‘It is natural’: sustained place attachment of long-term residents in a gentrifying Prague neighbourhood
SÝKORA, J., HORŇÁKOVÁ M., VISSER, K., BOLT, G. (2022): ‘It is natural’: sustained place attachment of long-term residents in a gentrifying Prague neighbourhood. Social & Cultural Geography.
Recently, post-socialist inner cities have been transforming through various processes of revitalisation and gentrification. The resulting physical and social contrasts of neighbouring localities lead to the spatial fragmentation of inner-city areas that may produce variegated effects on the everyday life of local residents. This paper examines how long-term residents of an inner-city neighbourhood in Prague undergoing residential and commercial gentrification have perceived and lived through its change. Specifically, it reveals how the ongoing changes influence residents’ place attachment. The paper relies upon qualitative methodology using semi-structured in-depth interviews with long-term inhabitants (>20 years). Empirical findings point to a strong and stable place attachment, despite ambivalent attitudes towards recent changes related to gentrification. The effect of gentrification on place attachment appears to be relatively limited. Many residents acknowledge that gentrification has reversed the deterioration that characterised the neighbourhood in the past. Moreover, negatively perceived changes to the neighbourhood are often not attributed primarily to the gentrification process but understood as a natural part of residents’ own ageing, wider societal changes, and historical development of the neighbourhood. The article highlights the need to investigate the personal, spatial and temporal contexts to comprehend the complex effects of gentrification on long-term residents.