Shmaryahu-Yeshurun Y, Ben-Porat G. For the benefit of all? State-led gentrification in a contested city. Urban Studies. September 2020. doi:10.1177/0042098020953077
Gentrification is not only an economic process based on individual desires and decisions and independent of political goals, but also a process led or assisted by governments with economic development and national goals. In this work, we study a state-led ethno-gentrification in Acre, a contested city in the north of Israel. Looking beyond the neoliberal terminology of regeneration, we argue that in contested cities gentrification is an economic development policy often intertwined with national-demographic goals. Yet, while economic and national motivations and policies may reinforce one another, they also produce tensions among policy makers, gentrifiers and local residents. ‘State-led ethno-gentrification’ presents the complexity of the relationship between neoliberalism and nationalism in a contested city. Interviews conducted in Acre with policy makers, Jewish newcomers involved in the gentrification process and Arab residents present a complex picture of goals, interests and concerns, as well as contradictions and tensions.