IAS 31409 - Gentrification Globalized

We live above all in an urban world, one marked by spatial, economic and racial segregation as well as political and cultural suppression and displacement. This course examines gentrification both from a theoretical and an advocacy perspective. Gentrification and displacement are not only threatening the right to the city of working class and even middle class New Yorkers, who are being evicted and excluded from neighborhoods across the city by an apparently natural, economic, process of transformation. Gentrification and displacement are a global phenomenon, and they are the symptoms of planning strategies implemented through public-private policy partnerships. Public officials, real estate lobbying groups, private consulting firms, and financial institutions as well as “gentrifiers” play active roles in the redevelopment schemes that have restructured central cities and urban neighborhoods across the country, indeed across the world. In this course, we will examine various definitions of gentrification in order to unpack a word we seem to hear everywhere but whose meaning has been transformed, especially in the media, to obscure the relationship between gentrification and displacement and to obscure the actors advocating for, leading or supporting gentrification processes. Gentrification has not gone uncontested. We will explore resistance to gentrification from the local neighborhood perspective as well as investigate the linkages organizers have created to build trans-local and international organizing efforts, especially around the right to the city and the right not to be excluded from the city. This course is meant to be a 200-300 level course and will address the following themes: Gentrification defined; Gentrification Gglobalized; The logic of disinvestment and reinvestment; Agents of transformation; The production and self-representation of “gentrifiers”; Culture, consumption and the new middle class; Resistance from the local to global.
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