Stretching urban renaissance: privatizing space, civilizing place, summoning 'community'

Johnstone, Craig and MacLeod, Gordon (2012) Stretching urban renaissance: privatizing space, civilizing place, summoning 'community' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 36 (1). pp. 1-28. ISSN 0309-1317

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In common with many countries in recent years, visions of an urban renaissance have been instrumental in guiding a transformation of England's cities, enabling a boom in economic development and ‘urban living’. However, while critics voice concerns about the renascent downtowns being increasingly privatized and inscribed through displacement-inducing gentrification, a seemingly inexorable rise in inequality also prompts misgivings about the social and geographical reach of any purported renaissance. Appreciative of this, the New Labour government introduced as part of its sustainable communities plan an initiative called Housing Market Renewal, designed to reconnect distressed areas of ‘low demand’ to the vibrant city centres. However, the extent to which this endeavour to stretch the frontier of England's urban renaissance is premised upon a fundamentalist faith in private property inclines us to delineate it as an archetypical case of late-neoliberalizing accumulation by dispossession that licenses state-orchestrated gentrification. We go on to consider how the landscape conversions precipitated by the renaissance vision have been convened alongside an unprecedented expansion of policies for crime control, designed to instil a particular version of ‘civility’ within the urban and suburban vernacular. The article thereby reveals how politically orchestrated endeavours to induce an urban renaissance appear to be increasingly intertwined with gentrification and a punitive urbanism, and how this chimes with experiences across many parts of the urban world.

Item Type:Journal article
Additional Information:© 2011 The Authors. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research © 2011 Urban Research Publications Limited.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Accumulation by Dispossession; Gentrification; Punitive Urbanism; United Kingdom; England
Subjects:L000 Social Sciences
DOI (a stable link to the resource):10.1111/j.1468-2427.2011.01067.x
Faculties:Faculty of Health and Social Sciences > School of Applied Social Science
ID Code:8735
Deposited By:Converis
Deposited On:14 Jun 2011 14:36
Last Modified:10 Oct 2013 15:57

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