Abstract This article is a sequel to an analysis of diagnoses of the causes of the 2011 Tottenham Riots published in this journal (2012) which charts the emergence of a predominant focus on developer-led gentrification in the area. We locate this focus on gentrification within United Kingdom urban policy and political debates and through a historical analysis of regeneration policy and community development as this played out in Northumberland Park, the most deprived area of Tottenham. Introduction The demolition of local authority housing estates and their replacement with redevelopments that rebalance the tenure mix towards owner-occupation and private rent in a form of state-led gentrification has been an increasingly prominent feature urban policy in England. Gentrification in this context is understood to be a contemporary and more complex version of the organic phenomenon identified in the 1960s by Glass (1964) where the agents of neighbourhood change were young professionals and students. In its current iteration, the process of gentrification is seen to be led or facilitated by the state operating in collaboration with property developers with gentrifiers coming from a broader range of socioeconomic categories including middle class families, older couples and individuals downsizing from family houses (‘empty nesters’) and international business elites (Ley, 2012). What does remain constant is an understanding of gentrification to mean the settlement within working class neighbourhoods by the middle and upper middle classes and the sociocultural transformation that takes place in these as a result of this process, in particular, the displacement of existing residents (Atkinson, 2000a, 2000b) The problem with the analysis set out above is that it posits, the somewhat simplistic assumption that ‘gentrification has evolved from a spontaneous, haphazard process (first wave) to one where the state and developers play a systematic role’ (Harris, 2008: 2411). Through its public policy and planning role, the institutional sphere has always, in fact, had a key role to play in instigating and regulating urban development schemes that promote gentrification (ibid). Writing in the American context, Smith (1979: 559) highlights the assistance provided by the state in supporting some of the first urban renewal projects designed to attract middle class suburbanites back to city centres. Smith viewed gentrification as fundamentally a neoliberal, market driven process in which deliberate disinvestment in neighbourhoods causes a decline in their property values resulting in the emergence of a ‘rent gap’ which, in turn, triggers speculative investment by developers in the renewal of neglected houses and their eventual sale to middle class buyers. By contrast, Ley (1986, 1996) described gentrification in terms of consumer choice exercised by sections of the middle class pursuing a sociocultural lifestyle choice although, arguably, there is no reason why both theoretical models cannot complement each other within a more holistic typology of the phenomenon (Atkinson, 2003: 2344). The role of local, regional and national government, over the past four decades at least, as an enabler of urban renewal policies that promote gentrification is well established and not in doubt. Studies of urban regeneration initiatives in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe identify an ambition to foster the growth, revitalization and economic prosperity of cities as a key motivating factor alongside the contribution that gentrification is seen to make to the achievement of policy goals in areas such as community cohesion, housing, education and crime reduction. (Lipman, 2007; Bruns-Berenteig, 2012; Uitermark, Duyvendak, and Kleinhans, 2007). A core component of this agenda is a perceived need to diversify the social and tenure mix within more deprived localities as a means of building the civic efficacy and responsibility of their existing residents by giving them access to the social and cultural capital and political and economic resources of the middle class (Cameron, 2003; Lipman, 2007). The current wave of gentrification wave in the United Kingdom has its genesis in the urban renewal policies of the New Labour Government (1997−2010) which combined the goal of city growth and regeneration with the aim of tackling poverty and building community capacity within deprived neighbourhoods. New Labour urban policy was defined by two distinct themes, namely, a neighbourhood renewal priority focussed on tackling social exclusion and narrowing the gap between deprived areas and the rest of the country, and, an ‘urban renaissance’ agenda centred on design-led ‘revival of cities to promote economic growth’ (Colomb, 2007: 5). While there was a nodding acknowledgement to American ‘new urbanism’, the envisaged urban renaissance was essentially modelled on European approaches characterized by well-designed high-density mixed-use development which was seen to promote sustainable urban communities (Atkinson, 2004: 19). Within this policy framework, the promotion of goal of mixed tenure housing development became amplifed within English housing and planning policy (ODPM, 2003, 2005a, 2005b). This, it was claimed, would combat social exclusion by fostering social capital and community capacity (SEU, 1998: 53; Lees, 2008: 2452–2453). Implicit in this analysis was a conception of deprived communities as socially dysfunctional and lacking the qualities