Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

Forthcoming 2022

From boutiques and Airbnb to surging rents and local displacement, gentrification has come to negatively represent the classed effects of in-migration. As an explanatory concept, gentrification attends to the comprehensive transformation of demographics and services once a neighbourhood becomes aspirationally desirable. Meanwhile, current policy orthodoxies presume a steady population flow from outlying regions to urban employment centres. In either view, ‘successful’ places and spaces exert a prestigious pull. Yet internal migrants do not always seek to spatially upgrade – there are alternative migration flows which neither transform neighbourhoods nor follow income. In this paper, we offer a new concept to the internal migration lexicon: ‘affordification’. Focusing on the underexamined phenomena of middle-class (defined by economic, social and cultural capital) migration to so-called ‘left behind’ regions, we argue that seeming socio-economic downgrades reveal how quality of life and spatial inequalities intersect. Drawing from a qualitative case study of the primarily rural and post-industrial West Wales and the Valleys region, we demonstrate: how spatial inequalities can offer those in insecure class positions the ability to afford aspirational lifestyles; how career opportunities become traded for affordability; and, how a ‘middle-class gaze’ turns peripherality into cultural capital. Arguing that these empirical observations can be understood as affordification, we distinguish the concept from gentrification in five key ways: 1) scale; 2) transformations; 3) prestige; 4) co-existence with other forms of in-migration, especially welfare migration; and, 5) relationship to out-migration. By profiling affordification, we seek to move beyond limited understandings both of rural regions as caught between depopulation or gentrification, and ‘left behind’ places as primarily sites of working-class discontent.