Race and the Spatial Aesthetics of Gentrification

Type: Virtual Paper
Theme: Geographies of Access: Inclusion and Pathways
Sponsor Groups: Urban Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 50
Organizers: Brandi Summers
Chairs: Brandi Summers

Call for Submissions

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.

Potential themes:
• Resistance and placemaking strategies;
• Resignification of public space
• New geographies and mobility
• Authenticity and consumption in the gentrifying city
• Affective/aesthetic infrastructure as geographic formation
• Infrastructure and innovation
• Public art as resistance
• Sonic geographies
• Art and architecture
• Commodifying difference and diversity

Please submit an abstract of 300 or less words to Brandi Summers (btsummers@berkeley.edu) by November 15, 2020.

References

Ghertner, D. Asher. 2015. Rule by Aesthetics: World-Class City Making in Delhi. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Simone, AbdouMaliq. 2016. “Urbanity and Generic Blackness.” Theory, Culture & Society 33, no. 7-8: 183-203


Description

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.

References

Ghertner, D. Asher. 2015. Rule by Aesthetics: World-Class City Making in Delhi. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Simone, AbdouMaliq. 2016. “Urbanity and Generic Blackness.” Theory, Culture & Society 33, no. 7-8: 183-203


Agenda

Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Rebecca Summer*, Portland State University, Using an aesthetics of “history” to perform progressiveness in gentrifying Washington, D.C. 15 9:35 AM
Presenter Kaily Heitz*, University of California - Berkeley, Unfettering the Frame: The Geographic Matter of Black Life, Image and Form in Oakland, California 15 9:50 AM
Presenter Gregory T Woolston*, University of California, Santa Cruz, Architectures For and Against Gentrification in Seattle’s Central District 15 10:05 AM
Presenter Luis Trujillo*, UCR, The Libidinal Economy of Housing and Latinx Political Economies of Belonging in Northeast Los Angeles 15 10:20 AM
Discussant Brandi Summers University of California - Berkeley 15 10:35 AM

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