Example Geography Essay Examination of the scale and extent of gentrification and its implications in London.

Example Geography Essay Examination of the scale and extent of gentrification and its implications in London.
Definition - Gentrification refersto the physical, social, economic and cultural phenomenon where by workingclass and / or inner-city neighbourhoods are converted into more affluentmiddle class communities by remodelling building, resulting in increasedproperty values and in the displacement of the poor.
It was Ruth Glass(1964) who was first believed to have brought the issue of gentrification tothe fore with definitions such as the one outlined below.

One by one, manyof the working class quartersof London have been invaded by the middle-classes - upperand lower. Shabby, modest mews and cottages - two roomsup and two down - have been taken over, when their leases have expired, andhave become elegant, expensive residences Once this process of 'gentrification'starts in a district it goes on rapidly until all or most of the original working-classoccupiers are displaced and the whole social character ofthe district is changed.(Hamnett, 2000)

This displacementof the working class and the rehabilitation of poorer and derelict housing hasled to the transformation of an area into a middle - class neighbourhood.(Smith, 1996)

Gentrification hasbeen described by Slater, (2002) as a fascinating, powerful and oftenfrighteningly rapid process which plays an important role in fashioning thephysical and social form of cities. Like the more widespread process ofsuburbanization, it is a process which has had a profound impact on the livesof urban residents in hundreds of cities.

Scale of Gentrification in London

According to Butler and Robson(2003a) there are four social 'fields of human activity these are: housing,employment, education and consumption. It will therefore be these factors whichare discussed here in identifying the scale of gentrification in the Londonarea.

Ruth Glass' (1964)statement shows the effect that gentrification has had on thehousing market: it is the process by which the original, poor and working-class residents, are displaced from neighbourhoods by rising costs and otherforces directly related to an influx of new, wealthier residents. TheHousing market is therefore an excellent indication of the change in an area,based on the contention that working class people can no longer to afford tolive in these areas with rising rents and house prices. Atkinson (2000) hastried to measure the gentrification of an area through measuring thisdisplacement of certain types of people.

London has experienced massivedeindustrialisation, but has also seen rapid expansion of business andfinancial services such as banking, legal services and management consultanciesas well as the continued growth of a number of creative industries such asadvertising, film and videos creation, music, fashion and design. (Hamnett,1999) Cities such as London have been characterised by the transformation oftheir industrial occupational, income and residential structure. The rise ofcities such as this with their cultural interests and housing market demandshas, in large part, been responsible for the growth of gentrification inpost-industrial inner cities.

Also of importance in discussingthe scale of gentrification is the on going social processes through whichformerly deprived or undesirable areas are transformed and made congenial tothe requirements of middle - class life. (Butler and Robson,2001) such asemployment, education and capital.

Schools and education are majorissues in gentrification. Butler and Robson (2003b) highlight this problem.Inner London is different from the rest of the country in that it is onlyrelatively recently that it has acquired middle -class households with childrenbeing left with what is widely seen as an education system which is seen asamongst the worst performing, particularly at secondary level, in the UnitedKingdom.

Middle - class households have theassets to be able to find non - local schools or use the private educationsystem. Working - class families do not have these same resources available andtherefore these children are not being given the same opportunities as theirmiddle - class peers to obtain a higher standard of education, and therefore theeducation infrastructures of the areas are being transformed.

Employment patterns have alsoundergone notable changes. In Inner London, a decline has taken place amongstthe skilled, manual and routine, non-manual groups whilst the growth in recentyears, has occurred amongst the professional middle class. (Butler and Robson,2003b) However it has been noted by Sassen (1991) who suggested that changes inthe labour market of 'global cities' results in social polarisation.Social polarisation is the various ways in which many areas arebecoming more socially distinct over time. In this case we are seeing areaswith an originally small middle - class population, becoming 'richer' as themiddle - class population increases and the working - class populationdecreases.

Hamnett, (1999) states many residentswork in business or creative industries in the central city or its environs,and have long or irregular hours and therefore want to live close to work andthe cultural and entertainment facilities offered by the central city. He goeson to note that traditional central areas are expensive and in short supply.Consequently, the new middle class have sought out new living opportunities inthe inner city. There has also been a noted increase in feminisation of theprofessional work force and the formation of dual career families. (Butler andRobson, 2003b) Over the last few decades more women have chosen to continuetheir careers as well as become mothers. This has led to the need to relocateto the inner city to avoid travelling long distances and consequently savingtime. This factor can therefore contribute to the gentrification of an area andhas be noted by Butler and Robson (2001) there is a large concentration ofmothers or nanny's pushing buggies as well as evidence of traditional familyarrangements being present in Battersea.

Localised patterns ofgentrification by differing middle - class groups are characterised bydiffering relations of forms of capital. This has involved examining differentstrategies of capital deployment in the attempt of a given group to transformthe locality in which can be seen positive changes in both the materialinfrastructure and symbolic values of places. (Butler and Robson , 2003a) Akinson(2000a) noted the benefits this capital has had on a community through increasingthe status of an area, its capital wealth leading to a decrease in socialproblems.

Example Geography Essay Examination of the scale and extent of gentrification and its implications in London. 7.5 of 10 on the basis of 2499 Review.