of civic responsibility, local trust, altruism self-help, mutuality and cohesion (Amin, 2005: 620). Council housing estates were depicted as sites of concentrated poverty, cut off from mainstream society, whose residents suffered from a range of poor outcomes including unemployment, low education achievement, poor health, crime and a degraded physical environment and lacked the capacity to help themselves (SEU, 1998). In New Labour’s diagnosis of social exclusion, ‘the council estate played a symbolic and ideological role as a signifier of a spatially concentrated underclass’. (Lees, 2014; 924). This dystopian analysis has continued to inform the urban policy prescription of subsequent government administrations. Writing in a Sunday newspaper article, prior to the launch of the current Conservative Government’s estate renewal strategy in January 2016, the then British Prime Minister, David Cameron invoked images of ‘brutal high-rise towers and dark alleyways’ and echoed the language of Tony Blair over 18 years earlier in describing them as a ‘gift to criminals and drug dealers’ (Cameron, 2016). A significant body of empirical evidence from the United Kingdom and elsewhere suggests that state-led social mixing policies do not necessarily improve outcomes and life chances for poor people (Cheshire, 2007: p. ix). Successive governments have, however, continued to cleave to the ideal of mixed communities as a central component of urban policy. The large-scale mixed tenure redevelopment of council housing estates which began under New Labour continued under the Coalition Government elected in 2010. Whilst New Labour efforts to redevelop estates were often pump-primed with significant government funding through links to wider area-based regeneration programmes such as the New Deal for Communities, this is no longer the case. The Conservative Government’s Estate Renewal Strategy (DCLG, 2016) expected that investment needed by local authorities for urban regeneration would come from the private sector. The favoured funding model that emerged to enable such investment is based on the concept of the local backed asset vehicle that involves local authorities using some or all of their housing stock and other property they own as collateral to lever in private investment In practice, this usually involves the local authority setting up a joint development vehicle with a private sector partner to deliver building projects over a longer period of time, normally 15–20 years. Local authorities seeking to build anything more than a small amount of new social housing are compelled to enter into such partnerships because of borrowing caps imposed by central government. Our analysis considers how Haringey Council in north London has sought to advance the demolition and redevelopment of the Northumberland Park Estate in Tottenham as part of a plan to create a mixed neighbourhood in the area. The council’s strategy is examined in the context of historic efforts to tackle deprivation and promote community development in Tottenham. The research encompassed a number of methodological tools. The evolution and development of the local authority’s estate renewal strategy was mapped by analysis of a range of document produced by Haringey Council. The council’s engagement with the local community was tracked through observation of resident consultation meetings organized by Haringey Council between 2015 and 2017. Responses to the council’s plans were studied through observation of meetings held by the campaign group set up to oppose the proposed development and interviews with its key members. Interviews were also carried out with various residents of the estate including some who were members of a residents’ association set up by the council as a structure through which to consult residents. By way of establishing a longer-term perspective for the study, the history of the estate and the council’s engagement with it over time was examined through analysis of council minutes from the late 1950s to the 1990s. Efforts to regenerate Tottenham were given a renewed impetus in the aftermath of the 2011 riots following the killing of a local man, Mark Duggan, by the police. These were preceded by a degree of soul searching, expressed in local authority and inquiry reports, which initially focused on community issues (Dillon and Fanning, 2012). Very quickly, this emphasis was discarded; a developer-led approach came to be seen by institutional actors as the only viable option. A lack of meaningful engagement with local communities could have been anticipated given the poor consultation track record of the local authority during previous regeneration programmes in the area (Dillon and Fanning, 2012: 578−579). This has proven to be the case. Northumberland Park’s long history of institutional neglect Northumberland Park is a council housing estate adjacent to the Tottenham Hotspur football stadium in North London. The estate is bordered by industrial areas to its north and north-east, Tottenham High Road to its west and the West Anglia mainline railway to its east. Lee Valley Regional Park, one of London’s largest open spaces lies to the east of the estate, beyond the railway line. Tottenham Hotspur Football Club’s existing grounds and the new stadium that is currently being built are both adjacent to the Estate on it western side. Most of the current housing stock dates from the 1950s and 1960s when the local authority demolished older housing in the area. The