Gentrification or ghettoisation? What the current economic climate is doing to the landscape of our urban centres.
Here’s the European Environment Agency on URBAN STRESS.
Heron Free on the DailyTV Programme:
This is a student video about Urban Stress in Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Urban Problems in MEDCs
Urban areas in MEDCs have experienced a range of problems in recent years. These include:
Traffic problems. Car ownership and commuting means an increase in congestion and pollution.
Decline in industry. As older manufacturing industries have closed they have left empty, derelict buildings towards the centre of the city. Modern industries need more space so tend to locate on the edge of the city.
High unemployment in inner city areas (where the old industries were once located) leads to social problems.
Changes in shopping have also caused problems. City centre locations are no longer favoured. There has been a recent growth in out of town shopping centres, which has led to the decline of many CBDs (central business districts).
Case Study – Inner City Redevelopment London’s Docklands
In 1981 the London’s Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) was set up to improve the economic, social and environmental problems that had developed in the area that was once one of the world’s busiest ports. The area had been in decline since the 1950’s. This is because larger ships could no longer access the port. Unemployment soared, the back to back terraced housing fell into disrepair and their was a lack of transport and leisure facilities. The area became on the first Enterprise Zones in 1981. The land was made rate free for ten years.
Between 1981-1998 many changes occurred within the Docklands. For example:
Low rents attracted a number of hi-tech and financial firms. This includes The Limehouse ITV studios and The Guardian and Daily Telegraph newspapers.
Many of the former warehouses have been transformed into luxury flats. This is an example of gentrification. Low cost housing has also been built along with the renovation of older council owned properties.
A large shopping area was constructed close to Canary Warf. A number of parks have been created where buildings once stood. More recently the Millennium Dome was built in this area.
Although the redevelopment of London’s Docklands brought many benefits to the area there are some groups who oppose the changes. This includes some of the original inhabitants of the area who are now unable to afford to live there. The majority of the jobs in the new hi-tech industries are unsuitable to unemployed docker workers. They do not have the skills needed for jobs in these industries. Close knit-communities have been broken up. Many believe there are insufficient services for people living in the area e.g. care for the elderly.
London’s Docklands now has its own light railway. The Dockland Light Railway (DLR) connects with Bank and Monument underground stations. This makes travel into the City of London very easy.