‘Positive’ Gentrification, Social Control and the ‘Right to the City’ in Mixed‐Income Communities: Uses and Expectations of Space and Place


Public policies supporting market‐oriented strategies to develop mixed‐income communities have become ascendant in the United States and a number of other countries around the world. Although framed as addressing both market goals of revitalization and social goals of poverty deconcentration and inclusion, these efforts at ‘positive gentrification’ also generate a set of fundamental tensions — between integration and exclusion, use value and exchange value, appropriation and control, poverty and development — that play out in particular concrete ways on the ground. Drawing on social control theory and the ‘right to the city’ framework of Henri Lefebvre, this article interrogates these tensions as they become manifest in three mixed‐income communities being developed to replace public housing complexes in Chicago, focusing particularly on responses to competing expectations regarding the use of space and appropriate normative behavior, and to the negotiation of these expectations in thecontext of arguments about safety, order, what constitutes ‘public’ space, and the nature and extent of rights to use that space in daily life.