final fifth phase of development, comprising 250 housing units was approved in 1970 but not completed until 1975 because of delays caused by a dispute with the builders. Most of the housing on the estate comprises low-rise blocks of flats, maisonettes and single storey flats. The estate contains a large secondary school and a primary school. Northumberland Park has suffered from very high levels of relative poverty for decades. Data from the national Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) which measures deprivation in regard to income, employment, health and disability, education, housing, crime and living environment, has consistently identified Northumberland Park as the most deprived ward in Haringey and as one of the most deprived in England. A recent IMD, published in 2015, placed Northumberland Park in the bottom two to three percent (Haringey Council, 2015a). Analysis of the minutes of the meetings of various local authority committees since 1960s indicates that the Northumberland Park area was largely ignored whenever initiatives aimed at addressing poverty or promoting community development were debated. During the late 1970s, community development programmes were introduced in Haringey, as elsewhere, but again very little support was targeted at Northumberland Park. In comparison to other localities, the area appears to have been somewhat ignored and neglected when it came to the provision of community centres and other local amenities. While deprivation in Northumberland Park was acknowledged, it was the Broadwater Estate, located further south that came to be prioritized as a focus for regeneration even before the riot that occurred there in in 1985 following the killing of a local black woman, Cynthia Jarret by the police. (Dillon and Fanning, 2011: 42). In the decades that followed the 1985 riot, Broadwater Farm was routinely the central focus of Haringey Council debates about racism and deprivation. In 1993, it received £33 million in urban regeneration funding aimed at retro-fixing many of its design flaws including the notorious ‘walkways in the sky’ linking the tower blocks that were seen to encourage crime (London Councils, 2005). Throughout this period, the Northumberland Park Estate received relatively little attention within debates about Tottenham’s problems. In 2000 Northumberland Park was finally designated as one of Haringey’s priority neighbourhoods for regeneration and got its own dedicated SRB programme. The modest £7million allocation over the 7-year life of the scheme, was used primarily to convert part of a block of council flats into a neighbourhood resource centre (NRC). This was in keeping with New Labour’s Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy of colocating key local authority services, the police and health services. Some residents were appointed to consultative groups which considered measures to address locally identified problems such as crime, rubbish-dumping and antisocial behaviour. CCTV cameras were installed to make the area safer. There was also a focus on improving schools in the area. Yet by the time of the 2011 riots, the NRC had ceased to operate. The consultation groups set up by the Council were shut when funding to run these came to an end. The neighbourhood renewal programme had managed, for a time, to engage with some longstanding residents but never with the most vulnerable people in the area. Many of these were part of a churning temporary population of private sector tenants placed in the borough by other London local authorities (Dillon and Fanning, 2011: 116). It is fair to say that Northumberland Park has been entirely overshadowed by Broadwater Farm since the latter estate was completed in the 1970s. Broadwater Farm was identified as a problem estate from the very beginning of its existence and the focus of ongoing efforts by politicians and policy makers to address deprivation and racism. By comparison, the more deprived Northumberland Park was mostly ignored until, in the aftermath of the 2011 Tottenham Riots, a developer-led gentrification of the estate was proposed as a solution to Tottenham’s problems by the local authority (Haringey Council) and the city (the Mayor of London’s Office). The rediscovery of Northumberland Park The 2011 riots that occurred in Tottenham following the police shooting of Mark Duggan, and subsequently spread to other English urban centres, were used as an opportunity by the local authority, Haringey Council, acting with the support of the Mayor of London, to advance a policy of gentrifying council housing estates in various areas of Tottenham including Northumberland Park. Various reports of inquiries and investigations into the causes of the riots identified issues such as poor relationships between young people and the police, disproportionately high levels of youth unemployment, poor quality public services, lack of community engagement public bodies and poor community leadership as key contributing factors. (RCVP, 2012; TCP, 2012). The most influential report produced in the wake of the riots, It Took Another Riot (GLA, 2012), produced on behalf of the Mayor of London, portrayed Tottenham as a ‘dismal environment’ characterized by poor quality, overcrowded housing and a poorly managed built environment that was badly affected by very high rates of population churn. Tottenham’s residents were presented as passive participants trapped in a vicious cycle of deprivation and degradation where