Five: Cities bounce back – piecing communities together again

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This chapter uncovers the roots of urban recovery in the return to ‘small is beautiful’ and inner-city renewal. It explains that the shift to renovation demonstrated that renewal could be cost-effective and quick with nothing like the disruption and damage caused by demolition. It notes that renovation was immensely popular with tenants and low-income owners, particularly from minority ethnic groups who were still often excluded from council housing. It adds that the birth of ‘neighbourhood renewal’ through property renovation led to the rebirth of the inner city, attracting back more prosperous households, as well as holding onto existing communities, and generating new services, jobs, and investment. It explains that gentrification – the displacement of lower-income residents by higher-income newcomers – put pressure on existing communities, but far less than the brutal exclusions of wholesale clearance.

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