The Design of Gentrification
Description of the project
“The Design of Gentrification” is the name I chose for my graduation project. It is based on a piece of research which describes the city of Rotterdam as constantly changing due to a process of constant displacement called gentrification. However, I wanted to investigate not only the phenomenon by itself but also the role of creatives – such as myself – in this complex social issue which has left many people really sour.
Gentrifying policies, which often hide behind the terms of neighbourhood “renewal” or “renovation”, target poorer neighbourhoods of Rotterdam to make them more livable by pushing away local and international precarious workers and replacing them with middle-class residents. This displacement can be witnessed through the demolition of social housing, an increase of private-owned houses, the absence of urban social planning and the introduction of overpriced bars and restaurants in lower-income districts of the city. As a consequence, people are either forced or pushed to leave due to many factors which are listed in the magazine.
As artists and designers coming from different countries, we are often unaware of our position within gentrification or we don’t really know what it is about. However, it is important, especially for creatives, to understand that we are often used and perceived as a tool or even one of the main actors in this widely spread phenomenon.
Throughout this self-published magazine, I wanted to talk about this controversy and untold truths which are often hidden behind the municipality’s agenda. I have hosted interviews with local citizens, designers, cultural workers, students and teachers who were willing to disclose their own experiences – often lived in the first person – and shed some light on what can be done to reclaim spaces that have been systematically neglected to be later stripped out and white-washed from their “sauce”.
Gentrification, Rotterdam, Diversity, Creatives, Cultural workers, Urban renewal, Displacement.