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Gentrification is destroying the cultural life of our cities - here's what needs to be done

East London's Hoxton is one of the areas whose vibrant artistic life has been pushed out by gentrification
East London's Hoxton is one of the areas whose vibrant artistic life has been pushed out by gentrification

Nothing sells a city like culture. London is keen to boast about its cultural ‘offer’, and of course it has plenty to boast about. Yet as a new report from the London Assembly makes clear, the picture is not all rosy. It’s estimated that by 2018 around 3,500 of the city’s artists are likely to lose their places of work, which is around 30% of the total. And 35% of London’s grassroots music venues disappeared between 2007 and 2015.

This is a galloping disaster - and to its credit the London Assembly is now putting pressure on Mayor Sadiq Khan to address it, in its report ‘Creative Tensions: Optimising the benefits of culture through regeneration.’ The root cause of the problem is the now-familiar one of gentrification.

It’s a process exemplified by the changing fortunes of East London’s Hoxton. The centre of a thriving textile and furniture trade in the 19th century, by the 1970s it had fallen...

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