2007 volume 39(1) pages 10 – 31
doi:10.1068/a3970

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Préteceille E, 2007, "Is gentrification a useful paradigm to analyse social changes in the Paris metropolis?" Environment and Planning A 39(1) 10 – 31

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Is gentrification a useful paradigm to analyse social changes in the Paris metropolis?

Edmond Préteceille

Received 23 February 2006; in revised form 4 September 2006

Abstract. The category of gentrification has only recently began to be used for the study of French cities. The process through which working-class neighbourhoods became areas of upper-middle-class residence was earlier discussed as embourgeoisement, largely referred to as state intervention and seen as the effect of the permanent preference for central locations of higher categories. The detailed empirical examination of the Paris metropolis shows that such changes have indeed been occurring steadily over the last decades, but that the largest number of neighbourhoods experiencing that change of social profile are to be found in the first ring of banlieues and not in the central city. The analysis of the social profile of gentrifiers shows that it differs substantially between areas. Three main types of processes are identified: the first is the expansion of upper-class areas into adjacent working-class neighbourhoods, with an influx mainly of private-sector professionals, managers, and engineers; the second is upward social mobility of working-class areas, spatially and socially distinct from upper-class ones; and the third, which is found in a minority of cases only, resembles more the dominant model of gentrification, with a substantial contribution of professionals in public, scientific, media, and artistic occupations.

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