Renoviction in Sweden: Growth in a post-gentrification landscape?

Authors: Emil Pull*, Malmö University
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Geographic Theory
Keywords: Displacement, gentrification, post-gentrification, urban renewal
Session Type: Paper


Dispossession and displacement processes are always played out in the local space in different ways and under different regimes of accumulation. In the observed neighbourhoods in Uppsala, Sweden, a rent gap is being closed through housing renovations and sharp rent increases for tenants with consequental displacement. What is being witnessed, however, is not a gentrification process with a situated middle class moving in, displacing urban poor to other neighborhoods. It is rather gentrification without gentrifiers. On the ground, the dispossession process is immediate in the loss of home and place. On a municipal level, however, there is a peculiar form of dispossession through taxation going on. Poor people are displaced and forced to leave, but predominantly, poor people are also moving in. This process is made possible through marked increases in welfare dependencies. In official reports Uppsala municipality is cutting back in school- and cultural budgets to make up for increased welfare payouts as a direct consequence of the rent increases. What is being witnessed is a direct transaction from all municipal taxpayers to landlord profits. Perhaps this is the inevitable outcome of thirty years of gentrification, when there are no more gentrifiers left to pay for the increased need for accumulation. Now the collective as a whole needs to be dispossessed for accumulation processes to remain feasible. The consequence is renewal not for the sake of renewal (Allen 2008), but for unbridled and violent accumulation by dispossess in a landscape of post-gentrification.

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