New Global Studies
Ed. by Chanda, Nayan / Iriye, Akira / Mazlish, Bruce / Sassen, Saskia
Anti-gentrification Campaigns and the Fight for Local Control in California Cities
Gentrification is integral to the functioning of global cities: international developers raze old housing and renovate industrial lofts for elite service workers seeking central-city accommodations. In the process, local real estate markets heat up and working-class residents find themselves priced out, displaced more often than not to peripheral sites of the global metropolis. In Californian communities in downtown and the east side of Los Angeles, the Mission in San Francisco, and Barrio Logan in San Diego, however, residents rejected this process of involuntary movement, instead arguing for the value of historically rich, rooted communities. In what appeared to be a wave of anti-global activism beginning in the 1980s, residents worked to regain control over their local communities through a variety of strategies including the deliberate deployment of local culture and arts, and the increasingly savvy use of media and public relations. With these tools, anti-gentrifiers asserted ownership without property titles, housing rights without mortgages, and community buy-in without cash deposits. Anti-gentrification movements thus constituted a direct challenge to the workings of the global city while also feeding into a global movement to restore political power to the grassroots.