Geografie 2015, 120, 210-225

Between gentrification and reurbanisation: The participatory dimension of bottom-up regeneration in Gdańsk, Poland

Maja Grabkowska

University of Gdansk, Department of Economic Geography, Gdansk, Poland

Received July 2014
Accepted April 2015

Urban regeneration has become a key issue in the development of contemporary cities. The paper discusses bottom-up regeneration practices performed by inhabitants of a decaying inner-city neighbourhood under post-socialist conditions, which differ notably from the widely researched Western European context. Results of a qualitative study in Wrzeszcz Dolny, Gdańsk, have indicated the leading role of newcomers to the area in animating bottom-up regeneration efforts, which in turn translate into an activation and integration of the local community. Thus, it is argued that an in-migration into the inner city, usually interpreted as gentrification, does not necessarily generate losses for the indigenous inhabitants but can also bring a desired social change and significantly contribute to the building of inclusive civil society. The presented case study therefore signals the need for a careful investigation and precise labelling of the post-socialist inner-city transformation processes, as well as demonstrates how increasing participation might be employed as the potential antidote to ills associated with gentrification.


The article was developed with support from the National Science Centre (grant number DEC-2011/03/B/HS4/02302).


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