1987 volume 19(9) pages 1175 – 1197

Cite as:
Munt I, 1987, "Economic restructuring, culture, and gentrification: a case study in Battersea, London" Environment and Planning A 19(9) 1175 – 1197

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Economic restructuring, culture, and gentrification: a case study in Battersea, London

I Munt

Received 15 April 1986; in revised form 12 November 1986

Abstract. The gentrification literature is initially reviewed in this paper, and Marxist, institutionalist, and individual approaches are distinguished. The theoretical and empirical weaknesses of each are indicated. It is argued that two factors are central to an understanding of gentrification: first, the economic restructuring of central London, which has resulted in the growth of corporate - professional employment; and second, demand factors that are divided into the economic and the environmental. In part 2 of the paper, Battersea (the case study area) is set within the context of Inner London and the Borough of Wandsworth, of which it is a part. Census data are used to indicate the marked changes in tenure, socioeconomic composition of residents, and the employment structure. Then in part 3, the characteristics of gentrifiers are examined through a survey conducted in an area of Battersea, and the expressed economic and cultural preferences of these gentrifiers are focused upon, therefore emphasising `demand'. It is argued that in stressing supply, Marxist and institutionalist explanations of gentrification have ignored demand, and that individualist work, which although recognises demand, fails to place it in the correct economic and cultural context. In sum, the restructuring of employment in central London and the factors of demand are seen as inextricably linked in an explanation of gentrification.

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