Producing “Quality of Life” in the “Nuevo South”: The Spatial Dynamics of Latinos’ Social Reproduction in Southern Amenity Destinations

Jennifer Bickham Mendez, Lise Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Through the comparative analysis of two case studies of non-metropolitan localities in the U.S. South, we seek to advance understandings of the spatial dynamics of social reproduction for Latino immigrants settling in amenity destinations. The arrival of Latino immigrants in Greater Williamsburg, Virginia (pop. ∼96,000) and Rabun County, Georgia (pop. ∼16,000), can be linked to the influx of domestic, ex-urban, amenity migrants, whose lifestyle and consumption patterns created a demand for low-wage labor in services and construction. We argue that constrained housing options that emerged from amenity-driven migration and gentrification worked together with intersecting vulnerabilities of race, gender, and immigration status to inhibit Latino newcomers’ ability to navigate the spaces of everyday life. We discuss two patterns of immigrant housing and demonstrate how in a context of dispersed public space and limited transportation options these geographies of social reproduction increased insecurities for Latino newcomers, facilitating the policing of their physical mobility and control over their labor. By attending to the ways in which socio-spatial conditions in these underexplored sites of immigrant reception condition Latinos’ daily life, our analysis brings to further light the many ways that place matters for Latinos’ settlement experiences. [Amenity Migration; Gentrification; Immigration; Latinos; U.S. South].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-151
Number of pages23
JournalCity and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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