chapter  7
27 Pages

CATCH-22 The gentrification of Harlem?

If gentrification began as a relatively isolated happening in the housing markets of a few select neighborhoods in the largest cities of North America, Europe and Australia, by the late 1970s (following a global economic recession) it had become an increasingly pervasive, trenchant and systematic occurrence. Reinvestment in urban middle-class residential rehabilitation and redevelopment had become more and more synchronized with a larger economic, political and social restructuring which, since the 1970s, has systematically altered the physical landscapes and cultural and economic geographies of cities up and down the urban hierarchy (Fainstein and Fainstein 1982; Kendig 1984; Williams 1984b; M.P.Smith 1984; N.Smith and Williams 1986; Beauregard 1989). Along with residential restructuring, this process often involves a partial recentralization of some professional, financial and producer services employment in new downtown office complexes; commercial revitalization (a “boutiquing” of central city neighborhoods); a dramatic expansion in upscale recreational and cultural facilities (restaurants, fern bars, art galleries, discos) as well as mixed-use urban spectacle projects from marinas to “tourist arcades” (Baltimore’s Harborplace or London’s St. Katharine’s Dock, for instance).