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Regeneration, the 2012 Olympics and the gentrification of East London

It's Not For Us

Paul Watt

This paper examines the much-hyped 2012 Olympic Games ‘legacy’ in relation to the displacement experiences of lower-income East Londoners. The paper begins by outlining the overall context of housing-related regeneration including the reduced role for social housing, especially council (public) housing in London. It then sets out a framework for understanding how regeneration, state-led gentrification and displacement are intertwined, as well as how such processes have been contested. The paper examines these issues in greater depth with reference to case studies of the inhabitants of two working class spaces in the London Borough of Newham, an Olympics host borough. The first study is based on the Carpenters Estate, a council housing estate in Stratford that is facing potential demolition, and the second focuses on young people living in a temporary supported housing unit. These studies illustrate how the 2012 Olympics, alongside other regeneration schemes, is changing the nature of space and place from the perspective of existing East London residents and how gentrification is implicated in such transformations. Neither the Carpenters Estate residents nor the young people think that the Olympics and other regeneration schemes in Newham are primarily occurring, if at all, for their benefit indeed, displacement processes may well mean that they are no longer able to live in their current neighbourhood. The Olympics legacy is for others, not for them.


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It's Not For Us.pdf434.42 KB

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