Does gentrification have a rhythm? Is there a temporal landscape of gentrification? What happens to those who are not in synch with a newly “happening” neighbourhood?
These are some of the questions that I pursue in my latest paper for cultural geographies, “Rhythms of gentrification: Eventfulness and slow violence in a happening neighbourhood.” Here’s the abstract:
Gentrification involves the transformation of neighbourhood social spaces in ways that re-make place in line with the needs and desires of new residents and capital investors. While spatial transformations have been well documented in the gentrification literature, temporality has rarely been foregrounded, even though social space is also altered by privileging new rhythms and tempos of everyday life. Using a case study of Toronto’s gentrifying Junction neighbourhood, this article explores the re-structuring of everyday neighbourhood rhythms around consumption-oriented and place-making events that draw on a collage of ideas about the timespace of ‘authentic’ urban street life. I argue that the reorganization of neighbourhood social life through the creation and privileging of specific temporal landscapes functions as a means of excluding, marginalizing, or rendering invisible certain community members and their needs. The inability of some to participate in the new temporalities of the neighbourhood becomes a barrier to recognition and representation, one that both hides and enables the ongoing ‘slow violence’ of gentrification.