Gentrification? Brixton's Angell Town Story

angell-town-18- outdoor space.jpeg

In the US, urban planners talk about the 'redevelopment' of a neighborhood. In the UK, 'regeneration' is heard more often. What is the difference, from both the planner and the resident perspective? Are they both synonyms for 'gentrification'? Angell Town , a UK 'estate' in Brixton — it would be called a 'public housing project' by Americans — provides a good example of how these questions are answered in practice.

In theory, meanwhile, the answers are… yes, and no. They overlap quite a bit, but the terms are not the same. In its simplest form, to redevelop is to develop again, which implies doing it over completely. Regeneration most directly means “rebirth or renewal”, implying that the entity remains throughout the process.

The American Planning Association (APA) defines redevelopment as “public actions that are undertaken to stimulate activity when the private market is not providing sufficient capital and economic activity to achieve the desired level of improvement…. such as direct public investment, capital improvements, enhanced public services, technical assistance, promotion, tax benefits, and other stimuli including planning initiatives such as rezoning."

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) defines regeneration as “a holistic process which aims to reverse the economic, social and physical decline of places where market forces alone will not suffice… balancing community, business, environmental and individual needs… as well as changes to the physical environment.”

So — redevelopment focuses on monetary investment and physical changes. Regeneration focuses on the existing community and the “social decline” of a place, as well as economic and physical factors. Even further, it aims to “holistically,” address “individual needs.” Of course many redevelopment projects address the community, but because the APA distinctly says that “the private sector may initiate redevelopment projects without any active public involvement beyond the government’s traditional regulatory role,” I would argue that it involves less social investment than regeneration.

Perhaps the distinct difference between the responsibility to act directly on behalf of existing residents versus the responsibility to investors stems from a large English planning system that is more politicized (and therefore receives more federal funding.)

While in America, gentrification might be seen as an inevitable side effect of redevelopment, in England it is seen as a sometimes inevitable and therefore tragic side effect of regeneration.

To illustrate this point, look at a true regeneration project: Angell Town, Brixton, London

Problem (courtesy of Rudi):

• Lack of public space for social interaction – derelict communal areas were unused.
• The garages provided were dark and un-surveyed, and therefore, never used.
• The estate was perceived as crime ridden, as the multiplicity of bridges and walkways provided ideal escape routes for criminals, often from outside the estate itself.
• Litter accumulation resulted from removing the bridges (which gave access to the waste removal pick-up points), in an attempt to reduce crime
• The estate came to epitomize neglect and decline
• The estate became stigmatized a sink estate.

Solution – A summary of simple urban design changes:

• The first main part of the scheme involved re-orientating the existing deck-access housing into a more “normal” street format, based on terraced dwellings which related to the street through individual entrances.
• Each dwelling was given an individual, recognized identity — surveillance on the street was improved, as windows now faced directly out
• Terraced housing replaced the monotonous, unsafe corridors of entrances.
• The pedways, which were perceived as unsafe, were removed so that the houses could be extended to face on to the street.
• New central grassed areas were defined as focal points for the houses. These areas were separated from the new vehicular perimeter roads by railings, enabling children to play, away from the danger of traffic and dogs.
• The unused garages on the ground floors were replaced with shops and community facilities, such as a bar, cafe, workshops, and even a recording studio in one area, to provide the previously, much lacked social amenities. This design measure also helped transform dark and bleak spots into animated facades of street level activity.

Instead of only seeing Angell Town's problems, the urban designer, planners, and architects looked at them as opportunities to build on the strong community that had lived there for decades. The project improvements didn’t eradicate every trace of the place that had become their home, but committed a large investment to renovate the buildings they could, and design the new ones to compliment the existing ones so well that you had to look hard to tell the difference between the two.

Members of the community could still see where they came from. In other words, it still felt like home. Most importantly they could look again a little harder and see their bright futures. This might sound like I’m laying it on a little thick, but the success of this regeneration stunned so many, both nationwide and on the European continent, that it provoked intense project documentation. Residents who were interviewed realized what planners so often don’t: they looked to their physical environment to define their identity. With the existing bones of the original Angell Town Estate still in existence, they easily identified the physical improvements to be improvements in themselves.

This outstanding result came from an intense and time-consuming community consultation process, a term that is distinctly different than public involvement. The lead urban designer was so involved with the community that he actually lived there on the weekends in a flat. While this is rare in any country, it certainly is to be commended.

Perhaps the most powerful items in Angell Town now are the benches that, poetically, are made from the rubble of demolished parts of the old buildings, caged, with stone seats on top. People can actually sit on the physical representation of what was destroying their community. This was recited by residents often as what made the biggest difference to them. Don’t ever underestimate the power of poeticism!

I would love you to share you comments on this story. I'll also suggest: Consider the many similar public housing projects in America that have been completely razed and rebuilt to look like another place. How does it make people feel to have their homes be deemed so worthless that they are torn down and completely replaced, often with architectural rubbish?

So, what will it be — redevelopment or regeneration?

