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The gentrification of a post-industrial English rural village: Querying urban planetary perspectives

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-08-09, 08:37 authored by M Phillips, D Smith, H Brooking, M Duer
Recent years have seen the growth of planetary perspectives related to urbanisation and gentrification that have challenged the significance of differentiations of rural and urban space. This paper explores the arguments advanced in these perspectives, highlighting claims that they are based on a critique of methodological territorialism that has long been employed in rural and urban studies, as well as exhibiting an urbanormativity that was arguably absent from some earlier critiques of people such as Ray Pahl. This paper seeks to develop a study of rural gentrification that avoids urbanormativity and methodological territorialism. After reviewing debates related to academic and lay conceptions of the urban and rural, the paper highlights how territorial representations may warrant investigation even when social practices may be seen to routinely traverse boundaries of, for example, the rural. The relevance of these ideas to gentrification is then explored through an investigation of the gentrification of a village, which like many ‘urban’ settlements, has experienced both industrialisation and de-industrialisation. Drawing on the results of a ‘mixed-method questionnaire’ conducted in this village in Calderdale, England, the paper explores how the lives of residents are connected into more and less distant urban spaces through an analysis of migrational movements and employment relations, including commuting patterns. It is argued that, in line with arguments advanced within studies of planetary urbanisation/gentrification, there is considerable interconnection between the village and areas that have been classified as urban. However, it is also shown that neither this interconnection, nor the areas industrial past, means that symbolic and affective senses of rurality are insignificant to village residents, or to the practices of gentrification that have emerged. This did not mean that representations of rurality were unimpacted by industry and urban connectivity, with the paper detailing that whilst the village was widely seen as rural, it was also often seen as exhibiting significant unconformity from expectations of rurality. The paper ends by considering how senses of separation and connectivity to urban and industrial spaces link to different types of gentrifiers colonising the village.



Phillips, Martin, et al. "The gentrification of a post-industrial English rural village: Querying urban planetary perspectives." Journal of Rural Studies 91 (2022): 108-125.

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School of Geography, Geology and Environment


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Journal of Rural Studies




108 - 125





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