Resisting gentrification. Socio-spatial dynamics of three work places in Brussels

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An association working around the production of a biannual parade. A polyvalent organisation operating at the crossroads of culture and economy. A cooperative for entrepreneurs and precarious workers. The three of them being situated in some of the poorest neighbourhoods of Brussels and implying the renovation of former productive sheds. Their contribution looks crucial to bring back work in the city and in those areas that have been mostly affected by the deindustrialization processes started by the end of the 60s. While in the long term they may engender a gentrification process, the three of them are aware of this risk. Despite not defining themselves as social operators, they nevertheless could allow to resist it, by embedding in the local urban fabric, reshaping and renewing urbanity, although in very different ways and as part of very different strategies, in the case here observed mostly centred on redefining the relationship between work and life. Based on a research-by-design exercise, the paper will explore under which conditions new forms of working, a new approach to productivity and the related spatial dynamics could counterbalance potential gentrifying effects related to the improvement of problematic parts of the city. Keywords: work-and-life, gentrification, governance, urban ecosystems
Planning for Transition – book of proceedings 31; 2