It seems we can't go very far without seeing evidence of neighbourhood change in which higher income residents replace and displace low-income and insecure residents. The process touches cities around the world and is at the forefront of wider concerns - about social injustice, a lack of social sustainability, and the role of globalisation and finance in creating winners who have 'taken' key urban spaces from marginal groups. Gentrification is not going anyway anytime soon and it is important that we understand what it means, why it affects particular cities and neighbourhoods and what social scientists can do to inform policies and practices that might generate fairer cities.
Rowland Atkinson is Chair in Inclusive Societies at the University of Sheffield. Rowland is an urbanist with a strong interest in how social divisions and inequalities find spatial expression in city contexts. These interests have generated significant research projects on household displacement from gentrification, social exclusion and housing policy interventions and the rise of gated communities. Most recently, his work has focused on the impact of wealth and the wealthy on urban life and this features in his most recent book Alpha City, a free summary of which can be downloaded from his blog here.
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