Gentrification in London: Chasing cool

FOR young, upper-middle-class Londoners, the game of the moment is guessing where the cool kids will be going next. Gentrification, which progressed gently through neighbourhoods in Islington and Camden in the decades after the second world war, is now changing the city at terrifying pace. The frontier of where you can buy a cocktail in a jam jar is moving like German tanks through the Ardennes: from Shoreditch to Dalston; Brixton to Peckham; Bethnal Green to Hackney Wick.Now we have some data that shows the trend is not just perception. Neal Hudson, an analyst at Savills, a big estate agency, produced the graph below and the map above, which shows the change in the number of people working in media, culture and sport in each London borough between the two censuses of 2001 and 2011. It works well as a rough proxy for “coolness” – albeit one in which your correspondent presumably counts as cool.And the trend is clear. In Camden, where the cool kids of a decade ago moved, the number of people working in the media has fallen since 2001. So too in Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham: West London redoubts such as Notting Hill are all occupied by bankers now. Instead the 22-year-old journalists, playwrights and artisan bakers are moving eastwards. Tower Hamlets and Hackney are where they are ending up.

The best explanation for this is house prices and rents. …

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