I went to a screening last night as part of the Reveal Kings Cross festival. Programmed and presented in collaboration with Birkbeck Film Society, the Building Cultures Film screening and discussion reflect and question the relationship between art, activism, urban regeneration and gentrification.
The highlight of the screening was the Battle for Broadway Market, a film produced and directed by Emily James. The film recounts events that took place between November 2005 and February 2006 on Broadway Market in Hackney. Broadway Market is a street lined with shops, cafés, pubs, and flats above the shops. Many of these buildings used to be owned by Hackney Council and were let to local residents and shop owners. The market street was suffering from decline in the 1990s, but in 2004, volunteers from the Broadway Market Traders’ and Residents’ Association revived the Saturday market. The street started to show signs of gentrification and attracted property developers. Many of the council-owned properties were sold to developers rather than to the business owners that had invested significant amounts of time, energy, and spirit into providing goods and services to the local community. The Battle for Broadway Market details the ousting of one such business owner, Tony Platia and the Francesca’s Café at 34 Broadway Market.
Hackney Gets Ripped Off Again, last updated July 2005, by Arthur Shuter
The Re-Occupation on Mute, 5 January 2006
Paul Kingsnorth, for the Ecologist, March 2006
The Eelzine, Issue 3
East London Local: Tony’s Juice Stall, 10 July 2009
Unfortunately the protest website http://34broadwaymarket.omweb.org/ is no longer operating.
Please share your stories about gentrification in your neighbourhood. I’d like to hear about the successes and learn from the mistakes. I have some ideas about how to prevent or reverse this trend. What are your suggestions?