Can regenerated inner-city areas remain sites of public-place sociability? Psycho-social processes predicting public sociability in a changing neighbourhood

Bettencourt, Leonor; Castro, Paula and Dixon, John (2020). Can regenerated inner-city areas remain sites of public-place sociability? Psycho-social processes predicting public sociability in a changing neighbourhood. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2480

Abstract

The processes of urban regeneration of long-disinvested inner-city neighbourhoods today happening in many European cities sometimes dramatically transform residents’ traditional uses of their public places. Focusing on a neighbourhood renowned for its traditional public place sociability – Mouraria, in Lisbon - this study explored the psychosocial processes that may shape the maintenance of that sociability in the face of increasing social diversification and small-scale gentrification brought about by a mixed/bottom-up regeneration plan. A questionnaire survey (n=201) with two types of residents (‘traditional residents’ and ‘new gentrifiers’) indicated that: a) both types report using Mouraria’s public places for socializing, although traditional residents do so to a greater degree; b) perceived cultural continuity of the neighbourhood is positively related to public place sociability for both groups; and c) this relationship is mediated by both place identification and place knowledge; but d) it is not moderated by type of resident. By implication, we argue that regenerated inner-city neighbourhoods may remain as places of lively public sociability and companionship if residents are able to forge and/or retain a sense of identification with, and intimate knowledge of, the neighbourhood, and view it as maintaining continuity with the past.

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