Seminar on Gentrification and Social Mix Policies

Cities Are Back In Town is organizing a conference on gentrification and social mix policies on Wednesday 21st March, from 5 to 8 pm, in amphithéâtre Erignac (13, rue de l’Université).

Guest speakers: Tim Butler and Sylvie Tissot

Speaker 1

Tim Butler, Professor of Human Geography at King’s College London, will introduce his last collective book Mixed Communities: Gentrification by Stealth?, co-edited with Gary Bridge and Loretta Lees, Bristol: Policy Press, 2011

Tim Butler is the author of several books on the gentrification of London: London Calling (2003 with Garry Robson), Gentrification and the Middle Classes (1997) and most recently Ethnicity, Class and Aspiration: understanding London’s new East End (2011 with Chris Hamnett). He has written articles on gentrification and London in a number of journals. A forthcoming symposium in IJURR draws on this and other recent work on social mix.
His last book, Mixed Communities: Gentrification by Stealth? draws together a range of case studies by international experts to assess the impacts of social mix policies and the degree to which they might represent gentrification by stealth. The contributions consider the range of social mix initiatives in different countries across the globe and their relationship to wider social, economic and urban change. It combines understandings of social mix from the perspectives of researchers, policy makers and planners and the residents of the communities themselves. It also draws out more general lessons from these international comparisons – theoretically, empirically and for urban policy.

Discussant 1

Bruno Cousin, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Lille 1
After receiving a joint Ph.D. in 2008 from Sciences Po, Paris, and the University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy, Bruno Cousin joined the Department of sociology at Harvard University as a postdoctoral research fellow. He is the author of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on urban segregation, upper-classes sociability, and the refusal of social or ethnic mix.

Speaker 2

Sylvie Tissot, Professor of Political Science at University Paris 8, will introduce her most recent book De bons voisins: Enquête dans un quartier de la bourgeoisie progressiste, Paris : Raisons d’agir, 2011

Sylvie Tissot first started working on French “quartiers sensibles” (at-risk neighborhoods) and the historical formation of this category in urban policy-making (L’Etat et les quartiers. Enquête sur une catégorie d’action publique, 2007). As a visiting scholar at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, she then conducted fieldwork on gentrification in the United States. Her book De bons voisins grew out of this project. She now continues to investigate the upper middle class’s commitment to “diversity”, comparing France and the United States.
De bons voisins is the product of a five-year-long, fieldwork-based research project in the South End, formerly a disadvantaged, inner-city neighborhood, now a sought-after address in Boston. The book shows that gentrification is not an inevitable process, characteristic of all “global cities”. Rather, it results from a wide range of factors, sometimes surprising ones, that an ethnographic approach brings to light. The book particularly puts emphasis on the variable and multiple forms of local engagement on the part of the “gentrifiers” from the 1960s through the present.: from the conservative Historical Society’s battle to gain the “historic” label for the neighborhood, as well as stop social housing policies, to more progressive residents’ support for “mixed” housing; from a developer’s strategy to develop an artist community to the locally-supported creation of “exotic” restaurants and dog-friendly spaces. The book argues that a significant portion of the dominant class no longer resists diversity; in fact they love diversity, when they feel they can adequately control it.

Discussant 2

Matthieu Giroud, Assistant Professor in Geography at the University Blaise Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand) and Invited Research at the Centre de Recherche sur l’Habitat (CNRS)
The title of his PhD thesis defended in 2007 at the University of Poitiers is “To resist by living? Urban renewal and ‘popular’ continuities in old working-class neighborhoods (Grenoble/Lisbon)”. His research interests are about gentrification and forms of resistance to it, and more widely about the role of spatial mobilities on urban change.

One hour of collective discussion with the audience will follow the talks.

Open entry subject to the availability of seats.