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Global cities, gentrification and creative practices

Dr Oli Mould

Dr Oli Mould is lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. His academic research focuses on urban creativity, activism and politics. He is author of Urban Subversion and the Creative City (2015).

In this first RGS-IBG podcast Dr Mould discusses creativity under the rubric of gentrification and how creative practices may be subsumed under, or subvert capitalism. We asked Dr Mould about his work with the Long Live Southbank campaign which successfully saved the oldest recognised skateboarding space in the world from destruction and displacement under redevelopment schemes.

Southbank Skatepark © La Citte Vlta, Flickr.

Save the Southbank: a graffiti protest against the closure of the skateboard park © Garry Knight

Key Words


An economic and political system in which trade and industry are controlled by private ownership for profit

The transformation of goods, services, ideas into objects of trade and economic value known as commodities.

Planetary Gentrification
The understanding of gentrification at a planetary scale, unfolding across the global north and south, from slum gentrification to mega-displacement.

A cultural group within a larger culture that display different beliefs to the mainstream. Subcultural studies often study the symbolism attached to clothing, fashion, and music within these groups.

Lesson Ideas


Pupils research in more detail, the history of the Southbank Skateboard Park and the proposed development plans for the Southbank centre. In groups discuss the proposed plans and arguments for and against their development. As a whole, class should debate: who are the winners and losers of gentrification?

Considering your local urban area think about the ways that creative practices (public art, graffiti, skateboarding, busking, light festivals etc.) have been put to use in these places. Who takes part in these practices? What are their motivations? How do local authorities employ these practices to give space a certain atmosphere? Do certain creative practices go against these authorities?





Oli was interviewed in May 2016.

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