Race and the Spatial Aesthetics of Gentrification 1

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Urban Geography Specialty Group, Black Geographies Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Plaza Court 8, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Organizers: Brandi Summers
Chairs: Brandi Summers


This session considers how the dual processes of racialization and aestheticization in a postindustrial, cultural, and economic climate undergird the rapid gentrification in global cities. The relationship between aesthetics and urban processes has become increasingly recognized in geography and urban studies research. Areas of interest have included where the language of aesthetics reveals the global interconnectedness of urban development (Ghertner 2015) and the ways urban aesthetics draw on race to structure how and what we see in the urban landscape (Simone 2016). However, gentrification is still frequently seen as a primarily economic impact of a growing economy, which avoids questions of how difference plays in the devaluation and disposability of certain populations and the privileging of others. Similarly, aesthetics are seen as a by-product of gentrification and not an integral part of it, allowing seemingly benign attempts to “beautify” the city to profoundly impact the already disadvantaged. The panel, in advancing the mutual constitution of gentrification and aesthetics considers not only the ways that aesthetics are tied to rapid urbanization, accelerated through gentrification, but also the complex strategies enacted by marginalized populations to resist the processes of urban displacement and dispossession.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Rebecca Summer*, Portland State University, Aesthetic Erasures and Displacement from the Past in Gentrifying Washington, D.C. 15 9:35 AM
Presenter Jovan Scott Lewis*, University of California, Berkeley, Aesthetic Violence in Massacre’s Wake, or Gentrification in Tulsa 15 9:50 AM
Presenter Gregory T Woolston*, University of Washington - Seattle, Architectures For and Against Gentrification in Seattle’s Central District 15 10:05 AM
Presenter Dennis Grammenos*, Northeastern Illinois University, Paseo Boricua fights gentrification: Decolonizing aesthetics and the spatial politics of culture in a Chicago barrio 15 10:20 AM
Presenter Brandi Summers*, University of California - Berkeley, Reclaiming the Chocolate City: #DontMuteDC and the Soundscapes of Gentrification 15 10:35 AM

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