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Gentrification a controversial and polemical term.

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Review of an article published in Spanish by DÍAZ PARRA, Ibán. La gentrificación en la cambiante estructura socioespacial de la ciudad [The gentrification in the changing socio-spatial structure of the city]. Biblio 3W. Revista Bibliográfica de
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  Review from an article from: DÍAZ PARRA, Ibán. La gentrificación en la cambiante estructura socioespacial de la ciudad.  Biblio 3W. Revista Bibliográfica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales . [En línea]. Barcelona: Universidad de Barcelona, 25 de junio de 2013, Vol. XVIII, n 1030. <http://www.ub.es/geocrit/b3w-1030.htm>. [ISSN 1138-9796]. Gentrification or elitisation is a controversial and complex term with strong ethical implications. However, as a complex phenomenon, it is inserted into a broader framework of social transformations in which the city is only a scenario wherein social inequalities are spatially reproduced. In the context of a post-industrial society that turns the city into a consumer object inserted into the dynamics of the social changes occurring rapidly in today’s society, at the gates of an unprecedented economic and technological change, the fourth industrial revolution will send workers not demanded by the new productive system in the making into either employment or underemployment. In this context, the city is a product that reflects social tensions and the growing social polarisation between the rich and poor, which responds to the skill differences between highly skilled, highly educated and low-skilled sectors of the population who can only aspire for low-skilled  jobs. This will change life as we know it, heading towards a more unequal society wherein the gap between the very rich and the very poor widens increasingly; all the more so when a massive disappearance of manual jobs through robotisation and automation is foreseen. It is true that new jobs will emerge. However, not everyone will be able to access the skills required by these new jobs or employment niches. Thus, inequalities will be reproduced once again, in conjunction with a progressive impoverishment of the middle class. Welcome to the most unequal society in mankind’s history, in the framework of a deregulated economy, where economic neoliberalism prevails over social justice. Further, it is a question of finalising the social pact that allowed the existence of a welfare state, and at the gates of the fourth industrial revolution, this will leave no jobs for a certain section of workers owing to the automation of tasks. The aforementioned revolution will, at the same time, see the birth of the fourth world that will have as its central scenario the megacities, since these will be nothing more than a product of the society of that time, similar to what happened during the era of pre-industrial and industrial cities. Urban ecology deals with social or natural areas that are socially and ethnically distinct when the said feature is relevant. As described by Parra (2013) while citing Ley (1996), gentrification arises when inhabitants enjoy a high social status and demonstrate characteristics such as households with a high social status, usually without children, often unmarried, with more unmarried individuals than unmarried ones. This is because, if anything characterises the social changes within a society in transition to more profound and accelerated changes, it is the greater presence of more professional women than men,  primarily under 35 years of age, employed in the advanced services sector, who receive high salaries despite their age and identify ethnically with the Protestant white group (logically, in terms of its North American meaning). Gentrification signifies the spatial manifestation of this new group of rich individuals, whose wealth does not stem from their patrimony but from their salaries. In order for gentrification (elitisation in Spanish terms) to occur, three conditions are necessary. First, the invasion of an upper-class social group must occur, initially in a minority manner (invasion) and, later, in a massive way (succession). However, it must be specified that not every invasion and/or succession responds to gentrification. Second, residential filtration is also necessary, which is understood as the displacement of one social class by another that, in the case of elitisation, is up (filtering up), i.e., the neighbourhoods are rehabilitated for people with high incomes, so that when the dwellings or neighbourhoods age, it is possible that a new  invasion–succession will occur but with lower social classes or those with lower incomes (filtering down). Third, another fundamental question, as alluded by Parra (2013), “is the choice of the space that is going to be gentrified. They are spaces of investment or in  process of revaluation”, which have been completely rehabilitated or renovated with either private funding or public investments, which is quite serious. This is because in this regard, public money is used for lucrative purposes. However, we should not confuse rehabilitation, i.e. most common in the case of gentrification, with redevelopment, which is nothing more than letting the elderly die, in order to demolish their dilapidated houses and subsequently develop a building totally different from the previous one, according to the taste of demand. Nevertheless, just as how not every process of invasion and succession represents gentrification, not all processes of urban renewal are occupied by the upper classes. Thus, we should not confuse redevelopment with gentrification either. However, it is certain that, as a general rule, rehabilitation or renovation, irrespective of which option is selected, implies the displacement of poor inhabitants to another place in the city more in keeping with their social status (social expulsion), through the appropriation of the place by other classes during a process of socio-spatial competition, wherein the city is conceived as just another object of consumption. Today, the colonisation of historical spaces provides a privileged group certain transcendence and allows it to vindicate its social position from a central location, which is loaded with symbolism in the city. The consumption style of this new elite, i.e. the salaried bourgeoisie, presents a conspicuous character that emphasises the public display of the acquisition of goods. The desire to exhibit this capacity for consumption, in addition to the search for social relationships, is typical of single people or couples without children who seek public spaces for such exhibition and demonstration of relationships, something they find – as an ideal framework – in a space for the establishment of intense social relationships, which is so good for the development of interpersonal relationships, such as space of a city’s urban centre.

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Oct 13, 2019

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Oct 13, 2019
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