Interrogating the Making of Place: Creative Practices, Gentrification and Affect

Seetzen, Heidi and Gullino, S. Interrogating the Making of Place: Creative Practices, Gentrification and Affect. In: Interviewing Spatiality: real places and metaphorical locations. Brill. (In Press)

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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is two-fold. First, focusing on a formerly squatted neighbourhood in South London it explores how ‘a sense of place’ might be created. In particular we look at the way in which informal creative practices contribute to the affective register of place, its sense of identity and the way in which memories are embedded. Second, in the context of the same case study it explores the complex layers of and responses to processes of gentrification. It suggests that our angry reaction to gentrification is not always or not only about the fear of being economically or socially displaced (although this of course continues to play a part). It is also about the reconfiguration of our relationship to place. In the context of our case-study inhabitants’ creative practices were threatened by contemporary processes of urban change. Like so many London neighbourhoods, the square our study focuses on is being progressively gentrified. Despite this, inhabitants have held on to older creative practices that originated during the time the square was squatted. These include the local organisation of street planting, the on-going maintenance of two public gardens, involvement in a local community centre and café, as well as a less tangible commitment by many of its inhabitants to staying involved in the creative maintenance of the square. Our analysis explores the way in which the identities, meanings, feelings and affects attached to the square were not just embedded in narratives, but actively produced through situated, embodied and creative practices. Drawing on a Lefebvrian critique of urban development, we emphasise the importance of such informal practices structured around everyday use, as well as spontaneity and self-management in the production of a vibrant urban culture and life, and explore how such practices are threatened by contemporary processes of urban change.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Place-making, creative practices, gentrification, urban development, informal practices, squatting, London.
Subjects: CAH13 - architecture, building and planning > CAH13-01 - architecture, building and planning > CAH13-01-04 - planning (urban, rural and regional)
CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
CAH26 - geography, earth and environmental studies > CAH26-01 - geography, earth and environmental studies > CAH26-01-03 - human geography
Divisions: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment > School of Engineering and the Built Environment
Depositing User: Silvia Gullino
Date Deposited: 06 May 2022 15:10
Last Modified: 06 May 2022 15:10
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13209

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