Virtual Cabinet of Curiosities
29. Fragile housing, Prof. Darren Smith
One of the leading ways that local neighbourhoods are being transformed across the globe is by processes of gentrification and studentification. These expressions of social, economic, cultural and physical change lead to the displacement of established settled residents, as new social groups move into the neighbourhoods. This entails the growing concentration of social groups of higher social status (new middle classes, students) associated with rising property and rental costs, new build developments and renovations, the emergence of distinct cultural and retail services, and changing urban and rural landscapes. Both gentrification and studentification signify exclusionary ties between migration, housing markets, and population change. The fragile petite house on display, sculpted from tuff volcanic rock and taken from its place of origin in Southern Europe, is symbolic of the themes of displacement, movement, commodification and revalorisation, and the appropriation of housing by higher status social groups.