Atomized Gentrification: Exploring the Role of Contextual Factors on the Transformation of the Albayzin

By Ricardo Duque, Joaquín Susino and Juan Carlos De Pablos.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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This paper presents the conclusions of five years of research in a gentrifying quarter, the Albayzin in Granada, Spain. For the time being, gentrification studies in Southern Europe's cities are still scarce and incomplete, and usually show a lag between (international) theory and (local) empirical data. The distinctive features of this area and its context are both peculiar, and have an important role altering the way changes are taking place. The use of a wide methodological approach has allowed us to draw a detailed picture of the process. During the research period we have done a review of historical sources, an analysis of demographic databases, conducted a qualitative fieldwork (based on interviews and focus groups) and even explored the visual analysis of the anti-gentrification graffiti. We have found evidence of a process of gentrification in this former working-class area in from the 70’s on. But the transformation of the neighbourhood is still incomplete in 2012. Gentrification in the Albayzin is not simply slower, but different. It affects the way old and new inhabitants see –and treat- each other. The role of the individual, public and corporate agents varies. Even the consequences of the phenomenon are not the same, with population displacement working on a generational time scale. As the building renewal takes place in small buildings, sometimes affecting housing units one by one, we address this process as an “atomized gentrification”. Regarding the subsequent importance of these findings, we are convinced about the usefulness of our results to study—and understand—gentrification processes in other cities, specially those with a similar historical and urban background.

Keywords: Atomized Gentrification, Displacement, Old Quarter, Southern Europe, Contextual Features

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.29-39. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 501.524KB).

Ricardo Duque

Profesor Ayudante, Departamento de Sociología, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain

BA in Political Science and Sociology by the Universidad de Granada (Spain). He took his PhD in Sociology in 2011. Nowadays he works for the Universidad de Sevilla (Spain) as Profesor Ayudante Doctor.

Joaquín Susino

Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain

BA in Sociology and BA in Ecomomy, PhD in Sociology. He developed a successful professional career in public and private enterprises before he started to teach in the University. Currently he works as Profesor Contratado Doctor in the Universidad de Granada, Spain.

Juan Carlos De Pablos

Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain

BA in Philosophy and Literature, PhD in Sociology. Currently he works as Profesor Titular in the Universidad de Granada, Spain, where he has developed a consolidated teaching and researching trajectory.