Urban planning, gentrification and diversity
Welcome to a session with lectures by Loretta Lees from University of Leichester and Kim Dovey from University of Melbourne, followed by a panel discussion.
The state-led gentrification of council estates in London and the fight to stay put
Most of inner London is now gentrified and council estates and their tenants are the final gentrification frontier. In this talk I explain how and why council estates are being demolished and gentrified as new, ‘mixed income’ communities. I expose the slow violence of ‘regeneration’ as a visceral process of displacement. I highlight the role of the state (especially local government). But I also outline the fight by residents ‘to stay put’ and in so doing discuss what counts as success in resisting gentrification.
Professor Loretta Lees (FAcSS, FRSA) is an urban geographer who is internationally known for her research on gentrification/urban regeneration, global urbanism, urban policy, urban public space, architecture and urban social theory. She has published 12 books including the recent Planetary Gentrification (2016, Polity Press, Cambridge) and numerous journal articles and book chapters. Since 2009 she has co-organised The Urban Salon: A London forum for architecture, cities and international urbanism (see http://www.theurbansalon.org/) and since 2016 the Leicester Urban Observatory (www.leicesterurbanobservatorywordpress.com/). She is currently Chair in Human Geography at Leicester University, she previously worked at King’s College London (where she was chair of the Cities Group) and the University of British Columbia as a post-doctoral fellow. Watch her 2014 TEDxBrixton talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMz1x5_yF2Q)
Place and Displacement: An Assemblage Approach
This presentation will focus on questions of place identity and social displacement from two rather different perspectives. The first is based in studies of urban character and place identity in the more formal cities of the global north, the second in studies of informal settlements of the global south. I will argue for an assemblage approach to questions of gentrification that seeks to understand the city in terms of the alliances and synergies between a range of intersecting generative forces. From this perspective urban design and planning factors can help to understand how some neighbourhoods resist gentrification - density, building height, grain-size, heritage, access networks and functional mix in particular. Informal settlements are particularly vulnerable to displacement but the forces for gentrification can also generate a social mix in the most resilient of slums.
Kim Dovey is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design in the faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. His research on social issues in architecture and urban design has included investigations of housing, shopping malls, corporate towers, urban waterfronts and the politics of public space. Books include 'Framing Places: Mediating Power in Built Form' (Routledge 1999, 2008) 'Fluid City' (Routledge 2005) and 'Becoming Places' (Routledge 2009). Current research projects include those on urban place identity, creative clusters, transit-oriented urban design and the morphology of informal settlements.