This is happening in Bristol. Formerly scruffy neighbourhoods but with a sense of community are being gentrified, with the original working class inhabitants pushed out to or beyond the margins of the city. In many of these neighbourhoods, there’s a trajectory. Empty buildings are taken over by artists looking for cheap/free space to work from. Once a cluster of artists establish themselves, along come the coffee shops and cafes to serve the needs of the artists.
Then the cheap and cheerful artists studios start to get more professional or are converted into loft apartments. Whole buildings start to get gutted and retrofitted as trendy apartments. The rough and ready graffiti and street art get replaced by slicker, more ‘professional’ looking murals. The neighbourhoods started to become ‘desirable’… The artists who originally set up shop in the old warehouses find themselves being ‘thanked’ by the developers before being moved out, having performed their unintended role in making the area they were in ‘trendy’.
Do you really want to be a part of this?
This sort of crap’s been going on for a while now in Bristol, same with Air BnB’s, and then the ‘Anti-Squats’ that Camelot and others were manipulating a number of years ago. Pretty much taking advantage of homeless, travellers, and the alternative community, as well as some of the less caring fashionable artists and middle class bohemians, with the corps using them as free security for derlick buildings and sites, or in the arty Bohemians case, use them to increase property prices, with art fares/markets etc (nothing wrong with art or markets, just seems like those that generally happpened were to close to powers manipultaion, and generally a rip off of the occasssional, Temporary Autonmous Art Zones). Some of these sites were pretty dangerous, with electric faults, leaks, damp and other issues. It’s a swindle…but not many see it like this, or want to question the ethics of it. I’ve heard from friends that used to live in Hackney this is pretty much what they did while trying to gentrify the area there. Now with the pop up’s it’s pretty much contributing to the same around Easton and other areas, last I heard rents are up to almost £2500 in some cases, while at the same time eviction and homelessness is increasing. With council and business coluding and not much activity form the locla community around gentrification, things seem to be getting worse. Bristol is becoming a turd rapped in Glitter, where power would like resistance to be slowly pushed out and replaced with helplessness, and complicite neo-liberalism.
Even when it comes to music, and diy culture, the local authorties either jump on it to shut it down or assilmulate it to fit in to an image that suits the land barrons agenda, a ‘nice’ repackaging of what comes form the grassroots as hip and cool for those fashionable speculative property price and rent rises.
Glad you have mentioned this.