Saturday, August 16, 2014

Is the creative class ruining urban communities?

[In London:] "We've got lots of new bars ... but those who were born and bred here simply can't afford to live here anymore."
"those doing the gentrifying are fond of elaborate facial hair, artisanal food and retro kitsch."

For Dalston and Shoreditch in London, read Williamsburg in New York, Kreuzberg in Berlin, Mission District in San Francisco, Preston in Melbourne and many other formerly working class neighborhoods in cities around the world (with broad regional differences).
According to Loretta Lees, professor of human geography at the University of Leicester, what has happened follows a well worn pattern of urban development.
Creative, young, artistic types are enticed to move into an area by low rents or through encouragement from local councils. As time passes, more people move in attracted by what they see as the aspirational, cool vibe, hoping to become a part of this fabric themselves.
This influx brings in higher earning individuals and increases the local tax base which can lead to improved public services. But it also pushes up the cost of rent, goods and services in the area and eventually house prices too.
While this may be no bad thing for the new arrivals who can largely afford it, many of those who have lived in the area for generations can be priced out.

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