Contesting loss of place: reflections on the interplay between class, age and experiences of neighbourhood change

Authors: Fenne Pinkster*, Universiteit Van Amsterdam
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: discontent, neighbourhood change, gentrification, loss of place
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Astor Ballroom III, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Research on loss of place in European cities has focused predominantly on white working class experiences of gentrification. Such studies have highlighted processes of place-based cultural displacement and narratives of loss, powerlessness and discontent. These experiences are understood to be distinctly classed and are often framed through the lens of nostalgia. In this paper I explore alternative understandings of these narratives, examining how they are informed by age and residential history rather than class alone. The paper compares findings on experiences of neighbourhood change in two contrasting neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, The Netherlands: one working class neighbourhood undergoing upgrading and one upper middle-class neighbourhood undergoing touristification. Although both the class position of residents and the processes underlying neighbourhood change are different in these two areas, long-term residents adopt a surprisingly similar discourse of downgrading and powerlessness. At the same time, how they subsequently contest neighbourhood change and manage to get the attention of popular media and urban professionals is very different. This shows that despite similar emotional ramifications of socio-spatial change may be quite similar, the degree to which these are mobilized and neighbourhood change becomes politicized is decidedly classed.

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