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It is impressive for me to read Xinmin’s blog on gentrification, since I have paid much attention to this phenomenon that usually takes place during urban regeneration. In Xinmin’s blog, she took an example of Nanjing’s downtown development to analyse the relationship between gentrification and gated neighbourhood. It is beyond my knowledge that Xinmin attached gentrification to spatial impact upon cities, which inspires me.

An International Expert form the UK, Loretta Lees (2008) concluded that gentrification, actually, is an aggressive action for middle classes to retake the inner city. Although China experienced totally different history and adopted different policies from the western worlds in the past, nowadays, gentrification is also common in China. On the one hand, middle classes urge to settle down in the key areas namely city centre; on the other hand, they are targeted by downtown housing estate. So as Xinmin said, lots of gated communities are built rapidly in the areas within sight of central areas, such as the waterfront of Xuanwu Lake and Qinhuai River in Nanjing, China, which are gated in order to satisfy the demand of middle classes. During this process, gentrification leads to two kinds of segregation, one is social level between the working classes and the middle classes, and the other is spatial segregation due to gated community.

Gentrification is the transformation of a working-class or vacant area of the central city into middle-class residential or commercial use. (Lees, Slater and Wyly, 2010, p. xv)

Based on above definition of gentrification, it reveals two kind of spatial gentrification. the first one is to gentrify the existing buildings (Fig.1). The second one is to gentrify the empty lands, similar to Xinmin’s cases.

Fig.1 An image contrasting original and gentrified housing. (Source: Madam Noire, 2011)

In the micro level, Xinmin analysed that gentrification led to segregation, while in the macro level, it led to fragment due to segregation, which is critical, I think. Gated neighbourhood gradually took place of the original urban fabric that was put into strict order. “Simultaneously, the mosaic spatial segregation between new and old, lower and higher income areas intermingle with each other.”

In conclusion, Xinmin’s blog shared a whole new perspective of how gentrification influence our urban fabric and community form to me, which is help me get a better understanding of gentrification.


References:

[1] Lees, L., Slater, T. & Wyly, E.K. (2010). The gentrification reader, New York: Routledge.

[2] Lees L. (2008) Gentrification and Social Mixing: Towards an Inclusive Urban Renaissance? Urban Studies, 45(12), pp.2449–2470.

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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