A new journal article reflecting on the notion of urban diversity in gentrification processes has now been published in the Urbanistica Tre special issue “Stay put! Anti-gentrification practices in Southern Europe” edited by Sandra Annunziata with a commentary by Loretta Lees.
Manzo, Lidia K.C. (2017). “Resisting Gentrification: the case for Diversity,” special issue “Stay put! Anti-gentrification practices in Southern Europe” in Urbanistica Tre, Journal of Urban Design and Planning of Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Vol. 5 , Iss. 13, 111-117. ISSN: ISSN: 2531-7091
Abstract: The endorsement of diversity has always been a hallmark of gentrification. Thus, my view is that practices of resistance that advocate for an idealized version of urban diversity per se do not produce socio-economic inclusiveness and tolerance. Rather, it is the ambiguous coalescence between the production and the consumption of diversity that, while enhancing a diverse plurality of dwellers, can give rise to a plurality of interests and goals that are often in conflict. Critical urban research involves examining the effects of diversity on the development of gentrification processes rather than simply assuming that the results of its practices of resistance will be beneficial. The interests or lifestyle of a group should not be favored simply because it is at a disadvantage. This occurred in Milan, where Chinese entrepreneurs were able to move from being dominated by the revanchist policies of the local government to being the dominant actors in the rise of a “commodified” multiethnic neighborhood. It is necessary to investigate whether such an action would displace other groups. This is exactly how the ambiguity of diversity emerges: on the one hand it defines urban appeal, fosters creativity, and breeds tolerance, while on the other hand, it can undermine democracy if individuals’ loyalty to group interests or symbols is greater than their interest in the common good.