In it to­gether Poppy Noor and read­ers answer your ques­tions

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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

Creative think­ing

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]

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