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Mixed communities

Mixed communities: Gentrification by stealth?

Gary Bridge
Tim Butler
Loretta Lees
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  • Book Info
    Mixed communities
    Book Description:

    Encouraging neighbourhood social mix has been a major goal of urban policy and planning in a number of different countries. This book draws together a range of case studies by international experts to assess the impacts of social mix policies and the degree to which they might represent gentrification by stealth. The contributions consider the range of social mix initiatives in different countries across the globe and their relationship to wider social, economic and urban change. The book combines understandings of social mix from the perspectives of researchers, policy makers and planners and the residents of the communities themselves. Mixed Communities also draws out more general lessons from these international comparisons - theoretically, empirically and for urban policy. It will be highly relevant for urban researchers and students, policy makers and practitioners alike.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-495-2
    Subjects: Population Studies, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. List of tables, figures and photographs
    (pp. v-vi)
  2. ONE Introduction: gentrification, social mix/ing and mixed communities
    (pp. 1-14)
    Loretta Lees, Tim Butler and Gary Bridge

    In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest among urban policy makers, planners and urban scholars in the concept of ‘mixed communities’ or ‘social mix’ in cities, particularly at the neighbourhood scale (Forrest and Kearns, 1999; Atkinson and Kintrea, 2000; Goodchild and Cole, 2001; Tunstall, 2003). In this book we focus on the relationship between these social mix policies and plans and gentrification. We define gentrification as the movement of middle-income people into low-income neighbourhoods causing the displacement of all, or many, of the pre-existing low-income residents. Rhetorically and discursively disguised as social mixing, these policies and plans...

  3. Part 1: Reflections on social mix policy

    • TWO Why do birds of a feather flock together? Social mix and social welfare: a quantitative appraisal
      (pp. 17-24)
      Paul Cheshire

      One of the peculiarities of utopian visions of the ‘good’ urban society is how little attention the visionaries pay to how people choose to live. As an urban economist, my starting point is that the choices people make for themselves are the best way of discovering what their preferences are, what makes them happy. Of course to an economist it is self-evident that such choices are constrained by people’s incomes. Poor households cannot choose to play polo, nor buy private healthcare. That is because they are poor and polo and private healthcare are expensive. Strangely this rather obvious insight does...

    • THREE Social mix and urban policy
      (pp. 25-34)
      Patrick Le Galès

      A first difficulty that is encountered in producing a book such as this is the question of definition: what does ‘social mix’ really mean beyond the spatial coexistence of different social and ethnic groups in a given neighbourhood? The least that can be argued is that social mix is not very stabilised as a concept. All societies are mixed one way or another. Social mix could be defined by what it is not: the extreme concentration of some social or ethnic groups, that is, super-bourgeois neighbourhoods, ghettos or ethnic enclaves. As the editors of this book rightly emphasise, the question...

    • FOUR Mixed communities and urban policy: reflections from the UK
      (pp. 35-42)
      Rebecca Tunstall

      The ‘genealogy’ of British mixed communities discourse and policy can be traced back as far as the mid-19th century (Cole and Goodchild, 2001). In the past three decades alone, both Conservative and Labour governments have introduced a wide variety of housing and urban policies which have aimed, at least in part, to increase or maintain tenure or social mix within residential neighbourhoods. Under the 1997–2010 New Labour government, ‘mixed communities’ looked set to become the overarching goal of all urban and housing policy. Mixed communities policies have been intertwined with the shrinking of social housing from its peak in...

    • FIVE Gentrification without social mixing in the rapidly urbanising world of Australasia
      (pp. 43-50)
      Wendy Shaw

      For the first time in recorded history the world has a higher urban than rural population, and much of this shift has occurred in Australasia. According to the United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Population Estimates and Projections Section (2010), Asia has the largest number of megacities in the world (in 2010) and will have another five by 2025. In this context, urban change has included a rapid rise of urban skylines, with the march of residential towers in places where older, poorer housing once stood. The notion of ‘social mixing’ as a policy construct...

  4. Part 2: Social mix in liberal and neoliberal times

    • SIX Social mixing and the historical geography of gentrification
      (pp. 53-68)
      David Ley

      Accepting that Ruth Glass coined the term ‘gentrification’ in an unpublished paper in 1959 (Lees et al, 2007, p 4), the field has just passed its 50th anniversary. Inevitably the contexts of gentrification have shifted over the decades. The process has successively encountered the critical social movements of the 1960s, the high water mark of the welfare state in the 1970s, the ascendancy of neoliberalism in the 1980s, and finally, globalisation, the dominant and multifaceted keyword of the past 20 years. The demographic bulge of the baby boomers, vanguard of gentrification as students and young professionals in the 1960s, is...

