrifying Neighbourhoods: A Montréal Case Study. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 13(2), 278-316.

Abstract: The discourse of urban policy targeted to revitalization of inner cities is increasingly marked by advocacy of 'social mix' or 'tenure mix' at the neighbourhood scale. After reviewing the various urban policy contexts concerned, and the findings of pertinent scholarly research, this paper addresses a particularly slippery area of social mix discourse - that concerning the gentrification of inner city neighbourhoods. Existing literature leaves unanswered questions about the actual experiences of social diversity in such contexts. Findings based on research in Montréal are then presented, based on 49 qualitative interviews with one particular category of 'gentrifiers' - purchasers of condominiums developed between 1995 and 1998 as small-scale infill development, with the assistance of municipal programs designed to help 'repopulate' the city. With respect to their viewpoints on social class diversity and social and affordable housing (actual and potential) in their neighbourhood, interviewees fell broadly within one of four sub-groups: the 'ignorant/indifférents', the 'Nimbies', the 'tolerants' and the 'egalitarians'. Findings are compared with expectations based on previous research, and we reflect briefly on their implications in the current context where there are signs of revival of social and affordable housing initiatives after a long hiatus.

Keywords: gentrification, social mix, social diversity, infill development, condominiums, municipal housing policy, Montréal

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2001 to 2005 

Housing & Gentrification 

Identity & Belonging

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Rose, D., Germain, A., Bacqué, G., Bridge, G., Fijalkow, Y., and Slater, T. (2012). ‘Social Mix’  and Neighbourhood Revitalization in a Transatlantic Perspective: Comparing Local Policy Discourses and Expectations in Paris (France, Bristol (UK), and Montréal (Canada). International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37(2), 430-450.

Abstract: The longstanding debate around the merits of promoting social class mix in urban neighbourhoods has taken a new twist in recent times. A transatlantic and neoliberal convergence of policy advice, supported by the ‘neighbourhood effects’ thesis, makes a case for addressing deep poverty by spatially deconcentrating it, inter alia, by gentrification. While developing trenchant critiques of this approach, critical urban scholarship has tended to take a ‘top-down’ view of urban neoliberalism, giving insufficient consideration to the agency of local governance actors in policy design and implementation, as well as to differences in national and local reference points with regard to what social mix connotes. We present findings of a comparative study of the meanings and effects attributed to social mix by key local policy actors across three ‘distressed’ neighbourhoods: in inner-city Paris (France), Bristol (UK) and Montréal (Canada), targeted for neighbourhood revitalization involving planned residential social mix in two cases and diversification of local retailing and its consumer base in all three. We find that while local actors’ rationales for social mix do reflect a neoliberal turn, this is not embraced unequivocally and a strong home-grown element, drawing on national or local ‘myths’, persists. Our study sheds light on the expectations that local policy actors have on the incoming middle classes to make the mix ‘work’ by supporting community; pointing to the paradoxes and limitations of such a perspective.

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2011 to 2015

Housing & Gentrification 

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Shaw, K.S., and Hagemans, I.W. (2015). ‘Gentrification Without Displacement’ and the   Consequent Loss of Place: The Effects of Class Transition on Low-Income Residents of    Secure Housing in Gentrifying Areas. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39(2), 323-341.

Abstract: The increasingly disputed concept of gentrification-induced displacement is combining with the argument that the poor benefit from social mix to produce a theoretical case for ‘positive gentrification’. The notion that new middle-class residents not only attract more investment but bring opportunities for ‘upward social mobility’ to low-income people who manage to stay in gentrifying areas has become policy orthodoxy. While there are scholarly challenges to the extent of these benefits, the disadvantages of imposed social mix on low-income communities even where they are not physically displaced remain under-researched. This article helps to fill this gap by reporting on research into the experience of long-term low-income residents of gentrifying neighbourhoods who managed to stay put. The research explores notions of social mix, place and displacement among residents of secure community housing in Melbourne, Australia (the equivalent of small-scale social housing in Europe and North America) with the object of establishing whether the absence of physical displacement is sufficient to ameliorate gentrification’s negative impacts. The findings demonstrate that transformations in shops and meeting places, and in the nature of local social structure and government interventions, cause a sense of loss of place even without physical displacement.

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2011 to 2015

Housing & Gentrification 

Identity & Belonging

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Walks, A.R., and Maaranen, R. (2008). Gentrification, Social Mix, and Social Polarization: Testing the Linkages in Large Canadian Cities. Urban Geography, 29(4), 293-326.

Abstract: Gentrification in the form of “neighborhood revitalization” is increasingly touted as one way of decreasing the social exclusion of residents of poor inner-city neighborhoods and of increasing levels of social mix and social interaction between different classes and ethnic groups. Yet the gentrification literature also suggests that the process may lead to increased social conflict, displacement of poorer residents to lower quality housing elsewhere, and, ultimately, social polarization. Much of this hinges on whether gentrifying neighborhoods can remain socially mixed, and whether neighborhood compositional changes result in more or less of a polarized class and ethnic structure. However, the impact of revitalization and gentrification on levels of social mix, income polarization, or ethnic diversity within neighborhoods remains unclear and under-explored. This study addresses this gap by examining the relationship between the timing of gentrification, changes in the income structure, and shifts in immigrant concentration and ethnic diversity, using census tract data for each decade from 1971 to 2001 in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. This research demonstrates that gentrification is followed by declining, rather than improving, levels of social mix, ethnic diversity, and immigrant concentration within affected neighborhoods. At the same time, gentrification is implicated in the growth of neighborhood income polarization and inequality.

Keywords: neighborhoods, income inequality, ethnic diversity, immigration, immigrant settlement, inner cities, Canada.

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2006 to 2010

Housing & Gentrification 

Social Mixing & Redevelopment 

Academic Literature
Social Mixing & Revitalization