Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Urban Research

Exploring Resident Experiences of Indirect Displacement in a Neighbourhood Undergoing Gentrification: The Case of Saint-Henri in Montreal

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Urban Research

Exploring Resident Experiences of Indirect Displacement in a Neighbourhood Undergoing Gentrification: The Case of Saint-Henri in Montreal

Article excerpt


The recent proliferation of new-build gentrification has led researchers to emphasize the need to explore the effects of indirect displacement (i.e. the effects of changes caused by neighbourhood gentrification) as experienced by long-term residents (Davidson & Lees 2004). This paper develops a four-tiered indirect displacement typology sub-dividing the concept into: cultural displacement, social displacement, political displacement and housing market displacement. This framework is operationalized in a case study of Saint-Henri, a gentrifying neighbourhood in Montreal (Quebec, Canada), to assess whether it is useful in understanding the meanings of displacement in the lives of incumbent residents. The case study reveals that in Saint-Henri, social, cultural and housing market displacement are all relevant to understanding residents' experiences in the face of gentrification and mega-project development. There was not however, evidence of political displacement in Saint-Henri. For example, there were no indications of explicit conflicts between incumbent residents and incoming gentrifiers in trying to shape the future dimensions of place, as has been found elsewhere (see Davidson 2008).

Keywords: gentrification, mega-projects, indirect displacement, neighbourhoods, Saint-Henri, Montreal, Canada


Recemment, l'arrivee de ce qu'on appelle la << new-build gentrification >> a conduit les chercheurs a s'interroger sur les effets du deplacement indirect, c'est-a-dire les effets des changements causes par la gentrification dans un quartier, tels qu'ils sont vecus par les residents de longue date. Cette recherche developpe une typologie de deplacement indirect declinant le concept en quatre types : deplacement culturel, deplacement social, deplacement politique et deplacement relie au marche du logement. Afin de verifier si ce cadre permet de comprendre les significations du deplacement a partir du vecu des residents de longue date, il a ete mis a l'epreuve par l'etude du cas du quartier SaintHenri. L'etude revele que dans ce quartier de Montreal en voie de gentrification, les notions de deplacement social, deplacement culturel et deplacement relie au marche du logement permettent effectivement de comprendre les experiences vecues des anciens residents face a la gentrification et au developpement de megaprojets. Neanmoins, il n'y pas d'indications de deplacement politique a Saint-Henri; la recherche n'a pu mettre a jour de conflits explicites entre les anciens residents et les nouveaux arrivants qui essaient de faconner le futur du quartier, comme cela a ete constate ailleurs (voir Davidson 2008).

Mots cles: gentrification, embourgeoisement des quartiers, megaprojets, quartiers urbains, deplacement indirect, Saint-Henri, Montreal, Canada


In their quest to reimagine and re-appropriate large tracts of urban areas that have been rendered obsolete by deindustrialization, cities are increasingly moving towards mega-projects that combine diverse activities including recreation, culture, shopping and mixed-income housing, based in large part on the idea of adaptive reuse. By 2015, Montreal's McGill University Health Centre mega-hospital will be completed on a former railway yard (Glen Yard), creating demand for housing in adjacent areas as employees seek to live closer to work. This is likely to accelerate gentrification in the adjacent Saint-Henri neighbourhood, where redevelopment of the Lachine Canal-designated a recreational corridor in 1997--has already led both to 'traditional' forms of gentrification (i.e. via renovation of the existing stock) and to substantial new housing development (primarily condominiums). Such a combination of forces acting on a working-class neighbourhood is likely to produce displacement in both direct and indirect forms. Direct displacement refers to instances of eviction of residents due to wider neighbourhood changes, such as gentrification or expropriations for megaprojects. …

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