In this segment we discuss the cultural trends bringing white middle and upper class people back to the city and how this gentrification process is this shaping the urban landscape. In particular, we will discuss how this process is shaping long standing racial and class issues. We will discuss these kinds of questions through the perspectives of a few scholars that have studied these themes in depth.
What we will accentuate apart from the underlying political and economic forces driving gentrification, is how culture and cultural trends are clearly a driving force in and of them selves. Culturally fraught terms like “authenticity” make this quickly apparent as Sharon Zukin describes in her article Consuming Authenticity. Anchoring her argument in purchasing power, she effectively shows how consumption patterns are inherently tied to cultural trends, values and norms. Osman describes an extension of this process on the housing market in his seminal book The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn . He shows how a once dilapidated housing stock goes from symbolizing the stigma of urban blight to that of cosmopolitanism, upward mobility and community. Finally, Lance Freeman’s There Goes the Hood provides a ground level description of gentrification process that results through personal reflections and interactions.
See CityLab’s discussion as to “Why Authenticity is So Central to Urban Culture”
Also, listen to NPR’s There Goes the Neighborhood to further consider these themes.