Brexit and the City: Exodus from London?

Brexit is expected to effect many industries in the UK and the finance is on the top of the list. There are various assumptions, predictions and possibilities discussed since the Brexit vote.

Reuters has recently published an analysis on the change in the city related to finance sector in London.

Will Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in 2019 damage one of its most successful industries? Some politicians and economists predict London will lose its pre-eminence as a financial centre after Brexit, although supporters of leaving the EU say Britain will benefit over the long term by being able to set its own rules. Reuters assesses the fortunes of the City through a series of indicators that suggest signs of a slowdown, but no transformative decline. (Reuters)

One of the most important indicator is the jobs in this sector in London. Although it is too early to conclude a complete exit from London. The numbers show a tendency of dropping creation of new financial jobs.

The recruiter found 51,922 new financial services jobs were created in the first seven months of this year, a 10 percent drop compared with the same period last year. This was the lowest number of jobs available since 2012. (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Reuters)

The analysis also shows a decrease in transportation.

The number of people using the underground rail network at Bank and Monument stations in the heart of the City is on course for its first fall since the final year of the global financial crisis, according to Transport for London data. In Canary Wharf — a once defunct docklands now transformed into another hub of global finance in east London — the number of people using the station continues to rise but the pace has slowed.

London City Airport, favoured by executives for flights to European cities and beyond, had a slight increase in passengers in the first six months of this year with recent figures in decline.(Reuters)

(Image Credit: Reuters)

The analysis shows that it is early to conclude a total financexit from London. However, there are strong signs of its decline in near future. All these perhaps up to the results of the Brexit negotiations undertaken currently and their results will determine the finance industry’s condition and its effects on the city itself.

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Visualisation of Airbnb Through the Years

Kor Dwarshuis visualised Airbnb boom in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and New York since the foundation of Airbnb to 2017.

The maps show the striking increase in the numbers as well as the distribution and clustering of the Airbnb flats in these cities.

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The maps also pose a question of the commodification of the couch as well as the scale of the unregulated holiday lets in these major cities.

It is also quite fun to explore 🙂 Click here to see more.

Another Embodiment of Housing Crisis: Co-living Spaces

Helen Lock wrote for CityMetric on recent trend of co-living and its discontents.

Co-living buildings provide small apartments or rooms as well as communal spaces such as a library, restaurant, or co-working space. Freelancers or entrepreneurs can get work done, then sign off and mingle with people doing the same thing in the evening.

But my knowledge of housing is what I’ve learnt from my own expensive, mould-laden, experiences of renting, and I was initially quite taken with the idea. I am, after all, a target demographic for the model: freelance, young, jaded by private renting and unlikely to ever own my home.

Instead of worrying about those concerns, I could embrace being, “mobile” and “experience-led” along with lots of other people in the same situation that is, if I were to put all my trust in the developers I’ve spoken to. “People don’t care about ownership, nowadays,” I’ve been told several times by people, who, by nature of their very profession, own a lot of property. (CityMetric)

The article points out important issues regarding this trens such as its connections with precarious work and housing problems young, urban, professionals are facing.

While there are some positives in the model, such as the social aspect, it’s hard to shake the feeling that these options represent a sticking plaster fix to two converging problems: precarious work and not enough decent, spacious, affordable places to live.

Co-living spaces also benefit, in my opinion, from the current trend of seeing anything associated with words like “start-up” and “tech” as inherently exciting and good – and therefore not requiring much scrutiny. Housing experts say that  building standards in such spaces are often lower than normal. (CityMetric)

It shows a different version of commodification of urban space by packaging various everyday experiences in these establishments as well as providing very limited living spaces with higher costs.

The article provides some insights about these issues, see the article for details here.

 

Urban Europe

Urban Europe, a comparative report on cities in Europe, was recently published. According to CityLab the summary of the report is

If you want to live in a European city where residents think affordable housing is easy to come by, avoid London and head for Ljubljana. That’s one of the possible conclusions to draw from a massive new report on European cities published by the E.U. (CityLab)

Although the report is not just about the housing issues, CityLab analysis has a point: “According to Eurostat’s 2015 Urban Europe report [PDF], published this week, most European big city residents feel that decent housing they can afford is increasingly hard to come by.”

Have a look at the spike below:

 

Of course, it shows the change in the cost of living in London!

Click here for checking the report.

Documentary: Paris MegaCities ShortDocs Citizen Film Festival

Short Documentaries filmed by Citizens to Show Existing Solutions and Inspire New Initiatives?

Megacities of the world present lots of opportunities, but are also full of challenges.

So we need your help to bring to light, through the lense of your documentary, local inspiring solutions that have been implemented by a person or a community, near your home that have met those challenges head on. Through your story you could potentially change the lives of a friend, a neighbor, a family in another Megacity.

Your short documentary will change the world. (megacities-shortdocs.org)

The World’s Climate in 2100 – An Interactive Map

To illustrate just how hot cities’ future could be and the choices they face, Climate Central created the interactive above in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization. It shows how the average summer high in the future in each of these cities compares to other cities of today. In some cases, the shift puts them in a completely new temperature zone. (climatecentral.org)

The new interactive map illustrates the temperatures cities can expect in 2100 if the world fails to reduce carbon emissions. The graphic also includes temperature changes if “moderate emissions cuts” are enacted. (planetizen)

Click here for the interactive map, search your city and more.

 

 

How Utopia Became a Real Estate Leaflet ?

As Edward Said (1994, p. 6) once said, “none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography”, including financial capital. Said (1994, p. 6) continues, this struggle “is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings”. Discursive formation of real-estate futures has long been part of this struggle. From London to Istanbul, various everyday life images and spatial representations are replicated in promotional materials of real-estate projects such as in advertisements, catalogues and billboards. These all together form a discourse of the ideal everyday life that people dream of. This paper focuses on the case of branded housing projects which are developed as a version of housing enclaves in Istanbul following the deepening of neoliberal urbanisation in Turkey. It discusses the role of the representations and images in the project catalogues and advertisements in imagining of future everyday life from a Lefebvrian-Gramscian perspective. The paper presents a comprehensive critical discourse analysis and challenges the idealisation (and normalisation) of everyday life practices offered in these hyper-controlled, under surveillance and commodified urban spaces. It concludes that the struggle of hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourse over everyday life is a key for reclaiming utopia, therefore, future imaginings.

The talk was given in scope of the Planetary Futures Conference: Imagining the Future – Financial Capitalism and the Social Imagination @ Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL, London, 11 July 2017

For the programme of the conference and the abstracts click here.

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Image Credit: Robert Almonte

Doing Architectural Research Socio-political Perspectives on Theories, Methodologies and Praxis

Since the 1970s, cities have become core areas for neoliberal restructuring strategies, policies and processes (Peck et al., 2009). Brenner et al. (2010) stress that different neoliberalization practices share the ambition “to intensify commodification in all realms of social life” (Aalbers 2013, 1054). In addition, prominent critical scholars including Lefebvre, Harvey and Castells agree upon the fact that “capitalist cities are not only arenas in which commodification occurs; they are themselves intensively commodified” (Brenner et al., 2009, 178).

The talk methodologically asked the question:

How can we investigate this multi-layered phenomenon which includes dynamics of production and commodification of space as well as everyday life ?

The talk was given in scope of The Centre for Urban Conflicts Research Workshop exploring and questioning what constitutes architectural research, specifically research from socio-political perspectives.