Gentrification and Heritage Conservation | Fall 2018
- Guest Editors: Caroline Cheong and Kecia Fong
The term gentrification is used to describe both a process and outcome of physical, socioeconomic, and demographic neighborhood change. Its association with the displacement of low-income households by wealthier ones has overshadowed more nuanced understandings of the relationship between the historic built environment, conservation, and gentrification. This issue seeks to address this under-examined intersection. According to Rose (2001), neighborhoods with a high likelihood for gentrifying exhibit five key attributes: 1) a high percentage of renters; 2) easy access to the central business district; 3) location within a region of increasing metropolitan density; 4) high architectural value; and 5) relatively low housing values. In this schema, urban conservation is commonly considered to be a precursor to gentrification, particularly in distressed historic areas (Smith 1998; Glaser 2010).
Gentrification drivers span from market trends to government-sponsored initiatives. In a market-led context, undervalued historic neighborhoods contain desirable attributes for incoming households, not least of which is the sense of place and continuity inherent within the historic built environment. In public scenarios, governments explicitly target historic neighborhoods for regeneration. In nearly all cases, existing, usually low or middle income households, face potential displacement. While gentrification has received ample scholarly attention, its occurrence in historic areas – and its interaction with heritage – is less thoroughly documented. This issue interrogates the relationship, past and present, between gentrification and heritage conservation. It does so by exploring questions related to heritage conservation in changing neighborhoods such as: Are historic neighborhoods necessarily targets for gentrification? What are the challenges and opportunities facing these areas, or those that are presently or have already undergone such processes? What other, more inclusive scenarios exist wherein urban conservation serves as a vehicle for neighborhood preservation? How can historians, conservation professionals, planners, and others allow for the concomitant retention of heritage and regeneration values? What variables are required in negotiating this balance? Who are the primary stakeholders and what roles do they play in the process of neighborhood change?
We welcome contributions from US and international contexts on a range of topics: researching and documenting place-based gentrification in historic contexts; exploring rural, urban, and suburban gentrification and conservation dynamics; equity issues related to changing historic areas; and solutions for managing neighborhood change in historic areas. Submissions may include, but are not limited to, case studies, theoretical explorations, and evaluations of current practices or policy programs.
Abstracts of 200-300 words are due 1 July 2017.
Contact Info: Lucy Midelfort, Assistant Editor, Change Over Time (lucymid[at]UPENN.EDU)
Change Over Time is a semiannual journal publishing original articles on the history, theory, and praxis of conservation and the built environment. Each issue is dedicated to a particular theme as a method to promote critical discourse on contemporary conservation issues from multiple perspectives both within the field and across disciplines. Themes are examined at all scales, from the global and regional to the microscopic and material.