Book Launch Lecture: The Life and Afterlife of Gay Neighborhoods: Renaissance and Resurgence

Daniel Hess, UB School of Architecture and Planning | Alex Bitterman, Alfred State University

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021
6 pm

AIA 1 LU pending
AICP 1.5 CM available (Event #9211680)

Book cover.

Join us for a book launch lecture with Daniel B. Hess and Alex Bitterman, co-editors of The Life and Afterlife of Gay Neighborhoods: Renaissance and Resurgence (Springer, 2021), which provides an in-depth overview of the formation, maturation, current challenges, and future prospects of LGBTQ+ spaces in urban environments.

The relevance of gay neighborhoods—originally formed to promote segregation of individuals who identify as sexual minorities—is lately challenged by advances in technology, experiences with pandemics, shifts in generational opinion and social values, increasing acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals, and (in certain places) increased rights and protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. This confluence of change has created for many people anxiety related to the belief that gay neighborhoods may be dissolving or even disappearing altogether. Seeking to address these concerns, the book 

Findings suggest that shifts in patterns of residence, socialization, and entertainment for LGBTQ+ residents and visitors across metropolitan space have resulted in certain gay neighborhoods becoming less gay while other neighborhoods become more gay. In this time of social change, economic inequities, public health crises, and technological evolution, gay neighborhoods provide a culturally and historically significant template for communities in confronting adversity, fear, and discrimination. At this point in their maturity, gay neighborhoods have reached a plateau in their evolution; from here we pause to consider the current state of gay neighborhoods—and trajectories that might describe their future form—as we contemplate the importance of gay neighborhoods in the ongoing advancement of LGBTQ+ people everywhere. We conclude by observing that while gayborhoods have experienced a certain level of de-gaying, the trend toward viewing gayborhoods as inclusive and gay-friendly places de-emphasizes the self-segregation aspects of gayborhoods that were important to their initial formation; consequently, while gay neighborhoods may become less gay, other neighborhoods may also become more gay.

About our presenters

Daniel B. Hess.

Daniel B. Hess is professor and chair of urban planning at the University at Buffalo

Daniel Baldwin Hess is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He earned a doctoral degree in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was previously Visiting Scholar and Director of the Centre for Migration and Urban Studies at the University of Tartu, Estonia, where he was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie International Fellow funded by the European Commission. His research addresses interactions between housing, transportation, land use, and other public concerns, and he develops new pathways for understanding spatial inequalities and the complex socio-economic landscape of cities. In his scholarship, he explores metropolitan form and urban planning practice and policy as a means to improve city functions and urban life for all residents and visitors. He is a former Fulbright Scholar at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at Columbia University, and winner of an Eisenhower Fellowship. He is co-editor of the journal Town Planning Review (Liverpool University Press) and co-editor of the books Housing Estates in Europe: Poverty, Ethnic Segregation, and Policy Challenges (Springer 2018) and Housing Estates in the Baltic Countries: the Legacy of Central Planning in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (Springer Publishing 2019).

Alex Bitterman.

Alex Bitterman is professor of architecture and design at SUNY Alfred State

Alex Bitterman is Professor of Architecture and Design at SUNY Alfred State. He is an award-winning educator, culturalist, and author of The College Question: Why College as We Know It Isn’t Working for the Millennial Generation. A recognized expert in place branding and neighborhood change, he has recently published several articles and commentary about the experience of LGBTQ+ individuals in urban space. He is an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and is committed to social justice and professional responsibility. In addition, he is the founding editor of Multi: the Journal of Responsible Architecture and Design (, ISSN 1942-3527) a refereed scholarly journal serving a global audience and is the editor and host of the podcast that accompanies this book, The People in Your Gayborhood, available online at

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AICP members can earn Certi­fication Maintenance (CM) credits for this activity. When CM credits are available, they are noted at the end of an activity description. More information about AICP’s CM program can be found at AICP members must be in attendance for the duration of the event in order to receive CM Credit.