Recent Trends and Debates Concerning Gentrification in Contemporary Cities - Essay Example

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The history of gentrification commenced with Ruth Glass as the first person to coin it. Glass describes the term as the alteration of the residential areas of the city from working class to middle class. The middle class was replaced by the elite urban class in the mid-nineteenth century…
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Recent Trends and Debates Concerning Gentrification in Contemporary Cities
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Download file to see previous pages In the 1970s, sociologist and urban geographers have started to use the term when referring to the invasion of affluent people in a working class area (Parker, 2004, p.86). This is the common trend that seemed to aggravate the condition of the poor. Homeowners who can afford to pay high rent intended to stay for good, while people who do not belong in the same circle must step out. Since working class cannot match the high standard of living, they settle in a community wherein people of similar level exist. With the start of the post-gentrification era, homeless individuals staged riot against the destruction of social reproduction wherein they lost the smooth flow of living. Displacement destroys the continuity of gender relations and the availability of food, clothing, and shelter. The tension and fear created on the working class in this era are centered on the insecurity they feel of being displace. Smith refers to this scenario as the revanchist city wherein government removes the poor individuals residing in the city to encourage tourist investment. Poor households are considered bad publicity, which discourage investors to establish business in a certain area. Thus, government provides more opportunities for high-wage earner individuals than ordinary working class (Bridge & Watson, 2010, p.202). Furthermore, many debates and arguments have materialised on the definition of gentrification. Using Clarke, et al. (2003, p.83) definition, the term refers to the “regeneration of rundown inner city areas caused by the return of new generation of affluent middle-class residents from which the middle classes once fled.” To put it simple, gentrification describes the social change that transforms the status of residents. The social change is evident in the re-urbanisation. Criekingen (2010, pp.381-382) defines re-urbanisation as “a process of repopulating the inner city with a variety of social groups and lifestyles.” The definition of gentrification has been discussed as the upgrading the social status of individuals from working class to middle class. Moreover, the structure of the built environment has changed aesthetically to match the status quo of the residents in a certain area. This act is similar with redeveloping the entire city and replacing the residents that once occupied the space. Gentrification has garnered different alternative terms in the 21st century, which signifies the changes in its process. Regeneration, revitalisation, renaissance, and residentialisation are used interchangeably when attributing the displacement of individuals. Moreover, displacement also receives a new label called professionalisation because of changes in the built environment and the occupants as professional members (Goworowska, 2008, p.18). The terms are the source of debate among scholars. The sociologist of knowledge explains that the terms are formed based on the perception, observation, or interpretation of individuals regarding gentrification. With the scholar’s differing views on the gentrification process and changes in the usage of words, the debate continues. One of the views concerning gentrification is the ‘back-to-the-city’ move wherein invaders originally came from the inner city to claim what they have before. However, this theory has no significant support from the government’s data. Others have asserted that invaders are bored living outside the city, and they have decided to return in exchange of the vibrant city life. The revitalisation exists when the neighborhood moves within the inner city. There are evidences that this pattern of living occurs in the dual-wage earner family. The definition of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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