New social spheres in economic spaces
In this paper we look at new social spheres emerging within the framework of gentrifying European neighbourhoods. The vast body of commercial gentrification literature argues authenticity – and therefore social interactions between various social groups – gets lost due to economic standardisation processes known as “Starbuckization” or franchising systems. However, new spaces of economic use providing points of contact for social interaction are also occurring. We argue that such “social spheres in economic spaces” have a significant impact on neighbourhood interaction and identity. These spaces develop from former unnoticed and unimportant economic spaces to stimulating and identity-establishing places of social interaction.
We draw our arguments from research examples in Vienna that consider the practices of economisation and the social meaning of the business and economic space for the local community. We use the assemblage approach to equalise the practice, interpretations and metrics in the transformation processes.