Call for Contributions / Participation: Contesting Displacement in Urban Regeneration

Stuart Hodkinson s.n.hodkinson at
Mon Jan 19 15:00:43 GMT 2009

Please forward widely - apologies for cross-posting

2009 Conference of the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG), 26-28 August 2009, Manchester


First Call for Contributions to following session:


The 'Right to Stay Put': Contesting Displacement in Urban Regeneration / Development Schemes


Sponsored by the Participatory Geographies Research Group


Session Organisers:


Chris Allen (Manchester Metropolitan University); Lee Crookes (University of Sheffield); Stuart Hodkinson (University of Leeds); Tom Slater (University of Edinburgh)


It is now 25 years since Chester Hartman first advanced the notion of the 'right to stay put' for lower income group struggles against gentrification.  Since then, gentrification and related processes of privatisation and marketisation have become integral to neoliberal urban strategies across the world. In Britain, 'state-led gentrification' (Davidson 2007) now impels urban regeneration schemes such as Housing Market Renewal (Allen 2008) and even the government's council housing modernisation programme 'Decent Homes'.  Despite this proliferation, academics have generally responded poorly to Hartman's call to arms.  Rather, as Slater observes (2006, 2008), gentrification research has generally lost its critical edge, and from some quarters gentrification has even been celebrated as beneficial to incumbent low-income groups (Freeman, 2006; Vigdor, 2002).  This is not our experience and with this session we seek to restore Hartman's principle to the heart of gentrification research by inviting contributions from activist geographers in the widest sense of the term (academics, teachers, housing professionals, campaigners, trade unionists and ordinary residents) to share and exchange their experiences, insights and methods to better defend people's 'right to stay put'.  In the spirit of making geography 'relevant' beyond the policy-academy complex, the session will have a practical orientation and welcomes submissions in a wide range of formats that offer reflections, stories, tactics, lessons and strategies for developing successful urban resistances.  The aims are to:  (1) share experiences and develop practical knowledges about what works in urban resistance;  (2) create an educational space for encounter and dialogue between those involved in similar critical work and activism;  and (3) start to develop an action research network and a knowledge/resource base for wider dissemination.


We seek ideas for participation which address some or more of the following themes:


Grassroots knowledges about gentrification and resistance  

Examples of (un)successful individual or collective resistance

Developing strategies and tactics of urban resistance  

Power, counter-power, resources, methodological innovations

The planning system, public inquiries, community planning 

Legal challenges to evictions and Compulsory Purchase Orders 

Human rights issues with respect to land and home

Using the Freedom of Information Act and other research methods

Alternatives to gentrification / displacement / privatisation 

Implications of the new Homes and Communities Agency

Roles, responsibilities and experiences of academics and other educators in resistance 

Alliance building and creating a UK Right to the City movement


We want to hear from people who are interested in participating in the session in whatever way they can. Please send a proposal with title and short summary (250 words) for participation which should outline the following:


1.    Who you are and why you are interested in participating in the session


2.    What kind of involvement/experience you have with opposing gentrification


3.    Details of the contribution you would like to make to the session (example might include: show a film, give a short talk, tell a story, bring some visitors to participate or anything else you think would make a useful contribution to the debate)


4.    Details of the kinds of equipment (audio-visual, for example) or support you might need for your contribution 


Please send your proposals by the 15 February 2009 at the latest to L.Crookes at


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