Urban redevelopment as soft memory-work in Montgomery, Alabama

Joshua Inwood, Derek H. Alderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Scholars are increasingly studying memory-work as an essential place-defining force within cities, but few scholars have analyzed urban redevelopers as agents of memory-work. Using the Montgomery Builds effort to redevelop the Kress Building as a “memory moment,” we argue for a broader reading of memory-work that recognizes the broad spectrum of social actors, interests, and tensions involved in not only doing justice to the legacies of racialized pasts but also appropriating them in the service of urban capital. Central to our argument is a recognition that urban spaces are not just the product of the labor of remembering and preserving, but that these spaces have an affective and material place and impact within people’s lives and connections with the past. In so doing, we articulate how memory works through the remaking of space and place and argue for a broader definition of memory-work, a recognition of the harder and softer socio-political forms they can take in cities, and the way ostensibly painful memories are folded back into urban redevelopment visions in ways that facilitate but also complicate development and racial reconciliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1153-1172
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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