Waiting for War (and other Strategies to Stop Gentrification): the Case of Ras Beirut

Waiting for War (and other Strategies to Stop Gentrification): the Case of Ras Beirut

by Robert Ross and Lamis Jamil

 

Analyses of gentrification have found a wide variety of causes and strong evidence that it leads to residential displacement. Insofar then that gentrification can be seen as a problem, there is an alarming need to develop appropriate solutions. Most researchers have only tacitly offered possible strategies for limiting gentrification. Moreover, most of these solutions rely on market-based approaches, which seek to manipulate conditions that appear to cause or limit gentrification, rather than aiming at its foundations. Researchers and policy makers have thus failed to address the root cause of the phenomenon—capitalist urbanization. This paper uses the case of gentrification in Beirut to illustrate the dangers of market-based approaches to studying and confronting gentrification. It concludes that we can stop gentrification by removing housing from the ironclad grip of capitalist commodification and exchange.

 

Los estudios sobre Gentrificacion han reportado diversas causas y clara evidencia de desplazamiento residencial. Debido a que la gentrificacion se considera un problema serio se ha identificado la necesidad de proponer soluciones adecuadas. La mayoria de los investigadores simplemente han sugerido estrategias para limitar la gentrificacion. Sin embargo, muchas de estas soluciones se basan en modelos de mercado que buscan manipular las condiciones que causan o limitan la gentrificacion pero no se enfocan en los fundamentos del proceso. Investigadores y legisladores han fracasado en sus intentos por dirigirse a la causa principal del fenonomeno –la urbanizacion capitalista. Utilizando el caso de la gentrificacion en Beirut, este articulo busca mostrar los peligros de los modelos de mercado para estudiar y enfrentar la gentrificacion. El articulo concluye que es posible detener la gentrificacion si se extrae la vivienda del modelo capitalista de comodificacion e intercambio.

 

Keywords: Beirut, commodification, displacement, gentrification, market-based approaches