Class Discourses of the Gentrified Countryside

Authors: Marco van Gemeren*, Middlebury College, Casey Lilley*, Middlebury College
Topics: Rural Geography, Migration, Population Geography
Keywords: rural gentrification, community change, class
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This project examines the ways in which processes of gentrification play out across a diverse array of rural communities. Gentrification is typically a term used in urban contexts, yet we extend the concept to better understand rural change. Footloose upper-middle class professionals are moving into rural spaces where pools of potentially gentrifiable spaces exist, providing access to rural amenities such as recreation, natural and quiet spaces, and a tighter sense of community. Through both online surveys and longer interviews in three study areas – Jackson, WY, the Finger Lakes, NY, and the Mad River Valley, VT – we analyze transformations in the built, cultural, social, and economic landscapes occurring within the past 30 years. Initial findings suggest that the influx of wealthy professionals and second homeowners have generated similar trends that unfold in place-specific ways in each of these communities. Different places draw gentrifiers from a range of spatial scales, and the arrival of multiple typologies of gentrifiers drive unique class dynamics that have played out differently within each community.

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