Sunday, 4 February 2018

Regeneration without new land for suburbs created the problem of Haringey

If you restrict the availability of land for housing, poorer parts of town get gentrified - "regenerated" as we like to say in England. And, because we've restricted land for housing the poor people who live in those gentrifying areas lose out:
And that displays the flaw behind the creative class theory up to now. The idea itself is excellent–creative class professionals enhance urban cultures and economies, and should be welcomed. But cities that have embraced them so far, such as San Francisco and Austin, have not anticipated for this by allowing the necessary new housing. And the results are predictable: wealthier professionals are fighting with poorer service-class workers over the same set neighborhoods and housing stocks–and the latter group is losing.
Right now - as Claire Kober has discovered - the political consequences of this trend are problematic. Not because the people opposing gentrification have got any better proposals than the gentrifiers and regenerators but because a bunch of left wing agitators are riding to power on the back of promising a better world without really explaining how. And doing it violently. It's not just Momentum agitators in Haringey but a trend seen in Barcelona, Seattle, Berlin, San Francisco and Sydney. In every case existing residents are promised new homes, protected rents and the benefits of a delightfully shiny regeneration and, in every case, those residents see wealthy incomers changing their world.

As it happens, I think that local leaders like Claire Kober deserve credit for their efforts - it's not their fault that we've had four decades of urban containment in London - but they should also be saying to people like London's mayor and whoever is in the revolving door as housing minister this week that the city needs space to grow. Central London has pretty close to the world's highest rents (Manhattan and Hong Kong are worse but they're islands so have an excuse) yet nobody is prepared to say that it is wrong-headed planning policies that are to blame not foreigners, property developers, landlords or local council leaders.


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