Anti-displacement conference

Some rough notes from conference 19 January. My 10-minute talk is here. edwards for js kings 20130119 First contributions captured only in tweets – which I have pasted together and slightly edited.

Starting Anti-displacement conference organised by JustSpace, King’s College London and the London Tenants Federation. Loretta Lees, Richard Lee on political need for research and data. Need to form stronger movement linking universities, activists. Mara from Southwark Notes (SNAG) at Elephant & Castle. An aim of Antidisplacement is to produce a handbook for activists fighting gentrification.

LL says origins of UK policy was WJWilson in US, calling for dilution of poor communities, getting middle class back to inner cities. Blair’s SEU mimiced this with Richard Rogers and the Urban task Force download. Evidence on the outcomes in UK is poor. US experience clear: no benefits for poor of enforced mix of rich. Displacement, homelessness. Aylesbury estate speaker up first. Testimonies about displacement. #Carpenters opens with video, powerful, 40-yr residents speak against displacement “The Council ran this estate down, we didn’t”. Sir Robin Wales deeply evasive. Jo and Janice from CARP, reluctant activists. CARP holding 3 tenure groups together against council’s divide and rule. Contradictions in UCL pos’n between “senior management” and the rest of the university community. Heygate: Rastko on Southwark decision. Only 45 of 1200 hh formerly there have been able to return. Need help @ CPO inquiry 5 Feb. #Heygate LendLease project (now approved by Southwark) now has NO guarantee of any genuinely affordable housing % ratcheted down through crisis.

Pepys Estate: Queen visited and said “what a pity you can’t sell the view” Well now they are. Community Forum did secure and spend £2m from SRB but we ended up just doing Council’s job for it. Now 13 local market housing Schemes have permission for gentrif.

Workshop on managing community assets. Stockwell Park Estate in Brixton speaker, Built 1974 replacing private rachman-type overcrowded flats used to rehouse people mainly Caribbean made homeless by a fire. TA formed on very traditional trade-union format which was very alienating for black residents… Long story of massive efforts to love misbehaving young people to death… Took 20 years to come together as a community… Insisted on becoming a community trust, not a sell-out to a national HA. But now our people being moved out to Kent and dispersed. No democracy any more. More and more leaseholders. We turned the estate into a gold mine which others are now exploiting. Became a TMO in 1994, against wishes of unions which sabotaged the heatng. Ran it for 12 years. No committee meetings. Community Centre very busy. Everyone came. Crime rate fell. Big annual parties. Had Estate Action money and made the flats gorgeous.

She worked as a member of the HCA for many years and was shocked by the stereotyping. We are being stuffed like turkeys for Christmas. If you have an asset, stick with it. Need to have educated and uneducated people, both, on your boards and committees. Need people who can questio and many younger people don’t have that ability in our experience.

“Right to bid” does not give much rights. First step is that the building has to be listed by LA as being of community value.

Discussion on whether to try and organise across class mix on estate or focus on building working class… Pepys Estate PCF had SRB money which they really controlled, employed a lot of people and did a lot. Now down to 4 people but need to own some assets and have real control. Always loads of ideas about what could and should be done.

Huge problem of getting enough money and expertise to fight planning battles more effectively. Just think what we could do with the millions which go to firms contracting in the Work Programme

Speaker refers to Anne Power and a group of LSE students who did a study on Heygate showing that refurb more financially as well as socially viable.

Defence through ownership of community centres, pubs, gardens etc very important and potentially a strong strategy.At least we have the right to declare and itemise the things we value.

Now we have a talk by skype from Greg Rosenberg at U Madison Wisconsin on CLT in USA. Refers to John Emmeus Davis, prime expert on US CLT. Separation of land ownership and buildings. CLT retains ownership of land, then everything depends on lease which sets formula on division of selling price etc… It’s a formula for permanent affordability.Normally managed by 1:1:1 of residents:locals:experts.
Mainly for wonership but also some renting. Book by Davies is CLT Reader £8 on Kindle. rigins in civil rights, 1969 etc, agric, forestry, with New Communities Inc. Focus then switched in 70s t urban, poor. Now over 200 in USA. need for permanent affordability becoming critcal and govt began to support; credit for them also growing. Crisis after 2006 led shift towards more renting. 2010 CLTs had 1/8 the proportion of foreclosures compared with market as a whole. They also do agric and commercial buildings.

A t of community organising goes on in CLTs, also community-based planning of locality.
Lincoln Inst, City-CLT partnership. Depends on retaining initial subsisy within the scheme.

How to get the land? Churches!? Public-owned land should be sold at value for the public as a whole. Chobham manor at Olympic Park: (Rosenberg seems to be claiming he suggested it) LLDC promised…and Boris… “Affordable” started 50, then 35% than 25% now?? Must hold them to account.

Chris Brown @chrisigloo – how would you do it at Carpenters? LLDC NOT involving community from the outset at all; they want to maintain control. CLT would have to hand over that power from the outset – in design etc etc.

Graham (Lambeth) from LTF and Pat Turnbull on tenants’ definitions etc. We still think we have a key role in London despite the attempts to abolish us. Labour govt defn of Sustainability came from businessman Sir John Egan. WE made our own definition and tried to get it in LP 207 but that was fruitless. Boris then started talking on “Lifetime neighbourhoods” and we pushed our version, including social and community infrastructure needs and some of our work is now included in the London Plan 2011. These are only small wins but it shows it is worth engaging.
On demolition: few councils produce good independent evaluations of refurb against demolition. Some academic analysis and evidence would be very useful.

Now in a workshop on local economy. Mix of some people interested in LTS, currencies, local alts; others concerned about loss of land from productive use and jobs…. Peter North from Liverpool uni geog leading, Myfanwy taking notes. He is counterposing the stanadrd ‘global city’ version of London with an Abercrombieish version of a city of villages. Ref also to Gibson-Graham… Michael Ball good on the nature of work, jobs, multiple jobs (he busks as well as running WCDG).

The organisers are going to pull all this together and put it on the web, then as a book – for which Celine Kuklowski will be editor. Watch this space.

Author: Editors


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