Urban regeneration is posing a serious threat to London culture as rising property prices and rapidly changing neighbourhoods displace long-standing local residents, as well as the creatives responsible for kickstarting revitalisation. And that’s not just their loss, but a menace to the vitality to the UK capital as a whole, warns the Creative Tensions report from the London Assembly.
And if it’s a cultural checklist you’re looking for, we can tell you that the city is home to 857 art galleries, 215 museums, 320 live music venues and 241 theatres. Plus there are a raft of artists’ studios, workshops and countless choirs, dance groups, community groups and festivals. Culture is a driver of the London economy, accounting for one in six jobs.
The report says a number of regeneration processes have clearly been working at the expense of the preservation of heritage and the needs of local communities, along with their access to social and cultural resources. As the organisers of a London literary festival say, such approaches lead to the corporatisation of culture and the farming out of culture to PR agencies.
The London Assembly also takes a look at ‘Shoreditchification’. The arrival of the creative class made Shoreditch highly desirable and extensive property investments followed, wit developers using the positive image that culture gave to an edgy London district. Property prices around Old Street spiked 43% between 2012 and 2015. Dalston and Peckham are on the same Shoreditchification pathway.