A. Boroughs should:
- Identify Strategic Areas for Regeneration (see figure 2.19) in Local Plans based on a thorough understanding of the demographics of communities and their needs
- Seek to identify Local Areas for Regeneration taking into account local circumstances.
B. Development Plans, Opportunity Area Planning Frameworks and development proposals should contribute to regeneration by tackling spatial inequalities and the environmental, economic and social barriers that affect the lives of people in the area, especially in Strategic and Local Areas for Regeneration.
‘Spatial inequalities’, the latest euphemism in the lexicon of social cleansing, and the key term in Policy SD10: Strategic and local regeneration of the Draft New London Plan, is an interesting one. It maps the cause of economic inequality – i.e. capitalism – onto an area with the potential for ‘value uplift’ – i.e. gentrification. Crime, drug-abuse, anti-social behaviour, broken families, teenage pregnancies, and all the other blights with which middle-class ideology fills the phantasmagorical space of working class existence, has been identified as endemic – not to poverty, which would imply a criticism of capitalism, but to working-class ghettos.
The ‘ghetto’, of course, was originally a neighbourhood of sixteenth-century Venice where Jews where isolated and contained; and there’s an instructive comparison to be made to the late nineteenth-century notion of ‘Lebensraum’(living space), which argued that the German nation needed – and had a right to – the lands to the east in order to expand. In the 1930s this was used by the Nazis to justify their deportation of mostly working-class Jews and Slavic peoples from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Czechoslovakia and other nations to the East (i.e. into camps) and the repossession of their lands and homes.
In a similar application of geo-political land grabbing and social cleansing, the London Plan is arguing that the way to eradicate ‘spatial inequality’ from Inner London is to deport the poor from their ghettos and resettle them, once again, to the East – which in our case also includes the North – then subject their homes and the land they are built on to ‘regeneration’ (i.e. demolition and redevelopment as high-value property). In this reconceptualisation of urban space, it is the location that constitutes what is referred to as the ‘poverty trap’, not the economic relations of capitalism or the welfare policies of the state.
Of course, we’re not carting the poor off in cattle trucks and placing them in concentration camps – not yet; we’re merely forcibly evicting them from their homes and communities in London and relocating them in temporary accommodation in Margate, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. But the principal of identifying the poor geographically as a ‘problem’ and providing a ‘solution’ that forcibly relocates them is the same. And just as it was in Berlin in 1933, in London in 2019 ‘the poor’ is also a racial categorisation, disproportionately including, as it does, not just London’s longstanding black and Asian population but the more recent influx of migrants from Eastern European and the Middle East.
In the imagination of the middle classes, which struggles to distinguish between politics and aesthetics, the city must repeatedly be cleansed of alien bodies: the poor, the black, the brown, the foreign, the ugly, the unhealthy, the disabled. Think of all those Nazi propaganda films in which ‘the Jew’ is identified with inner-city poverty, rats and disease, as a blight or stain on the rural, clean, productive Aryan body. Or, more contemporaneously, think of the eviction and deportation of what both Israeli and Western propaganda depicts as the lazy, backward, ‘Eastern’, criminal, terrorist Palestinians and Bedouin from their demolished villages in the Naqab and the West Bank.
The dark-red areas on the Policy SD10 map identifying ares of London to be ‘regenerated’ of ‘spacial inequality’ are the equivalent of that stain, something to be socially cleansed from the city, a foreign infestation to be eradicated, a disease in the body politic that needs to be cured, a problem in need of a (final) solution. As such, the strategies of regeneration in the Draft New London Plan are a continuation of the disastrous housing policies published by the London Mayor, which we have commented on before. This article is ASH’s response to the ideological justification for this New London Plan, which is a geo-political blueprint for the social and racial cleansing of London.
Architects for Social Housing