In the face of gentrification: the changing identities of working-class neighbourhoods in the inner-city of Prague
The project analyses two selected gentrifying inner-city neighbourhoods, Karlín and Smíchov, identifies the changes in the urban physical and socio-cultural landscape, reflects upon their implications, and investigates the identity construction of these changing neighbourhoods.
As a form of the urban transformation process, gentrification changes the neighborhood’s physical landscape, social environment and identity. Focusing on two selected gentrifying inner-city neighborhoods, Karlín and Smíchov, the research delineates the changes in the urban physical and socio-cultural landscape. The project aims to identify changes, reflect upon their implications, and investigate the identity construction of these changing neighborhoods. The research seeks to bring together mainly qualitative but also a quantitative approach in analyzing socio-spatial changes in the context of gentrification.The research employs different methods such as analysis of population data, ethnographic observation, photo documentation, mapping, semi-structured interviews, policy and development plan analysis, and media discourse and narrative analysis. The research outcome is gaining more in-depth insight into the effects of gentrification on the identity of two former working-class neighborhoods and offering predictions on how these neighborhoods are affected in the longer term.
Timeline of the research activities:
January – March: 1.a. Literature review
April: 1.b. Empirical research: identifying shape, location, borders and specificities of Karlín and Smíchov.
May – June: 2.a. Collecting and analyzing census and migration data and register of foreigners.
July: 2.b. Collecting information on services, facilities, and economic and cultural activities through observations and web page analysis and mapping them, presenting the preliminary findings at RC21 – Conference 2021 Antwerp in Belgium.
August: 2.c. Summarizing the main functions of the neighborhood through observations and looking at land use, and determining which function dominates.
September: 2.d. Ethnographic observations, photo documentation of the chosen sights, mapping of elements. Publishing maps on the webpage of the project. Presenting the preliminary findings at the conference “Cities After Transition” (CATference) in Hungary (most probably in Budapest).
October – December: 2.e. Media discourse analysis.
January – June: 2.f. Preparation and submission of the first article.
July – August: 3.a. Preparation of the interview questionnaires (different questionnaires based on roles – old residents, new residents, local politicians, employees of Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Praha), developers, urban planners, NGOs, activist organisations, academics). Testing the questionnaires and sending interview invitations to the stakeholders.
September – December: 3.a. Carrying out the interviews. In-person interviews are preferred, but online or electronic surveys will be employed if the situation does not allow it.
January – April: 3.b. Narrative analysis based on the interview results.
May – December: 3.c. Preparation and submission of the second article.
Throughout the first year, the research focused on three goals. The first was understanding and studying the physical, social and cultural changes in Karlín and Smíchov neighbourhoods. The second goal was to analyze how the two neighbourhoods are perceived and represented in the media and what message and meaning the media conveys. Finally, the third goal was to gain insight into how their residents and users perceive and use the neighbourhoods.
Since some research activities were carried out after the last conference or there was insufficient time to analyze before the conference, the results were partially presented at four international conferences and focused on one neighbourhood, Karlín. Therefore, a comprehensive overview of the first-year research results will be presented at conferences during the second year.
Throughout the second year, the research focused on 4 goals. The first was to compare and explain the socio-demographic composition of in-migration and out-migration populations from potentially gentrified neighbourhoods in the inner city of Prague in the period between 2000 and 2020.
The second goal was to continue with ethnographic and participatory observations and update the discourse analysis with new articles and media materials.
The third goal, as a supervisor of a bachelor thesis, with my student we look at the conditions of the housing stock in Smichov and work on the actors’ map.
Lastly, as a co-advisor of a master thesis which focuses on how the two gentrifying neighbourhoods are perceived, with the student, we have prepared the interview questions, and we will continue collecting the interviews.
7-9.7.2023, in Zurich (CH), SHCONF 6th World Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities, Research project: Urban transformation: manifold and multifaceted processes in formerly working-class neighbourhoods of Prague.
29.5-4.6.2023, in Zurich (CH), INURA 31st Conference ‘Right to the Planet. Reconsidering the Urban Question.’, Research project: Urban transformation: manifold and multifaceted processes in formerly working-class neighbourhoods of Prague.
30.8-2.9.2022, in Barcelona (ESP), ENHR ‘The struggle for the right to housing. The pressures of globalization and affordability in cities today.’, Research project: Gentrification as rejuvenation of consumption, but also its population?.
25-29.7.2022, in Tartu (EE), AESOP 2022 Congress ‘Space for Species: Redefining Spatial Justice’. Research project: Urban transformation: manifold and multifaceted processes in formerly working-class neighbourhoods of Prague.
27.6-1.7.2022, in Budapest (HU), CATference. Research project: Changes in the socio-demographic composition and potential gentrification in formerly working-class neighbourhoods of Prague (together with doc. Martin Ouředníček).
4-6.11.2021, in Prague (CZ), Urban Movements and Local Politics in CEE Countries: Recent Developments and Conceptual Ambivalences. Research project: From a former industrial neighbourhood to a creative-class oasis: A case study of Karlín, the inner-city neighbourhood of Prague. Presentation (together with Greta Kukeli).
9-11.09.2021, in Novi Sad (RS), 5th Serbian Congress of Geographers, Research project: From a former industrial neighbourhood to a creative class oasis: A case study of Karlín, the inner-city neighbourhood of Prague. Presentation (together with Greta Kukeli).
14-16.07.2021, in Antwerp (BE), RC21 Conference on Sensing the City, Research project: From a former industrial neighbourhood to a creative class oasis: A case study of Karlín, the inner-city neighbourhood of Prague. Presentation (together with Greta Kukeli).