New publication: Introduction to a special issue on Latin American gentrifications

Finally, it’s with great pleasure to be able to announce the forthcoming special issue on Latin American gentrifications. This is part of the collective project that I have been working on with Loretta Lees and Ernesto López-Morales. Previous outputs included a co-edited volume Global Gentrifications: Uneven Development and Displacement, a co-authored monograph Planetary Gentrification, and a special issue from Urban Studies “Locating gentrification in the Global East“. The forthcoming special issue from the journal Urban Geography marks the conclusion of our project, and the following is the co-authored introduction to the special issue:

López-Morales, E., Shin, H.B. and Lees, L. (2016) Introduction: Latin American gentrifications. Urban Geography. DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2016.1200335
ABSTRACT
Currently, Latin American cities are seeing simultaneous processes of reinvestment and redevelopment in their historic central areas. These are not just mega-scale interventions like Porto Maravilha in Rio or Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires or the luxury renovations seen in Santa Fé or Nueva Polanco in Mexico City, they also include state-led, piecemeal, high-rise interventions in Santiago, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Panamá and Bogotá, all of which are causing the displacement of original populations and thus are forms of gentrification. Until very recently, these processes have been under-conceptualized and little critiqued in Latin America, but they deserve careful scrutiny, along with new forms of neighbourhood organization, activism and resistance. In this introduction, we begin that task, drawing on the work begun in an Urban Studies Foundation-funded workshop on Global Gentrification held in Santiago, Chile in 2012. Our aim is not just to understand these urban changes and conflicts as gentrification, but to empirically test the applicability of a generic understanding of gentrification beyond the usual narratives of/from the global North. From this investigation, we hope to nurture new critical narratives, to engage sensitively with indigenous theoretical narratives and to understand the dialectical interplay between state policies, financial markets, local politics and people. The papers in this special issue deal with the core issues of state power and urban policies (exerted at metropolitan and neighbourhood scales), the enormous influx of financial investment in derelict neighbourhoods that produces exclusion and segregation, the significant loss of urban heritage from rapidly “renewing” neighbourhoods and the institutional arrangements that can enable anti-displacement activism and self-managed social housing production.

The rest of the papers in this special issue are as follows:

Publication of a journal special issue on Locating Gentrification in the Global East

USJ-53-3-2016I am delighted to see the publication of the following special issue on Locating Gentrification in the Global East from Urban Studies as Volume 53, Issue 3. You may find the table of contents and all the papers on this page: http://usj.sagepub.com/content/53/3.toc (also see below). The abstract for the guest editors’ introduction provides some key thoughts behind this special issue:
This special issue, a collection of papers presented and debated at an Urban Studies Foundation-funded workshop on Global Gentrification in London in 2012, attempts to problematise contemporary understandings of gentrification, which is all too often confined to the experiences of the so-called Global North, and sometimes too narrowly understood as classic gentrification. Instead of simply confirming the rise of gentrification in places outside of the usual suspects of North America and Western Europe, a more open-minded approach is advocated so as not to over-generalise distinctive urban processes under the label of gentrification, thus understanding gentrification as constitutive of diverse urban processes at work. This requires a careful attention to the complexity of property rights and tenure relations, and calls for a dialogue between gentrification and non-gentrification researchers to understand how gentrification communicates with other theories to capture the full dynamics of urban transformation. Papers in this special issue have made great strides towards these goals, namely theorising, distorting, mutating and bringing into question the concept of gentrification itself, as seen from the perspective of the Global East, a label that we have deliberately given in order to problematise the existing common practices of grouping all regions other than Western European and North American ones into the Global South.
This project has been a long and persistent endeavour, and it is the greatest pleasure for me, Loretta and Ernesto as guest editors to be able to see the project coming to fruition. All the contributions are empirically rich and theoretically insightful. It is the belief of the guest editors that this special issue would make a substantial contribution to the contemporary debates on gentrification and urbanisation as well as broader discussions in (comparative) urban studies and urban geography of Asia and the Global South.
The publication of this special issue coincides nicely with another book, Planetary Gentrification, which has just been released from Polity Press (http://www.polity.co.uk/book.asp?ref=9780745671642). The book coauthored by the guest editors builds upon a wide range of contemporary literature on urban processes in both the Global South and North. What we learnt from the contributions to this special issue have greatly enriched our arguments in this book.

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