Urba004
Heritage, gentrification, and housing rights: Remaking urban landscapes in the name of 'historic' preservation

Convenors:
Chiara De Cesari (University of Amsterdam)
Rozita Dimova (Ghent University)
Discussant:
Rozita Dimova (Ghent University/Humboldt University)
Stream:
Urban
Location:
A122
Start time:
24 June, 2015 at 10:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This panel explores the relationship between heritagization, shifting real estate values, and housing struggles in different cities around the globe.

Long abstract:

This panel explores the relationship between heritagization, shifting real estate values, and housing struggles in different cities around the globe. Our aim is to examine the conditions that have brought heritage, history, and contemporary housing values in a relational nexus by looking at the ways in which differently-situated actors mobilize the language of heritage to stake claims to urban spaces. The growing heritagization of historic urban neighborhoods enables local governments and real-estate developers and investors to engender massive spatial and social changes in the urban landscape. City authorities renovate last swaths of urban fabrics in the name of historic preservation and of the 'common good,' but this often means that local residents are evicted while private developers allied with these authorities realize huge profits by 'regenerating' depressed areas. Yet, local residents also resort to the language of heritage to combat their displacement and the destruction of their urban worlds. What are the consequences for those who cannot afford to live in the newly protected and restored quarters? What kinds of heritage rhetoric are being mobilized by involved actors? How do rooted political cultures shape the local instantiation of what appears like a global phenomenon? Recent urban struggles in the Middle East, Western Europe, or the Balkans reveal an inextricable link between heritagization and urban politics. We invite contributors to submit papers dealing with such link between heritagization and gentrification, housing struggles, and evictions, and attempt to offer cross-cultural insights into the contemporary politics of urban housing.