unemployment, addictions low educational attainment, poor health, youth alienation and crime inter-connect in a causal relationship as ‘mutually reinforcing dynamics’ (p. 37). In his history of redevelopment in London Ben Campkin (2013) describes how such stock portrayals of deprivation and decline have long preceded large-scale redevelopment and regeneration: From poverty, slum clearances and pest control in the early twentieth century, to deprivation, mega-event-led development and the washing of contaminated soil in the 2000s, we have seen how the restructuring of London has been consistently legitimized by the need to tackle abject matter and conditions, and dangerous or disorderly manifestations of nature, and thus produce a more orderly and socially equitable city (Campkin, 2013: 165). It Took Another Riot proposed the provision of thousands more units of housing through the ‘extensive renewal’ of housing estates. It proposed an explicit aim of reducing the proportion of social housing within the tenure mix where this was ‘unsuitable for habitation or features layouts that contribute to cultures of poverty and low aspiration’ (p. 7). Existing low densities on Tottenham’s housing estates meant that ‘estate renewal could accommodate higher densities, providing the opportunity for more units, including housing of mixed tenures, as well as new units for existing social tenants’ (GLA, 2012: 15). These recommendations were reflected in the Plan for Tottenham published by Haringey Council in August 2012, just before the first anniversary of the Tottenham riots. The Plan for Tottenham set a target for 2025 to build 10,000 new homes in the area, create 5000 new jobs and to improve transport and leisure facilities. Overall, 2000 of these new homes were to be built in Northumberland Park. It was envisaged that many of these would be sold to private owners in order to create ‘a better balance of housing in the area’ (p. 16). According to the Plan for Tottenham, the goal of ‘establishing Northumberland Park as a desirable place to live’, would be achieved by changing the housing tenure mix in the local area to promote home ownership (p. 16). To a considerable extent, the vision for Northumberland Park turned on potential commercial opportunities linked to the construction of a new stadium by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. This is being built adjacent to the old stadium and some 285 new units of owner–occupier housing together with some retail and office units are being constructed on the footprint of the old stadium. Plans to redevelop the Spurs site had long preceded the 2011 riots and were the subject of protracted discussions from 2001 onwards between the Spurs and Haringey Council regarding the social housing element of the proposed development and the extent of the club’s financial contribution towards local transport and community improvements. In its approach to its stadium development, Spurs were perceived by some to be seeking to hold Haringey Council to ransom by implying that the club was prepared to leave Tottenham if it found planning permission conditions too onerous and of blighting the locality by buying up neighbouring properties and leaving them vacant. Initial designs for a new stadium were completed in 2008 and received planning permission from Haringey Council in 2011. However, the proposed development was then put on hold whilst Spurs and West Ham United submitted competing bids to buy the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Following the success of West Ham’s bid – and following the 2011 riots – a deal to build a new Spurs stadium in Tottenham, at a cost of £430 million, was concluded. As part of the deal Haringey Council released the club from the obligations of an earlier planning permission that would have required the construction of social housing alongside the new stadium. It also reduced an earlier demand for a £16.4 million contribution from Spurs to fund local initiatives to one of just £0.5 million. On top of this, the Mayor of London provided a grant of £41 million to remodel the surrounding area to fit in with the new stadium. A key element of the new plan was the insertion of a boulevard linking the new stadium on Tottenham High Road to a nearby railway station. This would require the demolition of the council-owned Love Lane Estate as well as a number of locally owned shops and business situated opposite the Spurs development on Tottenham High Road. Haringey Council revised its planning and regeneration policies to enable this. A key element of The Plan for Tottenham was the redevelopment of Council-owned land adjoining the stadium on which contained more than 1500 existing homes. The Plan for Tottenham identified this land as an asset to be used to leverage private sector investment to enable the redevelopment of the estate to take place (p. 20). Within the institutional narrative that emerged in the wake of the 2011 riots the high concentration of social housing in Northumberland Park was portrayed as a cause of deprivation and as the problem to be solved. For example, Haringey Council’s Housing Investment and Estate Renewal Strategy (Haringey Council, 2013) claimed that the large concentration of council housing in Tottenham was one of the root causes of the polarizing socioeconomic divide between the deprived localities in east Haringey and the affluent areas in the west. Later reports such as the Tottenham Area Action Plan: Preferred Option