Institutions 09-03-2017

Gentrification threatens London’s artistic scene

Whilst the biggest names in the London art scene revel in their success at auctions, and the most prestigious are perpetually expanding to new and bigger spaces, emerging artists still struggle to establish themselves.

Across the pond, the rising gentrification triggered by the opening galleries in some of the least favorable neighbors of Los Angeles cannot be ignored by the local population, in London, the risings costs of living could drive thousands of artists away. According to a report published by the London Assembly’s Regeneration Committee, up to 3.500 artists could be leaving their working spaces in the UK capital by 2019.

London, which welcomes 857 galleries and 215 museums, tackles the problem head-on, and this new report invites the city to do more in terms of defending art and culture in the capital. One in six Londoners currently works in the creative sector, and Hackney Wick hosts the largest number of artists studios in Europe, but things might soon be changing.


“Culture has the power to regenerate places, but due to rising land values, running costs and reduced public funding, cultural venues and communities are increasingly threatened,” said Assembly Member Navin Shah, Chair of the Regeneration Committee.


But the report cautions that current live-work schemes are “ineffective”, as examples in Hackney offered a formula for developers to build space billed as live-work, but which were occupied “more often than not as pure residential”.

The report, titled “Creative tensions: Optimising the benefits of culture through regeneration”, was written to influence the so-called London Plan, an overall strategic plan for the city of London, setting out an integrated economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of the city over the next 20–25 years.

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