Food and Global Gentrification: Displacement in the Foodscapes of Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, and Paris

Authors: Pascale Joassart-Marcelli*, San Diego State University, Fernando Bosco*, San Diego State University
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: food, gentrification, global city, foodscape
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Washington 3, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Food is playing an increasingly important role in the gentrification of urban neighborhoods where the arrival of new restaurants, farmers’ markets, community gardens, craft breweries, food halls, and food trucks accompanies changes in demographic composition and everyday food provisioning activities. The seemingly casual, democratic, and authentic food of low-income communities is drawing the attention of elite consumers, underlying the emergence of a new food aesthetic repurposing previously devalued spaces, such as industrial warehouses, vacant lots and abandoned buildings, as new sites of consumption. What strikes us is how similarly these trends have unfolded in different cities around the world, in both the Global North and the Global South, leading to almost undistinguishable urban foodscapes—even when portrayed as authentic, local, and alternative.

We explore these trends by comparing the changing foodscapes of three global cities: Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, and Paris. We begin by mapping emerging and trendy food spaces in relationship to patterns of gentrification in all three cities, combining geocoded restaurant reviews from various food media and publicly available demographic data. We then turn to specific examples in each city and, based on fieldwork data, we compare how these spaces came about, what they look like, and how they are changing the everyday social dynamics of particular neighborhoods. The research contributes to broadening our understanding of the causes, processes, and consequences of gentrification globally, by considering displacement beyond housing and exploring the realm of food provisioning – a central part of social reproduction, everyday life and belonging.

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