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Spatial capital, gentrification and mobility: evidence from Swiss core cities

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In this paper we are critical of the fact that the gentrification literature has moved away from discussions about the reclaiming of locational advantage as a marker of gentrifiers’ social distinction within the middle classes. We begin the process of re/theorising locational advantage as ‘spatial capital’ focusing on the mobility practices of new-build gentrifiers in Swiss core cities. Gentrification is a relatively new process in Swiss cities and is dominated by new-build developments in central city areas. We focus on two case studies: Neuchâtel and the Zurich West area of Zurich. We show that Swiss new-build gentrifiers have sought locational advantage in the central city, and in so doing have gained the ‘spatial capital’ that they need to negotiate and cope with dual career households and the restrictive job markets of Swiss cities. The mobility practices of these gentrifiers show how they are both hyper-mobile and hyper-fixed, they are mobile and rooted/fixed.

Keywords: Switzerland; cities; locational advantage; mobility; new-build gentrification; spatial capital

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Geography, University of Neuchâtel, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Email: 2: Department of Geography, King's College London, London WC2R 2LS, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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