The meaning of the built environment during gentrification in Canada

  • Hélène Bélanger


Regeneration of derelict neighborhoods is an objective of many (local) governments. Various approaches and actions, such as the revitalization of public spaces in residential environments, are assumed to benefit local residents. However, regeneration may attract a new population different from the local residents in socio-economic profiles and lifestyle choices. Of particular interest in this research project is the way in which the arrival of new residents influences how public spaces are used and appropriated by both new and long-time residents. Specifically, this paper explores the way long-time residents react to this form of invasion of their dwelling environment. Using a mixed-method approach, this study attempts to shed light on the possible conflicts over the sharing of a park located in the City of Montreal (Canada) and how these conflicts affect the meaning of the dwelling environment of the neighborhood’s residents. Results indicate that (1) there are tensions between long-time residents and newer ones about lifestyle choices and the model of development of the neighborhood, and (2) long-time residents’ reactions of what might be perceived as invasion didn’t lead to a territorial redefinition of home.


Dwelling environment Home Public space Appropriation Revitalization Montreal 



This study was made possible by the financial support of the PAFARC program of the Université du Québec à Montréal and the interuniversity network on urban and spatial studies Villes Régions Monde. I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. I would also like to thank the four students who participated actively in the fieldwork.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département d’études urbaines et touristiques, École des sciences de la gestionUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada

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