RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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19 Landscapes of housing and dwelling (1)
Chair(s) Paula Meth (University of Sheffield, UK)
Timetable Wednesday 29 August 2018, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room Glamorgan Building - Seminar Room -1.56
Linked Sessions Landscapes of housing and dwelling (2)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Rezoning Politics meets Community Resistance: Urban Documentaries of Gentrification in New York City
Catalina Neculai (Coventry University, UK)
Gentrification is a losing battle all over the country; in fact, in the entire world but there are things that can be done in New York City that you can’t do in other places.' (Gentrification Express: Breaking down the BQX, 2017)

Released at the peak of ‘the most aggressive urban development agenda ever adopted in the history of New York City’ (Busà 2017), "Gentrification Express: Breaking down the BQX", is the latest in a series of New York documentaries capturing the 'tensions of gentrification' (Lees, Slater and Wyly 2008) between the communities of money and politics, and the vernacular communities of place and place-making. Before it, films like ""Rezoning Harlem"" (2008) and ""My Brooklyn: Unmasking the Takeover of America’s Hippest City"" (2012) grappled with the 'mutated' (Lees, Slater and Wyly 2008), state and big business-sponsored politics of gentrification. Whether focusing on the rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem or the redevelopment of Fulton Mall in Brooklyn, such documentaries are intended acts of cultural and political resistance to the forces that transform neighbourhood-scapes in the image of neoliberal capital.

Co-created by activist academics and community actors, the films capture not only the actual transformations of urban landscapes through a politics of piecemeal rezoning, but also the power structures behind such politics as well as the coalition formations in right to the city movements. They inform and instigate to action, critique and propose solutions, provide activist resources, generate knowledge and rich data. My talk will focus on this interface between municipal politics and reactive documentarian grassroots politics still grounded in an 'authentic' (Zukin 2010) New York urbanism.


Busà, A. (2017) The Creative Destruction of New York: Engineering the City for the Elite. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Lee, L, Slater, T. and Wyly, E. (2008) Gentrification. London and New York: Routledge

Zukin, S. (2010) Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Rural Homelessness, a hidden crisis
Andrea Gibbons (University of Salford, UK)
Anya Ahmed (University of Salford, UK)
Katy Jones (University of Salford, UK)
Michaela Rogers (University of Salford, UK)
Mark Wilding (University of Salford, UK)
Homelessness has almost always been perceived as an urban issue (Cloke and Widdowfield, 2000; Milbourne, Hughes and Hartwell, 2006; Snelling, 2017); yet it is also a feature of rural landscapes. Evidence relating to rural homelessness continues be overshadowed within the broader homelessness literature. Rural homelessness is often as invisible in policy and practice discussions as it is in the discourses of rural life and the landscape itself, where its realities can remain hidden in woods and barns and the homes of families and friends (Cloke, Milbourne and Widdowfield 2003; Snelling 2017). This article draws on extensive longitudinal interviews undertaken between 2016 and 2017 in three rural authorities in Wales. New qualitative data were gathered from people experiencing homelessness, and also from service providers from a range of organisations including statutory and third sector organisations. Evidence from a breadth of stakeholders facilitates a detailed understanding of the nature and challenges presented by contemporary experiences of and responses to rural homelessness. The article interrogates how the rural landscape has both shaped, and has been shaped by understandings of and responses to homelessness. It also explores how people maintain connections to rural spaces in the context of policy and legislative transformation.
Analysing the changing landscape for housing regeneration: gentrification, class and resistance
Tony Manzi (University of Westminster, UK)
This paper considers the way that contemporary housing regeneration programmes have affected outcomes for resident groups. The paper looks at the role played by a changing housing association sector in delivering housing regeneration initiatives. Initiatives have become increasingly contested and have led to intense debates about the role of social landlords, private developers and the impact of gentrification and displacement in contemporary urban policy. The main argument of the paper is that under conditions of neoliberalism and due to the intense financial pressures on housing associations, the emphasis in policy is to prioritise private sector partnership, entrepreneurial governance and punitive welfare strategies. The paper questions this trend in contemporary governance and argues that a reformed urban policy needs to place issues of social justice (rather than resource constraints) at the heart of policy.
Post-socialist gentrification in Budapest – corruption and conflict in an ‘illiberal’ context 
Adrienne Csizmady (Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences Institute for Sociology, Hungary)
Gergely Olt (Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences Institute for Sociology, Hungary)
The narrative of gentrification as a ’global [neoliberal] urban strategy’ was extensively used in a number a publications in the recent years. However, the use of neoliberalism and ’neoliberalisation’ as an all explaining cause of urban processes was also criticised not only from a post-colonial perspective but also by researchers of the European semi-periphery and the post-socialist transformation. We claim that the post-socialist transformation and privatisation resulted in ‘neo-patrimonial’ power and property relations besides neoliberal economic policies. In our case study about Budapest we show that low price flat-by-flat privatisation to sitting tenants and later corruption during the ‘rehabilitation’ of dilapidated urban areas both were interfering institutional factors in gentrification. Instead of high status residential buildings novel hospitality venues appeared in vacated buildings of our research area followed by intensive ‘touristification’. During our long term ethnographic research since 2006 we documented the struggles of the tenants in remaining council housing waiting for relocation and the fight of locals against nuisance caused by hospitality tourism. Our interviews and observations reveal the difficulties of interest articulation in an ‘illiberal’ regime where fundamental rights of citizens can be neglected without political or legal consequences. We also present the ‘neo-patrimonial’ logic in the regulation of ‘touristification’: instead of serving the interests of investors and other market players in general, public institutions and policies support only certain politically connected entrepreneurs. Both locals and entrepreneurs are in conflict with state actors who primarily use their power for their own personal and political gains.