    • SEVEN Social mix and encounter capacity – a pragmatic social model for a new downtown: the example of HafenCity Hamburg
      (pp. 69-92)
      Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg

      Social mix becomes an issue not only in cases when a city’s development has already led to pockets of social exclusion² and thus to negative spatial context effects for households, which sometimes result in political attempts at ‘urban repair’, but also with respect to such neighbourhoods as that of our case study, HafenCity Hamburg, whose definition as a new city district in economic and social terms within the cityscape is not yet complete. In the first case, the social mix concept can be pursued by intervening to change the socioeconomic environment and institutional structure so that negative context effects at...

  5. Part 3: Social mix policies and gentrification

    • EIGHT Mixed-income schools and housing policy in Chicago: a critical examination of the gentrification/education/‘racial’ exclusion nexus
      (pp. 95-114)
      Pauline Lipman

      Mixed-income development is an increasingly popular strategy to deconcentrate poverty in the US (Brophy and Smith, 1997; Popkin et al, 2004; Joseph, 2006). In several US cities, mixed-income housing is linked to newly created mixed-income schools (Raffel et al, 2003; Lipman, 2008). Mixed-income strategies in housing and education share a similar set of assumptions: deconcentrating the ‘poor’ and dispersing them into mixed-income contexts will give them access to the cultural and social capital and political and economic resources of the middle class, thus improving their economic and academic situation. Proposals to move low-income students to mixed-income schools and low-income families...

    • NINE Social mix as the aim of a controlled gentrification process: the example of the Goutte d’Or district in Paris
      (pp. 115-132)
      Marie-Hélène Bacqué and Yankel Fijalkow

      This chapter examines the link between gentrification and so-called social mix policies. Based on an analysis of social and urban transformations in progress in Goutte d’Or, a working-class² and immigrant Paris neighbourhood, we contend that public policies focusing on social mix often actually serve the ends of gentrification. In the case in point, such policies tend to result in ‘controlled’ gentrification. We demonstrate that the gentrification process launched in Goutte d’Or partly stems from such policies that thrive in a tight housing market and converge with the residential and territorial investment strategies of middle and upper middle-class households. Urban projects...

    • TEN Beware the Trojan horse: social mix constructions in Melbourne
      (pp. 133-148)
      Kate Shaw

      From the time of its occupation Australia has been home to people from all over the world. Melbourne is considered the most ‘European’ of Australia’s major cities and is one of the most culturally diverse. About 35% of metropolitan Melbourne’s population was born overseas. The postwar inner-city population in particular was a social and cultural melting pot, with immigrants, artists, students, hippies and a solid working class connected mainly by economics and geography as the middle classes gradually abandoned the city for the ever-expanding suburbs.

      But just as the white settlers decimated Australia’s original peoples in the interests of diversification,...

  6. Part 4: The rhetoric and reality of social mix policies

    • ELEVEN Social mixing as a cure for negative neighbourhood effects: evidence-based policy or urban myth?
      (pp. 151-168)
      David Manley, Maarten van Ham and Joe Doherty

      There is a widely held belief by government, policy makers and academics that living in deprived neighbourhoods has a negative effect on residents’ life chances over and above the effect of their individual characteristics. There is a large body of literature on these so-called neighbourhood effects and neighbourhood effects have been claimed in relation to a variety of outcomes: school dropout rates (Overman, 2002); childhood achievement (Galster et al, 2007); transition rates from welfare to work (van der Klaauw and Ours, 2003); deviant behaviour (Friedrichs and Blasius, 2003); social exclusion (Buck, 2001); and social mobility (Buck, 2001). The current interest...

    • TWELVE Meanings, politics and realities of social mix and gentrification – a view from Brussels
      (pp. 169-184)
      Mathieu Van Criekingen

      It is now a matter of fact that the spread of neoliberalism around the globe over the last three decades has been responsible for mounting social inequalities within and across national boundaries (see, for example, Landais, 2007; ILO, 2008; OECD, 2008). If only focusing on Western economies, numerous accounts provide detailed documentation connecting trends of rising income and broader social well-being inequalities to the wide range of political-economic neoliberal reforms enforced since the mid-1970s. Evidence in this respect brings out notably the role of these reforms in the gradual breaking of the post-war Keynesian social compromise, the steady fall in...

