This opinion article in The Guardian poses a timely question for those studying gentrification processes: Do these processes or urban transformation “create” culture or they are just supplanting existing ones? As more traditional shops are being replaced by international retail outlets in the centre of Lisbon, as traditional forms of nightlife are being supplanted by what we would call “socially sanitized urban nightscapes”, we need to get a better understanding the impact of gentrifying processes on the cultural fabric of the city.
Next week I will be presenting my research on the soundscapes of the Mouraria and the LXnight project in the seminar series organized by the Observatori d’Antropologia del Conflicte Urbà. A great opportunity to meet friends, reengage with the interesting research done by former colleagues of the Universitat de Barcelona, and consolidate our international research network.
New group meeting. This time to discuss the first draft our first collective article that will be submitted to a high-impact factor journal at the end of this year. The article is called to set the methodological foundations and identify the key concepts in our research project. Namely, the interplay between gentrification, studentification and the turistification of urban spaces in the production of a “sanitizied” nightscape in Lisbon’s historical neighborhoods. The meeting also served to get to the nitty gritty of a paper proposal for the 2015 Urban Affairs Association in Miami. Let’s cross fingers!
The summer has been an intense period of conference presentations for the LXnights project team members.
At the end of June we participated in Diversity in the City: Shifting Realities and Ways Forward, a conference organized by the CEG-IGOT at the Universidade de Lisboa. The conference brought together an enthusiastic crowd of international researchers to discuss issues such as migration, socio-spatial segregation, integration, cultural diversity and the arts, and urban transformations and diversity, among others. Our session was called “Ethnic Placing, Urban Redevelopment and Gentrification” and we had the opportunity to present some of the working hypothesis that inform our research project. We chose two contrasting and complementary case studies –Cais do Sodré and the Mouraria– to illustrate the connections between the promotion of certain modes of nightlife and the upscaling of particular areas of Lisbon. “From Cais do Sodré to the Mouraria. Nightlife, Gentrification and the Social Sanitization of Urban Space in Post-industrial Lisbon” was thus the first public presentation of the LXnights research project.
On July 9 and 10 two members of the LXnights project, Daniel e Iñigo, participated in an international research seminar under the title “Os usos do patrimonio e das memorias nos bairros ‘populares’ centrais” co-organized by the CITERES (Université François-Rabelais, Tours) and the CESNOVA (Universidade Nova de Lisboa). The seminar focused on Lisbon’s Mouraria quarter and the transformations that this traditional neighbourhood is undergoing as a result of the ongoing renewal programme implemented by the municipality since 2011. Daniel presented a historical genesis of the concept of “bairro tipico” and its importance in Lisbon’s public urban imagery. He stressed the validity of such a concept to describe and shape the experience of certain areas of the city of Lisbon. On the other hand, Iñigo’s presentation explored the impact of the renewal of the Mouraria on the sensory environment of the neighborhood. He argued that an analysis of the changing sonic environment of a neighbourhood in transformation such as the Mouraria can contribute to a better understanding of broader changes in the meaning, function and experience of urban space.
Last, but not least, Jordi Nofre travelled to Japan to participate in the XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology that took place in Yokohama. Jordi presented a paper titled “Geographies of the European Spring: The Case of #Spanishrevolution”. In this paper, he argues that the Spanish movement of Indignados and the series of protests known as the “Spanish spring” of 2011 show how the young, urban, modern Spain openly expresses that it is not willing to keep on badly surviving in the city while the rural Spain continues to lie in their country houses without showing any sign of entrepreneurship, awaiting the arrival public subsidies mainly funded by the European Comission as well as its Spanish wealthiest sisters regions.