Urban and Urbanization

After dispossession: An urban rights praxis of remaining in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Drawing from a multi-year research presence in Vancouver, Canada’s Downtown Eastside, we generate insights into the praxis of the historically dispossessed within contemporary processes of subaltern urbanisms. Interviews with past and present Downtown Eastside residents reveal parallel narratives of dispossession and remaining between Japanese Canadians who were expelled during the Second World War and communities in the present-day neighborhood. A common frame of reference, a form of dispossessive collectivism, takes shape in a tenuous Right to Remain premised on material, cultural, existential, and political struggles that have inflected life in the Downtown Eastside for over a century of colonial urbanization. The Right to Remain can provide a situated and integrative vocabulary for consolidating grassroots praxis across diverse social groupings and settings to address urban spatial claims (symbolically and materially) and to confront forces of gentrification driving dispossession processes in Vancouver and beyond.

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Volume 38 Issue 2

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