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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Looking Beyond the Blighted Surface: The Gaze of Redevelopment and the Immigrants' Milieu

  • Author(s): Sandoval, Gerardo
  • et al.

This working paper traces a historical contestation between the immigrants’ milieu and the gaze of redevelopment. A central theme within that history has been the constant effort to target and implement revitalization programs in immigrant neighborhoods. As Central Business District (CBD) elites seek to capitalize on regenerative low-income areas, low-income immigrant neighborhoods have had to struggle for the maintenance and survival of their communities. These immigrant ethnic neighborhoods, however, possess a rich mixture of social, economic, political, and cultural capital (“the immigrants’ milieu”) which both attracts the “gaze” of redevelopment and offers potential resources for the neighborhoods’ survival. The contestation has greatly influenced the field of city planning during three time periods: the mid-19th century, as planning emerged as a profession; the 1960’s, as city planners embarked upon a new wave of urban renewal projects; and today, as cities revitalize their CBD’s in the face of globalization.

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