Aesthetics of Gentrification

Aesthetics of Gentrification: Art, Architecture, and Displacement

International Conference
UO Portland, April 5-6, 2019

Keynote Speakers:
Ayona Datta (Reader in Urban Futures, King’s College London)
Pheng Cheah (Professor of Rhetoric and Geography, University of California, Berkeley)

Organized by SLOW LAB, this interdisciplinary conference at UO Portland’s historic White Stag Block brings together scholars from across the humanities, social sciences, and art and design fields to explore the aesthetic dimensions of gentrification in the present era of accelerated urbanism.

Gentrification is reshaping cities worldwide, resulting in seductive spaces and exclusive communities that aspire to innovation, creativity, sustainability, and technological sophistication. Gentrification is also contributing to growing social-spatial division and urban inequality and precarity. In a time of escalating housing crisis and unaffordable cities, scholars speak of eco-gentrification, techno-gentrification, super-gentrification, and planetary-gentrification to describe the different forms and scales of involuntary displacement occurring in vulnerable communities in response to current patterns of development and the hype-driven discourses of the creative city, smart city, and sustainable city.

In this context, how do contemporary practices in art, architecture, and related fields help to produce or resist gentrification? What does gentrification look and feel like in specific sites and communities, and how is that appearance or feeling implicated in promoting stylized renewal to a privileged public? To what extent do the aesthetics of displacement travel globally between cities and cultures? And in what ways do those aesthetics express contested conditions of migration and mobility? Addressing such questions, this conference seeks to examine the relationship between aesthetics and gentrification in contemporary cities from multiple, comparative, and transnational perspectives.

Download the program here.

Christoph Lindner (
Raechel Root (
Gerardo Sandoval (