Black and white views of Portobello Road and the Notting Hill neighbourhood before its regeneration shine on characters and the area's strong communities: hulking houses now demolished, graffiti gone, timeless market life, each picture provokes enquiring minds to consider who benefits from the process of regeneration, the changes in Notting Hill now echoed in other easterly areas of London as gentrification more inexorably onwards, and post-Pandemic cityscapes re-form synchronising economic and social change in the reality of shopping and working from home and socialising again in public spaces.
Background: The 1970s North Kensington, Notting Hill and Portobello market areas comprised segments of significant deprivation. Nearly 25% of North Kensington was in the worst 10% of Inner London measured by Housing and Social Condition indicators, according to a report published by Notting Hill Housing (Trust) in 1980. Today, anyone living in the area will know that rents can range from £395 to over £3,100 per week with house prices to match – a vastly changed cultural landscape from the Notting Hill of 1976.
Future Scape: In 2022 with inflation rising, economies shrinking, fuel and climate needs colliding, what is to be gained from analysing past foundations of present problems and solutions? With West London as a precursor to East London's future, Woolwich and Greenwich show the fabric of some neighbourhoods still under stress. In the regeneration of the area juxtaposed with examples of ageing Modernist there are challenging reminders of past wealth such as the Cutty Sark controversially display on a glass housing. Student projects in the local architecture college examine 'future ruins' - what is it that will last from today's regeneration schemes - while urban designers focus in on balancing the complex demands of progress, spatial equity and accessibility with the essential element for well-being: clean air.
The learning is: 'spatial justice' requires analysis and therefore measures of its component values, to enable us to manage and deliver these multiple demands of regenerating place.