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Aesthetics, Gentrification, and Immigrant and Ethnic Business Districts in San Diego, CA

Authors: Rocio Leon*, University of Southern California
Topics: Ethnicity and Race, Urban Geography, Ethnic Geography
Keywords: Gentrification,
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Rocío León looks at the connections between aesthetics and the development of immigrant and ethnic business districts, paying attention to how art, images, and their circulation through digital media inform people’s connections to a place. Through interviews with business owners, community members, and artists in addition to a digital media analysis, León observes the role of aesthetics in developing local immigrant and ethnic business districts in Barrio Logan, a designated California Cultural District in San Diego, CA due to its connection to the Chicano Movement in the 1960s and 1970s as well as Chicano Park. Recently, the neighborhood has undergone a wave of gentrification that has seen the increase of new Chicanx-owned businesses catering toward higher-income consumers. León argues that the feminization of the neighborhood through public art and art in Chicanx-owned businesses, primarily through portraitures of Chicana bodies, has made Barrio Logan ‘safe’ and consumable to outsiders. León links this to the coloniality of power, placing this phenomenon within the historical trajectory of colonization of space through the conquest of women’s bodies.

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