Consultation, published in 2015, also blamed poor quality social housing, along with population churn of private sector tenants for compounding the problems of overcrowding and deprivation (Haringey Council, 2015b: 34–35). The action plan proposed to ‘rebalance the high levels of socially rented accommodation in Tottenham’ (ibid). It noted that 60 percent of all social housing in Haringey was located in Tottenham with Northumberland Park alone accounting for 40 percent of all council housing in the borough. The Tottenham Area Action Plan proposed two major housing developments for Northumberland Park, one covering the estate and one focussing on the streets to the north of it. In both cases the stated aim was to ‘improve existing, and create new, residential neighbourhoods through the delivery of a major estate regeneration programme’. Effectively, this meant reducing the percentage of Council housing in the area (Haringey Council, 2015a: p69–p72) and significantly increase the proportion of privately owned and privately rented housing in the area. According to the Tottenham Area Action Plan, a minimum of 25 percent of the homes in the new development would be affordable. Of these however only 40 percent would be socially rented with 60 percent being designated as ‘intermediate housing’ priced at over 80 percent of market value and, therefore, beyond the reach of low income residents. In effect therefore, the area action plan envisaged only 10 percent of the new housing in Northumberland Park being socially rented. These projected figures provide a graphic demonstration of the extent to which the actualization of Haringey Council’s regeneration plans for Northumberland Park will result in a profound socioeconomic and demographic change to the neighbourhood and why they can be seen to fit the description of state-led gentrification. In February 2017, the Council formally established a body – the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) – to work with a private sector developer to redevelop a number of housing estates, including Northumberland Park, and a number of public, commercial and community buildings owned by the local authority. At its meeting in July 2017, the Council cabinet appointed Lendlease, an Australian property developer as preferred partner. At this stage, Lendlease was already a subject of some controversy following its redevelopment of the Heygate Estate in Southwark where it exploited loopholes in planning legislation to limit its provision of socially rented flats to just 74 following the demolition of over 1200 council properties (Ham and High, 2017). Over its planned twenty-year life span the HDV will involve the transfer of a huge tranche of public assets to the private sector including at least seven housing estates, the Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green and public libraries. Selling the gentrification ‘masterplan’ Urban regeneration schemes in the UK tend to be accompanied by efforts to secure the buy-in of local residents through some emphasis on community participation (Jones, 2008; 356). Community consultation exercises can mask institutional efforts to suppress potential opposition to proposed development. The underlying aim is to present a consensus in support of the development being proposed (Lees, 2014: 929). Often this consensus is built by presenting residents with binary choices that exclude other alternative options as Lees (ibid) demonstrates in the case of residents being consulted about the demolition and redevelopment of the Aylesbury Estate is south London during the New Labour era. One of the big selling points of the ‘deal’ on the Aylesbury was that residents would decide their own futures. This is a cruel deception. The tenants were faced with two unsatisfactory choices, if they rejected the regeneration ‘deal’ they would continue to live on an estate that needs upgrading and repair (but would be very unlikely to get it) or if they accepted the deal (which actually they didn’t!) they may have a newly built neighbourhood in which they may not even get a chance to live and even if they did move back their existing community would be broken up and totally changed (Lees, 2014: 929). In the case of Northumberland Park, community participation was promised as an integral aspect of the development process. However, Northumberland Park had a pronounced lack of local social capital and community capacity characterized by little interaction between different ethnic groups, a lack of trust in public services and a weak civic infrastructure with no active community organizations that weren’t supported or sponsored by the local authority. (Dillon, 2009: 189−190). An additional complicating factor was that there was no single community to consult. A significant proportion of Northumberland Park residents were relative newcomers and there was considerable population churn in private rented sector housing in the area. During the period from 2003 to 2010 community participation in regeneration initiatives depended almost entirely on institutional life-support. A group of Northumberland Park residents’ representatives sat on a board which worked with officials to oversee the running of projects. When funding came to an end in 2010 so too did the capacity of local residents to engage with institutional decision-making processes (Dillon and Fanning, 2012: 580). Between July 2014 and 2014, Haringey Council engaged in consultation with Northumberland Park residents