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  • Author or Editor: Loretta Lees x
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This chapter argues the need for a much better debate around social sustainability and what it might offer London. Focusing on mixed communities policy and how it has been used to gentrify large council estates in inner London, the chapter shows that the deconcentration of poverty plays itself out as working-class/low-income population displacement and community destruction. By highlighting the case of Heygate Estate in Elephant & Castle, it exposes the negative effect to the community life in London at the national and local level. The result is social exclusion and new forms of social segregation, rather than social inclusion.

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This chapter examines the discursive contexts within which urban policy is being developed in Great Britain. It describes the British vision of urban renaissance in the context of the government’s Urban Task Force (UTF) report, Towards an urban renaissance, and the recent Urban White Paper (UWP) on urban policy, Our towns and cities – The future: Delivering an urban renaissance. The chapter suggests that the government’s urban-renaissance initiatives can be interpreted as gentrification initiatives, and thus are likely to come unstuck due to the mismatch between their inevitably class-dividing effects and the socially just, mixed, and inclusive city that is the government’s ostensible objective.

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London is one of the most dense, vibrant, and influential urban centers in the world, and this book takes a close look at how it is addressing one of the key questions of our time: environmental sustainability. Chapters take on questions of transportation, housing, property development, education, and more, looking at the effects of sustainability initiatives not only on the environment but also on inequality, urban accessibility, and more.

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London is one of the most dense, vibrant, and influential urban centers in the world, and this book takes a close look at how it is addressing one of the key questions of our time: environmental sustainability. Chapters take on questions of transportation, housing, property development, education, and more, looking at the effects of sustainability initiatives not only on the environment but also on inequality, urban accessibility, and more.

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London is one of the most dense, vibrant, and influential urban centers in the world, and this book takes a close look at how it is addressing one of the key questions of our time: environmental sustainability. Chapters take on questions of transportation, housing, property development, education, and more, looking at the effects of sustainability initiatives not only on the environment but also on inequality, urban accessibility, and more.

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London is one of the most dense, vibrant, and influential urban centers in the world, and this book takes a close look at how it is addressing one of the key questions of our time: environmental sustainability. Chapters take on questions of transportation, housing, property development, education, and more, looking at the effects of sustainability initiatives not only on the environment but also on inequality, urban accessibility, and more.

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According to Richard Florida, the self-styled urbanist who has made his fortune off the back of creative gentrification, New York City (NYC) and London are still buys – ‘This is not the end of cities’,1 he recently proclaimed. Indeed, he sees the pandemic (and Black Lives Matter) as presenting an opportunity to ‘reshape cities in more equitable ways’. He seems to want his cake and to eat it too?

In this chapter we consider two debates over the future of gentrification in the Anglo-American post-COVID-19 city: de-gentrification versus disaster gentrification. In one gentrification is killed off or goes into decline and we start to experience a post-gentrification city. In the other capital exploits the situation and gentrification continues, even grows. The former predicts doom for the center of Anglo-American cities, as the gentrifier classes move out to the suburbs or small towns or rural locations; the latter predicts the continuation of ongoing waves of gentrification that find ever more creative ways to exploit the urban. The question becomes: post-COVID-19, will gentrification die a sudden death or will it continue as usual, exploiting new niches and mutating as it has done before?

There have been proclamations about the demise or death of gentrification since at least the early 1990s. As Neil Smith (1996: 93) said: ‘After the stretch-limo optimism of the 1980s was rear-ended in the financial crash of 1987, then totaled by the onset of economic depression two years later, real estate agents and urban commentators quickly began deploying the language of “de-gentrification” to represent the apparent reversal of urban change in the 1990s’.

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The future of a global city
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How is London responding to social and economic crises, and to the challenges of sustaining its population, economy and global status?

Sustainable development discourse has come to permeate different policy fields, including transport, housing, property development and education. In this exciting book, authors highlight the uneven impacts and effects of these policies in London, including the creation of new social and economic inequalities. The contributors seek to move sustainable city debates and policies in London towards a progressive, socially just future that advances the public good.

The book is essential reading for urban practitioners and policy makers, and students in social, urban and environmental geography, sociology and urban studies.

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This chapter discusses how sustainable development discourse is shifting towards the notion of resilience that seems more conservative than the concept of sustainability, and less likely to offer a way to challenge the inequities of socio-spatial development pursued in the name of sustainable development. In evaluating the potential effects of the shift in emphasis, the chapter recommends that there is need to move debates, plans and policies away from the current sustainable cities agenda, which is concerned primarily with pursuing sustainable cities that balance environmental concerns, the needs of future populations and economic growth. Instead, it suggests a reconsideration of interpretations of sustainability concerned with the traditional notions of social justice which seek to balance market and social interests in the public good.

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London is one of the most dense, vibrant, and influential urban centers in the world, and this book takes a close look at how it is addressing one of the key questions of our time: environmental sustainability. Chapters take on questions of transportation, housing, property development, education, and more, looking at the effects of sustainability initiatives not only on the environment but also on inequality, urban accessibility, and more.

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