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“They’re Not Building It for Us”: Displacement Pressure, Unwelcomeness, and Protesting Neighborhood Investment

Rutgers-Camden University, Camden, NJ 08102, USA
Iona College, New Rochelle, NY 10801, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Societies 2018, 8(3), 74;
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 30 August 2018 / Published: 4 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Development for Equity and Empowerment)
PDF [219 KB, uploaded 4 September 2018]


In some of Camden, NJ’s most underdeveloped neighborhoods, new investment is perceived as a catch-22. Such investment is badly needed, but residents fear gentrification and the creation of white spaces. Our study examines that puzzle, that residents protest badly needed investment, using ethnographic and interview data from residents and Camden, NJ, as a case study for examining community understanding of gentrification. In doing so, we draw upon gentrification literature that focuses on displacement pressure and exclusionary displacement, but argue that the Camden case points towards a different dimension of gentrification. Our findings show how (1) exclusion and “unwelcomeness” created by the development of white spaces is conceptualized by residents as being distinct from the impact such exclusion has on future displacement and (2) that residents internalize that exclusion from white spaces, dampening their support and increasing their resistance for new development. Our findings represent a contribution to the discussion on displacement pressure, which focuses primarily on exclusion through financial and economic pressure on residents, and shows that racialized exclusion is, itself, a fundamental element of residential fear of gentrification. We point to an opportunity to address fears of gentrification not only through economic means but also by focusing on issues of access and exclusion in urban space as a direct response to such residential fears. View Full-Text
Keywords: gentrification; displacement; exclusion; urban social movements; neighborhoods; community gentrification; displacement; exclusion; urban social movements; neighborhoods; community
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Danley, S.; Weaver, R. “They’re Not Building It for Us”: Displacement Pressure, Unwelcomeness, and Protesting Neighborhood Investment. Societies 2018, 8, 74.

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