Race, Space and Neoliberal Urbanism: Gentrification and Neighbourhood Change in Nashville

Authors: Camila Rivas-Garrido*, Vanderbilt University, James Fraser*, Vanderbilt University
Topics: Urban Geography, Ethnicity and Race, Planning Geography
Keywords: race, gentrification, urban development
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Political-economic theories of neoliberalism have provided useful analytical tools to understand multiple dimensions of urbanization and development in the sense of illuminating how circuits of capital are central to producing urban space. A subset of this literature focuses on how gentrification, in particular, has been a generalized phenomenon in cities across the globe. At a more concrete level political-economic dynamics of neighborhood change intersect with already existing topographic features of cities that are imbued with logics of the Other. Drawing upon treatments of urban redevelopment that theorize neoliberalism as a racial project, this paper theorizes the import of this approach toward the study of gentrification. While literature on gentrification typically acknowledges that there are raced outcomes of urban redevelopment of “inner-city” neighborhoods whereby typically low-income, non-white populations are driven out of particular places in cities due to intensive reinvestment by both state and private-sector actors, less is understood about the various racial dynamics at play when different populations encounter gentrification pressures (Chronopoulos, 2016). In short, we argue that while certain similarities may exist surrounding the political-economic dimensions of gentrification as a neoliberal approach toward urban redevelopment (i.e., the urbanization of capital), there are a multitude of ways in which gentrification is raced, which are both path-dependent in terms of the historical trajectories of different social groups and the forms of social exclusion and inclusion that distinguish, for example, historically African-American and newer immigrant neighborhoods.

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