Managing Territorial Stigmatization from the ‘Middle’: Business Improvement Areas and Urban Revitalization in the Post-Industrial City

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Daniel KUDLA, University of Guelph, Canada
Michael COUREY, Western University, Canada
Wacquant’s concept of territorial stigmatization asserts that state-led bureaucratic and commercial agents mobilize discourses of stigmatization about specific areas in a city in order to legitimize simplistic spatial solutions in an attempt to solve complex political-economic problems. With the increased popularity of Business Improvement Areas (BIAs; or Business Improvement Districts in the U.S) across the globe, these organizations play a significant role managing the image of stigmatized neighbourhoods. Unlike conventional studies of territorial stigmatization which delineates the concept of territorial stigmatization between the production of stigma from ‘above’ (by state-led and commercial entities) and the resistance of stigma from ‘below’ (by residents in low-income neighbourhoods) this paper argues BIAs do not fit either of these categories but rather negotiate territorial stigmatization from the ‘middle’. From this middle role, BIAs strategically perpetuate territorial stigmatization to attract external funding while simultaneously resisting territorial stigmatization in order to maintain solidarity with local community groups. We highlight BIAs unique middle position by drawing on data collected from media articles and urban planning reports in London Ontario’s Old East Village over a fifteen-year period.