The Politics of Resistance: Restaurant Gentrification and the Fight for Space




Burnett, Katherine

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Urban redevelopment in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia, marginalizes low-income residents and threatens them with displacement. Site visits and an analysis of discourse suggest that gentrification and the establishment of new restaurants in the area have also contributed to a commodification of poverty. The impacts of restaurant gentrification provoke resistance, and the opening of a new restaurant accused of inviting voyeurism and objectifying neighbourhood residents has resulted in an indefinite picket out front. Interviews show that picketers are endeavouring both to stop gentrification and to win social housing and needed services for the area, while also attempting to create social, economic, and political change at a larger scale. The picket draws attention to the effects of restaurant gentrification on the neighbourhood and the disproportionate influence of the state apparatus on the Downtown Eastside, yet also seeks to preserve a heterotopic space as an alternative to a neoliberal urbanism.



activism, gentrification, restaurants, neoliberal urbanism, Vancouver, Downtown Eastside