Gentrification is creating a city increasingly in favour of affluent Londoners, and slowing down this process will be an uphill struggle, according to this week’s Monday night lecture.
“It’s rather like King Canute trying to stop the tide coming in,” Professor Chris Hamnett told the audience. He went on to say that gentrification “is squeezing low-income and middle-income residents out of London.”
Gentrification is a term that entered the popular British consciousness around half a century ago. It was coined by Ruth Glass – a German émigré to London – who noticed that “many of the working class quarters of London have been invaded by the middle classes” and that this ultimately led to “the whole social character of the district [being] changed.”
Chris believes that this insight – and the belief that London would come to be inhabited by the “financially fittest” – was a telling look to the future. “What she foresaw really is coming to pass,” he says.
You can listen to a five-minute preview of a Chris’s lecture and others on the Online lectures webpage.
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Bronwen Eastaugh is a Student Engagement Manager for Queen Mary Students' Union.
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