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The revitalisation of the Hebden Bridge district: greentrified Pennine rurality

By Darren Paul Smith

Abstract

This thesis provides an integrated theoretical account of gentrification in a context which evokes significant socio-cultural meanings of rurality. With this purpose in mind, three key conceptual standpoints are established to frame the research. First, gentrification is viewed as a\ud dynamic process of change involving distinct and differing phases of transformation. Second, representations of rurality are seen as socio-cultural constructions, which are specific to particular social groups and individuals. Finally, the creation of both rural geographies and\ud geographies of gentrification are the product of interactions between structural conditions and\ud the agency of consumers and producers; a reciprocal relationship of maintenance and/or reproduction in a constant flux in time and space.\ud \ud Following this conceptual framework, the thesis documents the processes of change which both the rural and urban environs of the Hebden Bridge district, West Yorkshire, have undergone since the late 1960s. These processes are termed g[re]entrification (rural gentrification) and\ud involve social, cultural, physical and economic parallels with inner city gentrification. More specifically, two stages of g[re]entrification have predominated. The first stage (DIY greentrification) was initiated by in-migrant households, drawn to the moor tops, moor edges\ud and urban location by idyllic representations of Pennine rurality. Undertaking self-renovation activities, redefined landscapes were produced and consumed by the in-migrant households. As the scale of DIY greentrification gained momentum during the early 1970s, commercial actors\ud gained control of the production activities, renovating and developing ready-made "rural" and "rurban" commodities. As these were consumed by "client greentrifiers", property prices in the Hebden Bridge district escalated in the mid to late 1980s. Subsequently, the local indigenous\ud population have been increasingly marginalised, excluded and displaced from the local housing market. The outcome of the greentrification process has been the production and maintenance of a number of territories associated with a distinct range of greentrifier types, culminating in an\ud internal geography of greentrification within the Hebden Bridge district. Without doubt, the diversity of the Hebden Bridge district offers different qualities to a range of\ud households searching for differing types of location to fulfil specific cultural and economic criteria. It is\ud the capacity of the Hebden Bridge district (i.e. the geography of geentrification) to meet these cultural\ud and economic needs that is central to the dramatic physical, social, economic and culturaltransformations which it has experienced since the late 1960s. The uniqueness of the Hebden Bridge district is tied up with the make-up of its internal geography and its many faces of greentrification.\u

Publisher: School of Geography (Leeds)
Year: 1998
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:447

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