Gentrification as settler colonialism: Margaret Ellis-Young, ‘Gentrification as (settler) colonialism? Moving beyond metaphorical linkages’, Geography Compass, 2021


Abstract: Emerging discussions on the “settler colonial city” present a new agenda for gentrification research in settler colonial contexts. Accordingly, this paper examines the extent to which the gentrification literature engages with settler colonial dynamics, identifying three overarching approaches. While a small but growing body of literature frames gentrification as a contemporary mechanism of Indigenous erasure, other approaches engage with concepts of settler colonialism in abstraction from contemporary Indigenous life and claims to urban space. The paper argues the persistence of these abstractions undermines the recognition of settler colonial gentrification as Indigenous erasure and limits the current potential for the gentrification literature to contribute to the disruption of settler colonial relations. In response, there is a need for further empirical and theoretical work that attends to the impulse for Indigenous elimination as a unique dimension of gentrification in settler colonial contexts. Insight from literature on the “settler colonial city” underlines the particular importance of extending conceptions of anti-gentrification resistance to emphasize Indigenous refusal of gentrified futures and examine how (settler-led) anti-gentrification responses disrupt or sustain settler colonial relations. These directions provide opportunities to (re)conceptualize gentrification and its responses in ways that address the reproduction of (dis)possessory settler colonial relations while recognizing “the flourishing of Indigenous life” 

%d bloggers like this: