The Individual Geographies of Gentrification: between emancipation and conflict

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1 The Individual Geographies of Gentrification: between emancipation and conflict Dr Brian Doucet Assistant Professor of Urban Geography, Utrecht University Presentation to: Dynamiques démographiques bruxelloises 28 November 2014

2 The Future is Urban!!!!

3 The Future is Urban Ed Glaeser The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier Richard Florida: The Creative Class Cities will be the sites which solve many of society s greatest challenges! Economic growth Environmental sustainability Social mobility Transport congestion Innovation and creativity

4 London by the mid-70s was on its knees. Peeling, crumbling, falling apart. There was no way out. London: The Modern Babylon

5 The Future is Urban: a relatively new phenomenon 1977 World Series The Bronx is Burning!

6 The Revival of Cities Deindustrialisation Closure of factories, reductions in pollution Rise of service sector Finance, education, creative (located in cities) Changing preferences Boredom in the suburbs, excitement in the city! Changing policies Cities as economic engines of growth Changing transport Desire to reduce travel times

7 The Celebrated City









16 When in doubt of what this city looks like Think Jane Jacobs!

17 This is what urban residents want This is what developers want to build This is what local governments try to promote But...

18 What kind of city does this produce? There are very nice, liveable, prosperous places, with walkable neighbourhoods, diversity, historic preservation etc. etc. etc. There is a Geography to this! Not all places look like that Not everyone can live there Increasingly rich core Rising poverty in the suburbs A more polarised population, labour force, neighbourhood structure

19 The Gentrification of the (inner-) City The most politically-loaded word in human geography (Davidson and Lees, 2005) Ruth Glass class transformation through individual households Neil Smith class remake of the central urban landscape The production of affluent space no longer seen as just households Governments, developers, housing associations

20 Gentrification The biggest force affecting urban neighbourhoods But also a product of the wider political and economic context Gentrification in the Netherlands is different than in Belgium Gentrification in Charleroi is different than in Brussels Not just old working-class houses New build developments, flagships, adaptive re-use Upward class transformation Implies some form of displacement Often ignored by those who make the city So listening to those who live through it is important!

21 The Global Gentrification Landscape






27 The Gentrified City Seen as: Successful Prosperous Sustainable Creative These are the spaces we are producing and aspiring to produce in cities This is the Urban Renaissance This is the Urban Future

28 The Challenge Is to produce the types of cities that are both economically vibrant, prosperous, healthy places to be and cities which are inclusive to everyone who wants to live, work and play there. Otherwise the economic, social, cultural and health benefits of urban life will be increasingly accessible to fewer and fewer people. This will limit the ability of cities to be the sites which offer real solutions to society s great challenges.

29 Neighbourhood change Understanding neighbourhood change is key to unlocking cities potential as socially inclusive solutions Dynamics and production of neighbourhood change Governance of neighbourhood change Geography of neighbourhood change Experience of neighbourhood change

30 The Experiences of Gentrification My purpose here is to point out that there is next to nothing published on the experiences of nongentrifying groups living in the neighbourhoods into which the much-researched cosmopolitan middle classes are arriving en masse. (Slater, 2006, p. 743) Our trio of case studies leads us to strongly endorse recent calls for critical gentrification researchers to pay more attention to how the power geometries of the latest incarnations of social mix will play out between the different groups in public space. (Rose et al., 2013, p. 447

31 Two case studies Indische Buurt in Amsterdam Afrikaanderwijk in Rotterdam

32 The Context of the Netherlands Gentrification doesn t just happen Netherlands Van Bouwen voor de buurt naar bouwen voor de stad From Building for the neighbourhood to building for the city But gentrification is milder than in other countries (UK, US)

33 Indische Buurt, Amsterdam Built early 20 th Century Lower-middle class 1960s/70s suburbanisation of (middle-class) Dutch Arrival of immigrants 2/3 of population 1 st or 2 nd generation Housing stock: 20% owned, 70% social rent, 10% private rent Gentrification in recent years (NW quadrant) Housing and amenities

34 Methods Semi-structured interviews with patrons of bruincafés in the Indische Buurt Gathering places for working-class Dutch Places under threat of displacement? 22 interviews Supported by interviews with pub owners 4 pubs One of which has subsequently closed






40 Changes in the Neighbourood Improvements to housing stock and public space seen as tangible benefits New restaurants and amenities contribute to the bustle of the neighbourhood Change from vague Turkish restaurant to something nice and open, that I would visit without a doubt. If foreign establishments become more up market and cater to middle-class tastes they were appreciated by our non-middle-class Dutch respondents

41 Changes in the Neighbourood Changing demographics Presence of immigrants Arrival of new Dutch people 3 groups in the neighbourhood Dutch working-class Immigrants and ethnic groups Dutch middle-class gentrifiers

42 I hear people say: the neighbourhood is going to be upgraded, more yuppies moving in, people who have higher salaries and who do not belong to the original population. Those are people, just like immigrants, who do not participate in the neighbourhood and who do not have a connection to people from the neighbourhood. They feel more distant.

