here an italian language article, posted by the staff of “Millennio Urbano” a well-informed blog about the urbanistic tendencies around the concept and implication of “city” and “urbanisation”. the article describes – I provide a light abstract here – the process of gentfrification in London 2014. here the incipit and the link to the article:
Sembra incredibile ma una delle più ricche città del pianeta, scenario di un impetuoso processo di trasformazione, si sta mutando anche un una città di poveri incapaci di avere un alloggio dignitoso. Da tempo la stampa britannica sottolinea quanto sia pervasiva a Londra la crisi degli alloggi a prezzi accessibili ed ora stanno emergendo segnali del possibile ritorno a condizioni abitative di estremo degrado, quegli slum che i programmi residenziali pubblici avevano via via cancellato nel corso del Novecento.
source: “Millennio Urbano” (http://www.millenniourbano.it/londra-effetti-perversi-della-rigenerazione-urbana/)
Abstract: The “slums” are going back, in 2014 London, ruled by Major Boris Johnson [a small editor’s note: here is an interesting survey about his political and wealthy origins and “family heritage”, a turkish-jewish upper-class refined pedigree indeed! cit. (1)] who granted acquaintance and approval to a vast project of unstoppable and antidemocratic process of discount sale of public property and soil and poor people expulsion that seems to threw back London to a century ago when the destruction of slums mean the distressement of poverty.
Such a process can be overviewed following the MPIM the great “real-estate” operator’s festival, located usually in Cannes but with a special edition in London or looking the process on the field at Heygate, the popular area of the urban district of Elephant and Castle. Here a public and social housing block (1200 apartments) is going to be demolished to be transformed into 2400 luxury apartments (“plus” 79 social housing slots). The “Heygaters” shall be forced to move, and anyone who shall refuse will have his home seizured and refunded only by 1/3 of the market value of a similar estate type [note of the editor – i guess which sets they shall use, the value in London Area or the value of an average popular home in UK].
Quello di Heygate è un esempio di come la rigenerazione in realtà significhi pulizia sociale, un’operazione alla quale si prestano le autorità locali in un momento in cui milioni di londinesi hanno assolutamente bisogno di alloggi a prezzi accessibili. La giustificazione per tutto ciò è fornita dalle cattive condizioni del patrimonio edilizio pubblico, per intervenire sul quale da tempo le amministrazioni locali hanno smesso di disporre dei fondi necessari a causa delle necessità di “risanamento” dei bilanci statali.
The University College London (Michael Edwards, Bartlett School of Planning) studied the whole process and marked out that the expulsion of poor inhabitants is paradoxically the direct result of the policies of intervention planned to relief their poor living and housing conditions. The scheme is tested: the administration promotes riqualification of the areas, but has no money to do that; so the private estate agents “enters to help”, and gradually financed and seized the plan, conquering step by step major quotes of apartments; at Heygate and elsewhere the social fee apartments become only the 3% of the whole originary set.That’s the result of constant negociations between the public manager and private managers. A process as stated in the article of “social cleansing”.
La sostituzione sociale è resa possibili dalla realizzazione in cambio di alloggi “ a prezzi accessibili”, dove con questa espressione s’intende quelli che verranno affittati ad un prezzo equivalente all’80% del valore medio del mercato. Si tratta però di alloggi inaccessibili per gli utenti dell’edilizia residenziale pubblica, i quali vengono spinti fuori dalla città, ad incrementare la popolazione delle zone suburbane e costretti a diventare pendolari.
The disadvantaged owners or renters are forced to accept a “reduced” fee (simply the 80% of the market value or fees), actually much greater than the starting conditions, and to relocate themselves very far from the centre of London, in the far suburbia of the Greater London and forced to pendolarism if the want to work in the city centre. The private estate agents are making their part to form and instruct specific professionist to “manage” favourable conditions and agreements in parthership with the public promotors of “urban requalification”, bypassing in a sort of creative interpretation of the law, any legal and social warrant. And when they are faced by public and legal opposition from authorities, they found in the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, an ally to break out the boundaries of urban planing and legal restraints, as happened at Lewisham when the estate agents, from Hong Kong, obtained directly from Johnson the permission to bypass the restraints raised by Lewisham local Council.
Note / Footnotes
1. Cit. from Who is Boris Johnson, by Sholto BYRNES (03.27.2008), “Her son’s life, however, is better documented. Ali Kemal, Boris’s great-grandfather, was the last interior minister of the Ottoman empire after the First World War. Soon after Atatürk’s nationalists took power in 1922, Kemal, who had been one of their most vehement opponents, met a sticky end. He was kidnapped and taken to Izmit, where he was handed over to a mob who attacked him with sticks, stones and knives, then hanged him from a tree in the square. Before all this, though, Kemal had fathered a son, Osman Ali, by his half-English first wife. Born in Bournemouth in 1909, the child was brought up by his grandmother, whose surname he took; so Osman Ali became Wilfred Johnson. (If this change of surname and religion had not taken place, then Alexander Johnson could have been Iskander – the Arabic version of Alexander – Ali.) The Johnsons’ relations through Kemal’s second wife, with whom they are in contact, include two past Turkish ambassadors, to Britain and to Norway. […] Through his father’s side Boris has not only Muslim ancestry but a connection to one of Britain’s most prominent Jewish families. Boris’s stepmother Jenny, the second wife of his father Stanley, is the stepdaughter of Edward Sieff, the former chairman of Marks & Spencer. This also provides a link to two politicians he was later to encounter in the House of Commons: Edward Sieff’s son Adam, the urbane record executive, has the distinction of having been in a Seventies rock band, Jaded, that was promoted at different times by both Tony Blair and Chris Huhne.”