Downside of gentrification

Auro Foxcroft

I think that it is always a double-edged sword particularly with gentrification because you got a new sort of creative class moving into an area and at some point that reaches critical mass or a tipping point which point the rent will go up in the area, local people are forced to move out, then they getoais to other regions away from their communities which get broken up and that is kind of a terrible thing.

It has a real negative impact it is down to the municipalities to manage that, to make sure that affordable housing is kept and local communities are not destroyed as a result of gentrification. However they have not got a great track record in successfully doing that I do not think in many places.

I think the creative industries moving into the areas is often a result not the course of decline in other industries. For example where we are now on the edge of the city I suppose the kind of nucleus of London and would particularly be the manufacturing area historically this was textiles, printing, lie industries such as metal works and so on. And this kind of industry died and moved and a result there was a lot of empty space. So the creative industries moved into that cheap and affordable space and grew economy and infrastructure here.

I would not say that there is a downside of creative industries moving into area and taking over area because the arts and creativity just spontaneously happens out of the opportunity. And that opportunity is finished here in London. It is too expensive city. There is no empty space anymore, the artists cannot move in and the gentrification process has happened whereas in other countries particularly if you go a bit further east you get a lot more of that opportunity.
When I visit a lot of these countries and I visit the cities I am amazed by the opportunities and I am so excited about the derelict factories and the estates that are empty. And you just think, wow, if we had this here in London we could do so much great work. There would be some much fun to be had and creativity to be had. So I think that is an opportunity out there that is waiting to be capitalized upon and if you can encourage the creativity and the creative industries and the artists to locate there then you get a spin off of all sorts of other benefits like a bit of gentrification, renovating of the area, new businesses moving and cafes, the coffe shops, the restaurants and so on.

And I think municipalities just need to be aware of the downside of that and to manage it well, so that yes you want that stuff to happen but you do not want to destroy a community that is already in there. And you do no want to use all the opportunity up, burn it up really quickly you want to kind of let it slowly organically develop so the effects are not a quick cycle that is finished but something that will last and will be sustainable.

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Auro Foxcroft

Auro Foxcroft

Founder of Village Underground in London, United Kingdom

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