Back to Urban Regeneration

Prevent Gentrification

Gentrification is the unit-by-unit acquisition of the housing of low-income residents, industrial or commercial property by high-income residents, art, cultural, fashion or other high-status use.

The phases of gentrification have not been categorised by systematic research, but it seems that art and culture are prominent in the first phase. The first art gallery in a working-class neighbourhood is a classic sign of imminent gentrification. Later these activities, and the associated population, may themselves be displaced by an older high-income population and by office uses.

The Ethics of Gentrification

Gentrification is not a normal market phenomenon, and it is not normal in historical perspective. Displacement means force. It means harassment, and violence, especially of tenants.  By initiating gentrification, gentrifiers create the potential for landlords to displace tenants.

The ethics of gentrification are primarily about displacement, but not entirely. There are also non-displacement issues:

bulletGentrification creates right-wing upper-middle-class concentrations - electorally and socially.
bulletIn recent gentrifications, there is a conscious attempt to "upgrade" the population.
bulletThe arrival of the rich destroys much of the infrastructure, which the poor rely on, to live cheaply.
bulletThe social mix argument is especially fraudulent, because there is no attempt to re-house the poor in the rich suburbs.
bulletGentrification reduces the cheaper housing stock, which ultimately forces the poor into more expensive housing - reducing their real income.
bulletIn older stock, gentrification involves the combination of small rental units, into larger units for sale thus reducing housing stock and pushing up prices.
bulletThe constant pressure to move into more expensive housing is a form of forced consumption.


Docklands Projects

Docklands projects imply a coordinated plan for former port areas with many brownfield sites.  Usually there are separate developers, the project may last a generation, and the city government is essential to plan and co-ordinate it.

Urban Regeneration

Urban regeneration is the name usually applied by planners and politicians to brownfield redevelopment, from single sites to docklands. It also covers a wide range of social policies, and may be used as a euphemism for gentrification.

Social Cleansing

Social cleansing is deliberate policies aimed at removing a section of the population - a criminal underclass, or simply those with low incomes.  It is ultimately driven by the belief that an area and its administration have failed, if such people live there.  A quasi-moral moral character, attributed to residents, is also attributed to the geographical area itself.  Unlike gentrification, social cleansing is always government-initiated.