#BlackLondonFutures in Peril

People fear impact of Smart City projects

 By Thomas L Blair  1 September 2017 copyright


Hard times decades before the fiery injustice of Grenfell Tower. Grimmer now. But will the future be any better for London’s Black and ethnic minorities?

If I’m right the trends toward Smart City London are ominous.

Urban elites will continue to defend  “the  super-city for the super rich”.

The Architects Journal reports massive land banking and new transportation links are on the drawing boards.

Trends show a common pattern. Councils and public housing agencies promote “cost effective” regeneration strategies. The bulldozers wreak havoc and wreck neighbourhoods.

The shock waves will hit all boroughs. Especially those with large or near majority Black and ethnic tenants; many waiting for years on the housing list.

Witness Newham borough’s notice in the Official Journal of the European Union. In it the council touts for “private sector joint venture partners” for a knock down-rebuild project.

They’ll demolish the 700 homes on the Carpenter housing estate and build 3000 upmarket bijou residences. Only 35 per cent of the estate’s homes will be ‘affordable’”. Profitable all-round the deal benefits from its highly valued location adjacent to London’s Olympic Games Park.

Predictably, hundreds of projects like this will fundamentally change London’s cityscape, economy and services. The backlash will cripple the urban tenantry and limit #BlackLondonFutures.

Therefore the big question for fair housing advocates must be: how to make London a Smart City model of excellence. One that ensures decent work opportunities, an adequate standard of living, and opportunities to participate in civic and cultural life?

Photo: Man and London Tower Bridge/Thomas L Blair copyright

Your comments are welcome.

Check out the Chronicleworld articles: How to Tackle the London Social Housing Crisis, March 11, 2016; Cross-cultural Urban Design, March 5, 2016; and Time for Positive High-Impact Politics – Tip Sheet 5 on Voting, May 2, 2015