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
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:

Proposal accepted for a journal special issue on Accumulation, State Legitimacy and Cities of Spectacle in ‘Emerging’ Economies

Earlier last week, it was a great pleasure to receive the final acceptance letter from the special features editor of the Urban Geography journal with regard to a proposal to pursue a special issue on Accumulation, State Legitimacy and Cities of Spectacle in ‘Emerging’ Economies. I will be guest editing this with Andy Thornley in my department. The special issue aims to bring together original research papers to examine  mega-events in some of the major emerging economies that have hosted, or are hosting, major international mega-events. The special issue is one of the endeavours that emanate from the earlier session organisation at the RGS-IBG annual conference in the summer of 2013.

I am very happy to see the great line-up of colleagues from around the world. These include Anne-Marie Broudehoux (University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada), Elena Trubina (Ural Federation University, Russia), Xun Li, Yi Liu and Jigang Bao (Sun Yat-sen University, China) and Astrid Wood (University College London, UK), who will be discussing the experiences of Rio de Janeiro, Sochi, Guangzhou and Cape Town respectively.

In order to build upon existing scholarship discussing the role of mega-events as societal spectacles, contributors are purposefully brought together to create a dialogue about the use of mega-events as a means to address both accumulation needs and social stability. Consideration is given to the historicity of urban development and political economic contexts within each host nation. Contributors are asked to pay attention in particular to the issues of state legitimacy and governance in their emerging country context and to tease out differences with more developed countries.

Papers are aimed to be submitted to the journal for peer review from around May 2014. More updates to follow as progress is made.