WPS No.29 | Hochstenbach, C. (2018) | The age dimensions of urban change and socio-spatial inequality
Age is not very often explicitly integrated into analyses of urban socio-spatial inequality. This working paper by Cody Hochstenbach makes an effort to do so, and shows how this helps us understand how gentrification progresses over time, takes on new forms and expands into areas previously left untouched.
Contemporary societal transformations are marked by particular age dynamics and shifting fault lines between generations. Growing divides between young and old have been signaled out as a key concern, for example on the housing market where especially the young struggle to acquire secure housing. Such age relations may also play an important role in broader socio- spatial changes in cities. However, age is not very often explicitly integrated into analyses of urban socio-spatial inequality. This paper makes an effort to do so, drawing on the case of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). First, by placing age center stage, it shows how aggregate urban upgrading comes about. Some age groups drive urban upgrading more than others, while still other age groups have become poorer, dampening upgrading. Second, geographies of affluence and poverty differ substantially between age groups. While affluent elderly concentrate in the most privileged areas, and increasingly so, younger generations move to neighborhoods lower on the urban hierarchy. Third, at any one point multiple generations are involved in driving neighborhood gentrification. An explicit incorporation of age dynamics thus help us understand how gentrification progresses over time, takes on new forms and expands into areas previously left untouched.