about what, in its words, ‘the key principles for change’ in the area should be. This was an extensive exercise incorporating public exhibitions of models and graphics which detailed how the area might be transformed. There was a flurry of door knocking and informal discussions with residents. A ‘stakeholder group’ of local service providers and voluntary organizations – in other words, professionals who worked in the area, was established. At no point was it made clear during consultation efforts aimed at tenants that the development being envisaged would involve their homes being demolished or that some might be decanted from the local area, possibly on a permanent basis. Instead, residents were presented with a range of ‘motherhood and apple pie’ statements and choices that it would very difficult for anybody to have difficulty with and were asked whether they strongly agreed, agreed, were unsure/didn’t know, disagreed or strongly disagreed with these. Examples of such statements included: ‘all homes should have modern kitchens and be designed to current housing standards’, Regeneration should delivery high quality new housing for local people’, all new homes should be well designed’, ‘Northumberland Park should have better open spaces’ and ‘Northumberland Park should be made up of safe and pleasant streets’. Not surprisingly, a large majority of the 162 respondents who filled in questionnaires agreed or strongly agreed with these sentiments. In the absence of local grassroots community activism or of the kind of political localism centred on Broadwater Farm the local authority set up and ran a proxy Northumberland Park Residents Association. Throughout 2015 and 2016, this body was the main vehicle through which the Council engaged with local residents on the proposed regeneration of the area. Little concrete help was offered to deal with the kinds of recurring complaints made by residents about their day to day lives and this was something that amplified their lack of faith in the council and other public services. At public consultation meetings, it sometimes appeared that residents were more animated about problems on the estate – and with the inability (in their view) of the Council to deal with these – than they were about the implications of Haringey’s development proposals. At a meeting held on the 21st November 2016 where the timescale for the proposed development was outlined, a presentation by one of the Council’s community safety team about crime on the estate was met with anger and derision. Residents complained that, for years, they had to endure problems such as prostitution, drug dealing, youth gangs and Spurs fans urinating in their gardens on match days without the Council doing anything about these. Residents were particularly unhappy that the only solution being proposed by the community safety officer was that they report these matters to the police. As one resident stated, We have these problems for years and nothing has been done. My children see drug dealing going on and youths threatening people outside our flat all the time. You can’t expect me to go and report them. They will know it is me and come after new and my family. The police know what is going on. The council know what is going on. If they were serious about sorting this out, they would have done something ages ago. You’re just talking to us now because you need to knock down our flats. Unable to address these substantive concerns Council efforts focused on organizing events such as in July 2016 a community festival with a live band and children’s activities supervised by professional play worker, an event that could not have been run by the residents’ association on its own. The main purpose of the council-run residents’ association was to legitimize the regeneration masterplan. None of the consultation it undertook was designed to challenge any of its main elements. Responses elicited from residents had no discernible impact on key decisions taken about the future of the estate. Conclusion Most empirical research into regeneration schemes that seek to establish mixed communities through gentrification conclude that the lives of poor residents in the localities concerned are not improved in any meaningful way by these developments and are often made worse. The most negative impact identified is the displacement of poorer communities which takes place both as an immediate result of the demolition of existing homes and the longer-term consequence of lower income residents being priced out of gentrified neighbourhoods. (Atkinson, 2004: 25; Lees, 2008: 2457; Marcuse, 1986: 1096; Watt, 2013: 101). Rather than social mixing, the available evidence would seem to indicate that greater sociospatial division is the ultimate outcome of these processes (Davidson and Lees, 2005). Where gentrifiers and working class communities do share the same urban space, it does not appear to lead to the emergence collective identity or bonds of solidarity (Davidson, 2012: 239). Le Gales (2012: 28) describes upper middle class gentrifiers as playing ‘a complex game of proximity and distance in relation to other social groups in order to select, control and choose the dynamics of those interactions’. Even where diversity is embraced as a lifestyle choice by urban middle class settlers who move to poorer neighbourhoods, this does not, it would seem, do much to erode socioeconomic, racial and cultural boundaries (Blokland and van Eijk, 2012; 316). Instead, well-off