43 Changes in the role of pubs in the neighbourhood Gentrifiers: a nice place to spend some time Working-class: a vital element of their daily lives Stimulate social cohesion in the Indische Buurt

44 Changes in the role of pubs in the neighbourhood My roots are here and I find them in the pub. I feel that in everything, in my fibres. This typical Amsterdam humour, people from Amsterdam always make fun of each other. Here I can handle it; here I feel it. Here I know it, you also know exactly what you can tell to a person or not. I really like that. It is also a bit of the old, familiar feeling. In a changing neighbourhood, the local pub represents one of the last bastions of the old, working-class community

45 Changing social interactions within the pub Welcome gentrifiers if they accept the norms of the pub Are they searching for authenticity? If the pub owner is dancing on the table, these yuppies find it brilliant The yuppies are a bit fed up with these fancy, but cold, sterile pubs. But at least the groups [of yuppies] that come here always say: you do not see this type of real brown pub that often anymore

46 Changing social interactions within the pub People who buy a house, I do not expect them to come here [to this pub], no I think their social networks are very different You will never see them in a pub here or in the Dapperbuurt. Their network is probably not in this neighbourhood either this all goes very smoothly, they just are going to sit in a corner of the pub. Very cosy, after all Amsterdam stands for freedom, liberty, that is what you notice, also in this pub. You can do whatever you want, foreigners are welcome as well, of course. Note that foreigners refers to tourists, not immigrants Less openness towards immigrants

47 Afrikaanderwijk in Rotterdam 19 th Century southern expansion of Rotterdam Dockworkers and port activities Mid 20 th Century port moved west Neighbourhoods declined Urban renewal 1970s/80s Today over 80% non-western 3500 inhabitants Average household income: 23,500; Rotterdam 29,300

48 The Afrikaanderwijk Current Transformations Attract well-educated, double income families Done through built environment Some displacement, though much social housing retained Those who live through the process focus of our study

49 Rotterdam Improvements to housing stock Increase of owner occupied housing Rich city with poor people Attract more affluent people to the city in general, Rotterdam South specifically Municipality, housing associations, developers leading this transformation State-led gentrification

50 What about the residents who stay put? Literature: loss of friends, family, amenities, community. New amenities not for us Research with Daphne Koenders: two themes How changes in the neighbourhood affect perceptions towards Amenities Place Attachment

51 Hope Hope that the neighbourhood will improve Physical, economic Many saw their neighbourhood as a problem area (achterstandswijk) Hope that Dutch people will return to the Afrikaanderwijk Expressed by Dutch and non-dutch I see that the Dutch are coming back to the Afrikaanderwijk. I think that s great. First it was a ghetto, where only foreigners lived. Where were all the Dutch people? They had moved to the suburbs and now they are coming back. I think that s good, diversity in society. Hussam

52 Amenity Change Many squares and public spaces remain the same Not taken over by gentrifiers Few businesses have left (yet) Pride in the new stores and businesses that have arrived

53 Amenities Not for us I can t afford to go there Everything is new and attractive. But even a sample is not affordable. but seen as important for the area You can t have an amenity for all inhabitants, a bit of variety is good If you have six call centres (belwinkels) in one place that isn t a good impression for the neighbourhood. This is more unique, for the new people here and maybe it even brings in people from the rest of Rotterdam.

54 Place Attachment Our respondents indicate that they are more attached to the neighbourhood They see the area getting better No real loss of amenities A lot is expected from the gentrifiers

55 Ethnicity of Class change? Respondents (Dutch and non-dutch) experience this as ethnic, rather than class change You re seen as Turk, Moroccan, Surinamese, Eastern European or Dutch first and social status is less important They build these new houses and there are only Turks living in them. We are not going to improve like that. Ria

56 Conclusions We live in an age of cities And that s a good thing Challenge is to ensure that everyone can benefit from this Socially inclusive cities Housing, employment, sustainability, amenities Understanding the experiences of ordinary residents is central to analysing the effects of neighbourhood change

57 Gentrification often seen as a threat OR an improvement to the neighbourood Our respondents see both More nuanced not so black/white Many benefits of gentrification enjoyed by all residents Increased amenities, safety, public space These will only be temporary if residents/businesses get displaced We see gentrification as a class transformation, many residents see it as an ethnic change (Dutch returning)

58 Policy recommendations Provision for housing to ensure that residents can remain in the area to enjoy benefits of neighbourhood improvement Strong social or not-for-profit housing Many respondents not under immediate threat of displacement Neighbourhood improvement without displacement should be the ultimate goal Policies to encourage mix of amenities Amenities important for place identity, community, stability Listen to people who live in these places

59 Thanks!