Jean-Paul Addie and colleague, James C. Fraser’s, “After Gentrification: Social Mix, Settler Colonialism, and Cruel Optimism in the Transformation of Neighbourhood Space” was recently published in Antipode here. Drawing on 15 years of research in Over-the-Rhine (OTR), Cincinnati, this paper forwards a genealogy of neighborhood settler colonialism; from foundations in state violence and social uprising, through the maturation of new governance modalities, to challenges of pursuing socially-just urbanism under state-sponsored gentrification. Foregrounding the work of, and attritional assault faced by, the Over-the-Rhine People’s Movement in resisting hostile neighborhood transformation, we raise thorny questions regarding whether or not it is worth fighting to stay put under conditions of ‘cruel optimism’.
The case of OTR discloses the need to adjust tactics and strategies in relation to evolving settler colonialism projects. In response, we advocate that critical activists and scholars: (1) draw attention to multifaceted dimensions of displacement; (2) pursue spatio-temporal explorations of settler colonialism in action; and (3) look beyond territorial struggles over inner-city space to rescale and reimagine terrains of social struggle and urban theory in the 21st-century metropolis.