    • THIRTEEN ‘Regeneration’ in interesting times: a story of privatisation and gentrification in a peripheral Scottish city
      (pp. 185-208)
      Sarah Glynn

      When I first wrote about what was happening in Dundee, and the proposed demolition of council housing blocks that have dominated the city’s skyline for almost 40 years, house prices were rising – though never as fast as in more fashionable places – and developers still had an unsatisfied appetite for land. That is the background of the first part of my story. But by the time I presented my work as part of the seminar series on which this book is based, the economy had turned, and even politicians seemed to be waking up to the importance of social...

    • FOURTEEN HOPE VI: calling for modesty in its claims
      (pp. 209-230)
      James Fraser, James DeFilippis and Joshua Bazuin

      There is little question that the goals and policies of mixed-income housing in US cities are fundamentally about the transformation of urban space. And yet, despite the centrality of this goal, there are only a few studies to suggest that the transformation of urban space envisioned by its supporters and decried by its opponents is of any great magnitude (GAO, 2003; Holin et al, 2003; Zielenbach, 2003; Turbov and Piper, 2005; Castells, 2010). While these point towards benefits of the spillover effects of HOPE VI (Home ownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere) mixed-income projects, there is variation even within HOPE...

  7. Part 5: Experiencing social mix

    • FIFTEEN The impossibility of gentrification and social mixing
      (pp. 233-250)
      Mark Davidson

      Social mixing, less segregation and more ‘socially balanced’ neighbourhoods all seem like inherently positive policy ambitions. Why, then, have a raft of urban policy programmes that have placed the goal of social mixing at their core been subject to, at times, condemning criticism (N. Smith, 2002; Slater, 2006; Lees, 2008)? The answer proposed here is that the current policy-led push to generate social mixing and socially mixed neighbourhoods through ‘social upgrading’ has contained a deeply problematic understanding of class dynamics and politics. This, it is argued, is symptomatic of a wider treatment of the question of class in the neoliberal...

    • SIXTEEN Not the only power in town? Challenging binaries and bringing the working class into gentrification research
      (pp. 251-272)
      Kirsteen Paton

      The contributions in this collection confirm the pressing need to move beyond conventional wisdom on gentrification processes in order to advance our understanding of the contemporary ‘third model’ of gentrification in which public policy is a crucial driver (Cameron and Coaffee, 2005). However, the relationship between gentrification and public policy has not been a primary focus of gentrification research (Lees and Ley, 2008), and consequently our understandings are not fully theoretically developed. Explanations offered are often beset by the same binaries of older orthodox explanations: culture/consumption versus capital/production explanations and a dichotomisation of social groups – working class/middle class, with...

    • SEVENTEEN From social mix to political marginalisation? The redevelopment of Toronto’s public housing and the dilution of tenant organisational power
      (pp. 273-298)
      Martine August and Alan Walks

      Canada’s largest landlord, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), is in the process of revitalising the country’s oldest and largest public housing community, Regent Park. The 15-year ‘revitalisation’ of the community will transform 70 acres of rent-geared-to-income (RGI) subsidised housing into a mixed-use, mixed-income neighbourhood, with new market housing and a New Urbanist-style redesign. The proportion of RGI-subsidised units will decline from 100% to only one quarter, in order to accommodate the community’s new ‘social mix’. The TCHC is executing a similar redevelopment approach in two of its other public housing communities, Don Mount Court (now called ‘Rivertowne’), and Lawrence...

    • EIGHTEEN Mixture without mating: partial gentrification in the case of Rotterdam, the Netherlands
      (pp. 299-318)
      Talja Blokland and Gwen van Eijk

      Since Ley (1986) showed convincingly that gentrification is not simply a matter of the market, especially not in developed welfare states, showcases of state-led neighbourhood improvement have been found in many European states (Cameron, 2003; see also Hackworth and Smith, 2001). In the Netherlands, the specific history of the housing policy, based on a principle of accessible rental for everyone in an inclusive scheme, has long defined housing as part of general social policy (cf van Kempen and Priemus, 2002). It therefore comes as little surprise that there has been a strong tradition in the Netherlands of state intervention in...

  8. Afterword
    (pp. 319-322)
    Gary Bridge, Tim Butler and Loretta Lees

    This book has explored social mix policies in a number of countries and in terms of policy expectations and outcomes. In spite of the differences in national policy contexts, housing systems, city and neighbourhood characteristics, the overwhelming conclusion of this review is that social mix policies are largely ineffective in enhancing the welfare of the poorest urban residents, and in some cases detrimental to the welfare of the urban poor. A senior policy figure on mixed communities in the US – Bruce Katz – voiced that he had no idea why they had gone for mixed communities policy in the...