“Love where you live” and other lies of gentrification, by Oli Mould

Over on Open Democracy, Oli Mould has a very forthright piece concerning the ethics (or lack thereof) of gentrification.

‘Love where you live’, and other lies of gentrification 

Let’s admit that gentrification is an immoral urban process. It is a deliberate policy of social engineering and needs to be tackled at its source.

Gentrify this! Flickr/Spacebahr. Some rights reserved.Gentrify this! Flickr/Spacebahr. Some rights reserved.

The marketing mantra of “love where you live” courses through the ongoing ‘redevelopment’ of the Heygate Estate in London’s Elephant and Castle into Trafalgar Place. The City Quays project in Greenwich offers “a private island in London to call your own”. Lillie Square, which will be built on the Earls Court site hawks “modern garden square living” where you can “dwell in luxury”. All these (and many more) are symptomatic of a language of disavowal. It denigrates existing residents and paints them as unworthy of their homes as they were. And it is, in essence, inhumane.

But it is just a small part of a sweeping narrative of cities needing to be developed and regenerated, into ever more profitable, consumerist and homogenous centres of middle-class spending. And in all of this, the incumbent residents and their communities are of no consequence. It is a narrative that stretches all the way from advertising-speak to broadsheet journalism.

Read the full article.

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