newcomers tend to come to dominate local democratic participatory structures, to sanitize the neighbourhoods in which they settle in order to protect the capital value of their housing assets, and to remould these localities to fit within their lifestyle aspirations (Bacque and Fijalkow, 2012: 128–131). Seen in these revanchist terms, there is little hope that gentrification might foster social capital or community development within deprived communities in the way envisaged by New Labour urban policy. The form of gentrification proposed for Tottenham seems unlikely to improve community cohesion or empower existing residents and may well, instead, exacerbate divisions and exclusions by injecting new social class polarizations within gentrified areas. Research on gentrification-driven social mixing initiatives in the UK, the USA and Europe finds little or no evidence to support the notion that poor households benefit from living in proximity to richer ones through a ‘neighbourhood effect’. Poorer people tend to do better when they live alongside people with similar means. Significantly richer neighbours tend to make local goods and services less affordable as prices are driven up (Cheshire, 2007, 2012). These findings suggest that gentrification is essentially a process of commodifying urban space that drives up, what Logan and Molotoch (1987: 22−23) term the ‘exchange value’ of poorer neighbourhoods. Thus defined, exchange value is taken to embrace all the property-based financial values derived from a particular locality including property rent, mortgages, purchase expenditure and associated professional fees. The poor neighbourhood is primarily a site of potential value increase and, as such, a tempting target for development. For example, Watt (2013: 102) identifies the ‘rent gap’ caused by relatively low rent council housing sitting on land with potential for capital accumulation as a major incentive for state-led gentrification policies in east London. As a consequence of this dynamic, ‘poor people’s neighbourhoods are more vulnerable to social and physical transformation, both by government bureaucrats and property entrepreneurs’ (Logan and Molotoch, 1987: 112). Furthermore, the presence of poor residents within a site of gentrification is often perceived as problematic because they are seen as damaging to exchange values (ibid). At the beginning of this article, we defined gentrification in terms of settlement within working class neighbourhoods by middle class people and the changes that occurs within these neighbourhoods as a result of the process including the displacement and replacement of existing residents. This is precisely what Haringey Council’s plans for the regeneration of the Northumberland Park will involve. As such, the planned redevelopment fits easily within the typology for state-led gentrification. Northumberland Park residents living in the parts of the estate earmarked for redevelopment, are likely to experience several phases of dislocation. This will manifest itself firstly in the demolition of their homes and their removal to alternative accommodation. While council tenants and leaseholders are ostensibly guaranteed a right of return as development phases are completed, the low proportion of social housing being planned makes clear the council’s expectation that few will chose to exercise this right. Those who do so face the prospect of financial exclusion as the cost of living in a gentrified neighbourhood is pushed up. Rather than being received into a new blended community – when it is they who should be the welcoming party – longstanding residents may well be seen as a potential threat by newcomers, to their property values. The newcomers are also more likely to possess a lot more social capital and ability to engage with the Council and other public services to reshape the character of the area in their image. Despite the lack of an evidence base to support the claim that gentrification-driven social mixing improves the lives of the less-well-off this presumption has come to drive English urban policy in recent years. Property-led regeneration does not address the post-2011 riots diagnosis of the problems facing the people of Tottenham. Rather the policy response has been focused on Tottenham as a place to be fixed. In the absence of urban polices aimed at supporting deprived neighbourhoods it is questionable whether property-led regeneration, on its own will significantly help the people of places like Northumberland Park. State endorsement of property-led regeneration echoes the urban policy approach of the Thatcher administration during the 1980s. However, the current institutional approach plays out in the absence of the kinds of funding for deprived areas, such as the City Challenge programme of that era or New Labour’s subsequent New Deal for Communities. In this context, the only apparently viable option for deprived neighbourhoods is to change their sociodemographic character. To be clear, all these problems are in part legacies of flawed urban policies through which large council housing estates concentrated large numbers of relatively poor people alongside one another. 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For permissions, please email: email@example.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Community Development Journal – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 9, 2018
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