In it together Poppy Noor and readers answer your questions
Advocates of regeneration/gentrification believe such developments bring new vibrancy, increase diversity and raise aspirations. But as a youth worker it’s clear to me that the problems facing young people in the area are the same as they have been for a long time: housing issues, poverty, lack of opportunities, gang crime, drugs and so on. What measures could be used to make sure that when regeneration happens, it actually addresses long-term problems rather than masks them?
You seem to be involved in your community, and to have a knowledge of what makes the people around you tick. Jayden Ali, a spatial practitioner who focuses on how architecture and space develop communities, suggests thinking about the different ways in which a space can be valued: “One difficulty is that the valuesystem set up to evaluate these things tends to be economic.” But if a development such as a pricey coffee shop or food market will dramatically alter a street, is there a way of thinking about who it benefits and putting that in a response to a planning consultation? As an example, Ali suggests thinking about accessibility in a broader way. It’s normally a term concerning people with physical disabilities – but what about accessibility for people in low-income groups? “Having an establishment on your doorstep that you can’t access has a deep psychological impact,” he says.
The planning system is not set up so that a single person’s view can skew the judgment, but you could gain clout by joining a residents’ group and become part of a collective voice. Not everyone will want to, or feel confident about being involved in bureaucratic processes. But is there a way to engage them anyway?
To do this, Ali organises a local street party once a year: “It was in response to another local party, which feels inaccessible to low-income groups on our estate.” The party allows them to be in charge of their street for a day, to enjoy their area in the way they choose. “It’s about a city being generous to its population and having ownership even for a brief moment. Being present rather than just visible,” says Ali. His plan is to empower these residents to take over the party – handing over something to them that they want to have ownership of. Hopefully, you can do that too. incentive is to meet metrics for cost rather than value, and the quality of public services becomes irrelevant. kent_rules
Community is an empty word if a portion of people are excluded. For me, as an ex-street artist, the psychological function of arts and creating hubs that support startups, workshops and outreach groups where people can genuinely participate and feel a sense of ownership is a sure way of broadening councils’ vision. boldoldie
Councils must assert themselves
It’s up to local authorities to require developers to provide a proportion of affordable housing when they build new houses. In West Lothian the council’s development plan requires that 25% of new homebuilding is affordable housing, which in this context means provided by a body such as the council or a housing association. notangry
They don’t consider the people
Regeneration schemes tend to be bad because they don’t take into account the people living in the targeted area. Developers and governments tend to focus on poor neighbourhoods because the land is cheaper and easier to buy because it’s owned mostly by landlords. Then they evict the poor people, who have to move to other poor neighbourhoods and take the social problems with them, often making their situation worse. IrishinToronto
It’s all about profit
Regeneration is all about extracting as much private profit as possible. Assets are transferred at well below market value. Planning permission is granted regardless of objections. “Affordable” quotas are never enforced; ultimately a private company turns an enormous profit. It would be infinitely better value if the local authority did the regeneration and built a mix of 50% private homes for sale to help fund the remaining 50% as council homes. Petrilix The next problem The landlord is kicking us out of our busy little community space. How can we get the council to protect us? Email your advice – or send a new question for Poppy and readers to consider – to in.it.to[email protected]