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Gentrification and Social Mixing: Towards an Inclusive Urban Renaissance?

Loretta Lees
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Loretta Lees: Department of Geography, King's College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS, UK, loretta.lees@kcl.ac.uk

Urban Studies, 2008, vol. 45, issue 12, 2449-2470

Abstract: Nearly 30 years ago now, Holcomb and Beauregard were critical of the way that it was assumed that the benefits of gentrification would 'trickle down' to the lower classes in a manner similar to that hypothesised in the housing market. Nevertheless, despite fierce academic debate about whether or not gentrification leads to displacement, segregation and social polarisation, it is increasingly promoted in policy circles both in Europe and North America on the assumption that it will lead to less segregated and more sustainable communities. Yet there is a poor evidence base for this policy of 'positive gentrification'-for, as the gentrification literature tells us, despite the new middle classes' desire for diversity and difference they tend to self-segregate and, far from being tolerant, gentrification is part of an aggressive, revanchist ideology designed to retake the inner city for the middle classes. In light of this, it is argued that these new policies of social mixing require critical attention with regard to their ability to produce an inclusive urban renaissance and the potentially detrimental gentrifying effects they may inflict on the communities they intend to help.

Date: 2008
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