Gentrification

Gentrification

The city of London is known for its continuous metamorphosis, a city with endless regenerations and developments, words like these are constantly being recycled by the city to describe Gentrification. Ruth Glass, a sociologist, was the first to use this term back in 1964 in order to characterize the movement of affluent individuals into lower class areas. She also stated that when this movement occurs it happens fast and only ends when every working class habitant have been displaced by the middle class, changing the entire personality of these areas.

Living in London for 4 years I have witnessed this regular transformation of lower class areas. An example is the “regeneration” of Elephant and Castle that has changed the area tremendously over these 4 years. The demolition of the Heygate Estate and the following projects taking place where it stood, to the planned transformation of the shopping mall, is altering the lower class social spaces. Along side this the closing of the tunnels and the changes to the roundabout, are altering the traffic and flow of the space, facilitating access and desire for the middle class. Other observations of this around elephant already are the franchise businesses such as Sainsburys and Pret a manger appearing and taking place for independent shops.  One affect of the alteration of lower class areas not only in infrastructure but by changing people and communities are the loss of the essence and culture. This new way that the city wants to portray itself as ’trendy’ and in its wake not accommodating the habitants but displacing them is permanently ruining subcultures.

In affluent areas we can detect similarities, this is not say they are identical but it is creating a landscape of repetition. The recycling of places in function of franchising with business and branding, the big office buildings and luxurious flats with their voyeuristic superiority, clean streets with a detachment of the lower classes existence and a homogenized culture.

Assimilation of cultures will trend toward the creation of a mono culture. The aspect of cultural globalization will reduce cultural diversity creating a single strain of thought and culture. Mono culture does not appeal to the taste of everyone, mono culture does not take an harmonious view on peoples needs and interests but tends to benefit the more wealthy, this idea of a single culture is non harmonious due to the differing tastes people have. This will segregate people not only by class devision and will isolate those of non uniform taste. this division and isolation could trend toward something dangerous, in revolt to this assimilative action.

These actions of redevelopment are essential for the progress of the city, road maintenance and good spacial planning are needed but rather than destruction they should apply renovation from failing constructions in 60s, there should be a more suitable local business engagement, and implement restrictions on corporate franchising. The city should take examples from projects like the keep moat estate regeneration project like this help communities. This does not come only form businesses, but from the people that inhabit those areas,  we should take example for situations that have happen, for instant in Peckham’s nightlife with the increasing cost of venues due to popularity of the area and how this is removing local nightlife to cater for “local tourism” replacing it by city workers (hipsters). but the venues and the local people were not happy and fighter back by protecting cultural local venues like caravans and moth club by petitions, this will possible create  local community guardians to engage with the needs of indigenous populations. due to

The way in which regeneration should be working is that the taken out process  must become more harmonious to avoid cultural damage to local cultures not allowing this isolation and unfairness to indigenous cultures, because if these changes keep being non harmonious this will segregate and create not only class devision but the creation of just one unfair social class that is not appealing to the needs of all.