Neighbourhood artistic disaffiliation in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

A.L. Bain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article argues that the creative drive of cultural workers to envision alternative urban futures and to make real changes in neighbourhoods in the urban present, while politically powerful and imaginatively seductive to urban decision-makers, contains destructive impulses. Such a drive can challenge, but also reinforce, the established social order and unequal power relations. This article critically examines the spatial politics of creative destruction that can unfold in the place-making wake of cultural workers. A case study is used from the mid-sized, industrial city of Hamilton of a deprived inner-city neighbourhood that is informally being reimagined as an arts district. In this neighbourhood, some cultural workers selectively practice middle-class disaffiliation. Individual acts of avoidance, control and destruction function as withdrawal strategies to help minimise the negative externalities of crime and social disorder and to realise a vision of this neighbourhood in their own image.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1177/0042098016658
Pages (from-to)2935-2954
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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