Photo: UK Government Web Archive: Angell Town – "Many residents also have private outdoor space." Building for Life is run by CABE and the Home Builders Federation with Design for Homes.© Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)

A different version of this post appeared on Erin Chantry's blog, At the Helm of the Public Realm. Chantry is an Urban Designer in the Urban Design and Community Planning Service Team with Tindale-Oliver & Associates



















Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

clipping path

I like the helpful information you provide for your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff proper here! Best of luck for the following!
clipping path

Regeneration most directly

Regeneration most directly means “rebirth or renewal”, implying that the entity remains throughout the process. pizza hut

Your article is very

Your article is very exciting and informational. I am trying to decide on a career move and this has helped me with one aspect. Thank you so much!
cell phone spyware
clubmz reviews

They overlap quite a bit,

They overlap quite a bit, but the terms are not the same. In its simplest form, to redevelop is to develop again, which implies doing it over completely. buy facebook fans

In the US, urban planners

In the US, urban planners talk about the 'redevelopment' of a neighborhood. In the UK, 'regeneration' is heard more often. debt negotiation

Life is run by CABE and the

Life is run by CABE and the Home Builders Federation with Design for Homes.© Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment sora license renewal

They overlap quite a bit,

They overlap quite a bit, but the terms are not the same. In its simplest form, to redevelop is to develop again, which implies metal roofing nj

While in America,

While in America, gentrification might be seen as an inevitable side effect of redevelopment, in England it is seen as a sometimes inevitable and therefore tragic side effect of regeneration. gas engineers dorridge

I'm not going to lie, After

I'm not going to lie, After examine a few of the blog posts on your web site now, Hi there. Very cool website cream walet asli walet !! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds also.I'm happy to locate a lot of useful information right here within the post. Thank you for sharing.

In theory, meanwhile, the

In theory, meanwhile, the answers are… yes, and no. They overlap quite a bit, but the terms are not the same. In its simplest form, to redevelop is to develop again, which implies doing it over completely. bathroom faucet repair nj

http://www.loveisaffair.com

It's awesome to visit this web site and reading the views of all colleagues concerning this piece of writing, while I am also keen of getting experience. http://www.loveisaffair.com

Useful information.I am actual

I think this is a real great article post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

Raspberry Ketone review |Garcinia review

Great...Nice Post.. I admire

Great...Nice Post.. I admire the valuable info you offer you inside your articles. I'll bookmark your website and have my kids examine up the following typically.
free cell phone spy
cell spyware

nice

I will actually be grateful the writer's selection for choosing this skillful article relevant to my affair. Pico Rivera Garage Door Repair Here is deep characterization about the article issue which supported me more.

find more info

Took me time to read all the comments, You're so cool! I don't think I've read anything like this before. Please let me know if you're looking for a article author for your weblog. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. - Xamthone Plus

click this link here now

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I'm sure you had fun writing this article. The lock is typically engaged via a small switch on the edge of the door that is only accessible when the door is open. - service genset

Thanks for posting this

Thanks for posting this informative article which I have been searching some days. Hi, just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your post. I'm not going to lie, I'm really impressed. Its rare for me to find something on the internet that's as entertaining and intriguing as what you've got here. - Manfaat Kulit Manggis

You're so cool! I don't

You're so cool! I don't think I've read anything like this before. So good to find somebody with some original thoughts on this subject. Thanks for starting this up. I do wish there were more people like you around on the interwebs. Your page is sweet, your graphics are great, and what's more, you use videos that are relevant to what you're saying. - Jamu Diabetes

This is exactly what I was

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing this great article! This site is excellent and so is how the subject matter was explained. I also like some of the comments too.Waiting for next post. - kliquid Chlorophyll

Positive site, where did u

Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. - isi ulang pemadam api

This is exactly what I was

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing this great article! That is very interesting Smile I love reading and I am always searching for informative information like this catering murah di jakarta barat!

Someone I work with visits

Someone I work with visits your blog regularly and recommended it to me to read also. The writing style is great and the content is top-notch. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers! - cara memperbesar alat vital

You're so cool! I don't

You're so cool! I don't think I've read anything like this before. I do wish there were more people like you around on the interwebs. I'm not going to lie, I'm really impressed. - jamu tradisional

I do wish there were more

I do wish there were more people like you around on the interwebs. Not many people are careful with their words, including myself sometimes. I have written things I would love to take back, goo work, keep it up - Jati Belanda

Hi there. Very cool website

Hi there. Very cool website kegunaan cream walet asli !! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds also.I'm happy to locate a lot of useful information right here within the post. Thank you for sharing.

This type of message always

This type of message always inspiring and I prefer to read quality content, so happy to find good place to many here in the post, the writing is just great, thanks for the post. - baju hamil

I am find information on

I am find information on this topic as I am working on a business project. Thank you, How did you get to be this great? Its remarkable to see someone put so much passion into a subject. Im glad I came across this. Im glad I took the time to read on past the first paragraph. Youve got so much to say, so significantly to give. I hope men and women realise this and look into your page - apartemen sewa

How did you get to be this

How did you get to be this great? I discovered so many interesting things inside your blog especially. - parfum original

The lock is typically

The lock is typically engaged via a small switch on the edge of the door that is only accessible when the door is open. Some cars implement the locking mechanism as a rotary device which must be turned with the vehicle key, this design prevents sticky fingered passengers from disabling the lock as they enter the vehicle. In both designs the lock is completely inaccessible, especially to the passenger, when the door is closed. Thanks a lot.
Reg ards, - toko tas branded wanita

I want to encourage yourself

I want to encourage yourself to continue your great job, have a nice morning. I think this is the best impression. I like to do something after reading it.

Really impressed! Everything

Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues. It contains truly facts of Bank Mandiri Bank Terbaik di Indonesia. Your website is very valuable. Thanks for sharing

Wonderful post!This is very

Wonderful post!This is very useful to many readers like me. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. - alat pemadam kebakaran

Hi, just wanted to let you

Hi, just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your post. I hope there will be more good posts here! - pc tablet murah