Rescaling relations in the rent gap: integrating transectional, carceral, and regional rent gaps into gentrification theory

Authors: Craig Lyons*,
Topics: Urban Geography, Australia and New Zealand, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: gentrification, rent gap, carceral state, transport, urban geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Washington 5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper seeks to advance rent gap theory in two ways: conceptually, by drawing into dialogue with the Marxian tradition influences from governmentality theory and relational thinking; and empirically, by changing the optics from the archetypal inner-city gentrifying neighbourhood to the whole city-hinterland as urban assemblage. I will demonstrate three ways in which urban developments in New South Wales, Australia, may be viewed through new iterations of the rent gap model. First, transectional rent gaps arise through the upgrading of transport infrastructure, ‘slicing’ through diverse existing city neighbourhoods in order to unleash different devalorising/revalorising processes along urban corridors. Second, the expansion of the carceral state produces carceral rent gaps via the provision or sale of prison infrastructure. Finally, regional rent gaps arise in the hinterlands of global cities due to amenity-based outmigration and displacement from the urban core. Critically, these spatial techniques, metaphors and strategies are not isolated occurrences. Rather, they mesh together as a revised prospectus of rent-gap modes in cities available for capitalist exploitation. It is through the exploitation of multiple, old and new, rent gaps that crises of over-accumulation are displaced through spatio-temporal fixes. Rather than singularly focusing on a narrow class-based conception through the gentrification model, new rent gaps are able to account for a variety of intersectional and ontological displacements. This is particularly salient in the Australian context where settler-colonial visions of bounded property conflict with the notion of Indigenous Country.

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