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Urban Stud. 2011;48(4):641-60.

The temporary permanence of Dominican bodegueros in Philadelphia: neighbourhood development in an era of transnational mobility.

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University of Minnesota—Duluth.


The relationship between "neighbourhood" and "community" is contentious: while neighbourhoods are spatially based, communities are more amorphous institutions that are connected to local places through far-flung transnational networks. Dominican corner-store owners (bodegueros) in Philadelphia, USA, understand their role in their local neighbourhood community as a form of "temporary permanence" because their economic development model involves building networks between the US and the Dominican Republic. The mobility practices of grocers and interviews with community leaders in Philadelphia are used to make two propositions about constructions of place-based "neighbourhood communities" in the US: the mobility of the grocers highlights the spatial entrapment experienced by other urban residents and thus their embrace of place-based communities; and, in the mobility of the grocers and conversations with some neighbourhood leaders, we see actualised a more fluid and expansive understanding of the concept of a "neighbourhood community" which is embedded in transnational networks.

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