Dr. Matthias Bernt (Department of Sociology, Helmholtz Centre, Leipzig): The relationship between gentrification and public policy in Berlin - a conversation with London.
6pm Thursday 8th May 2014
UCL Pearson Building, Exhibition Room GO07, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT. (see www.ucl.ac.uk/maps)
Chair: Professor Loretta Lees (Co-organiser Urban Salon)
Panel of discussants: Tim Butler (KCL), James Fourniere (KCL), Juliet Kahne (KCL), Alan Latham (UCL), Richard Lee (Just Space), Paul Watt (Birkbeck).
Abstract: Over the last years, an increasing number of scholarly contributions have become interested in the interrelation of gentrification and public policies. Thereby, the idea that public policies today have become a main driver of gentrification has become a somewhat commonly understood fact.
This talk takes issue with this view. It explores the changing interrelation of gentrification and public policy in the neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg (Berlin) and argues that while demise in the face of market forces is clearly visible here, the scope of relations between public policies and gentrification is much wider and more complex. The reason for this is the double-character of housing as a commodity and a social right which leads to highly unstable and contradictory regeneration policies.
Against this background I call for more awareness to varying national and local policy contexts in gentrification research. I argue that what is widely coined as “gentrification” is in fact an umbrella term for fairly disparate socio-spatial formations which are marked by different policies and state structures and result in different dynamics of regeneration and population change.