Urban Amenities, Cultural Consumption, and the Proliferation of Middle-Class Lifestyles and Identities
How does cultural consumption impact middle-class lifestyles and identities, and — in more general terms — how does this affect the sense of place and the right to the city?
The project revolves around the interrelationship of amenities, cultural consumption and urban identity. Particularly in the case of gentrifying neighborhoods, the arrival of trendy new consumer hotspots – coffeehouses, craft breweries, yoga studios and the like – can give impetus to what is often called the ‘urban commons’. They have a strong impact on citizens’ identity, lifestyle and social integration – particularly within the younger middle class. But at the same time, they raise questions about social cohesion in these bakfietsbuurten [‘cargo bike neighborhoods’, named after a form of transport popular with the middle class]. There’s a risk that the proliferation of such amenities, a development that is enthusiastically encouraged by municipal administrators and housing corporations, will further erode existing ties within the community and affect equal opportunity and citizens’ entitlement to the urban environment.
van Eck, E., I. Hagemans & J. Rath (2020) The Ambiguity of Diversity: Management of ethnic and class transitions in a gentrifying local shopping street, Urban Studies, 57(16): 3299–3314
Shaker Ardekani, R. and J. Rath (2020) ‘Coffee People in Tehran, Glasgow, and Amsterdam’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 20(1): 122–140.
Shaker Ardekani, R. and J. Rath (2019) ‘The Coffee Scene in Glasgow’s West End: On the class practices of the new urban middle classes’, City, Culture and Society, June, 17: 1-7.