GLOBAL ARGUMENTS Uneven development
Gentrification is the product of local housing markets, and for that reason I tried in the preceding chapter to begin to theorize the process largely at the local scale. The rent gap theory speaks to the relationship between individual structures and lots and neighborhood-scale dynamics in the land and housing markets; it involves a knowledge of specific actors in these markets, and refers to the history of investment and disinvestment at the neighborhood scale. But in addition to these local dynamics, gentrification represents a significant historical geographical reversal of assumed patterns of urban growth intimately connected to a wider frame of political-economic change. Gentrification occurs in cities in at least three continents, and is closely connected with what came in the 1980s to be seen as “globalization.” We need, then, to come at gentrification from the other side as well, from its position in the global economy. This is perhaps best achieved by trying to understand gentrification in terms of the “uneven development” of the global and national economies.