Syndicate - a Brixton based collective - worked on the issue of gentrification of their local area. A difficult subject with many contradictions and opposing views, winners and losers, mixed up in a continuing changing city like London.
Here are some photos of the area in South London - before, during and after gentrification, taken in early 1999, so you can assume the area has continued to change drastically. Over a few months the group set out to listen to local views on the subject and present them back to the community for a public debate.

Brixton's Exclusive Exclusion
The 'regeneration' of Brixton channeled through 'Brixton Challenge' a project funded by the government and EU, arose from the riots of the early 80's and 90's. Lambeth council by trusting commerce and buisness to be the agents of change have failed the community by allowing capital to dictate the reshaping of Brixton.

With council property and public spaces now being transformed in to expensive apartments, developers have set in motion spiraling house prices. In turn creating a housing crisis that resonates in both private and public sectors, moving the cost of living beyond that of the local people.

The transformation of Brixton into a chic inner-city area where the so called 'night time economy' is nothing but a 'theme-parkisation' of urban space for a privileged social group at the expense of the poorer and marginal inhabitants This is multiculturalism without real content, is a cosmopolitanism that suits the establishment, a postcard-style 'Benetton' society in which citizen participation is nothing more than mere fiction sold under the slogan 'the united colours of Brixton'.

Lambeth are contemptuous for any truly participatory citizenship, their rhetoric of multiculturalism is a mere image, empty of content, and the international portrayal of 'Cool Brixton' hides a process that alienates the locals and their very real social needs. This process will be ongoing unless we intervene and change it.

Syndicate is convinced of the importance of opening channels for diologue, to create ongoing spaces for disussion, critisim and debate, and to revitalise direct action and political dissent. We are looking to contact other groups and individuals who are working on alternatives to the gentrification of Brixton. We must open up communication that will enable us to spread counter hegemonic ideas based on local experience. The need for a non-comercial meeting space is perhaps one of the most urgent challenges for the community if critical voices are to be heard.

Community school on Ferndale road, closed through cuts...

...sold off and redeveloped as Luxury flats

"The Art of Living" schools to flats.

121 Railton Road, 12 years as a community space / advice centre... ...evicted and sold off to developers, split into 3 flats + billboard adverts!

Howes, local shop - closed down due to increased rents...

...and sold as Luxury apartments.

Three phases of the 're-development' of Brixton tube area, another supermarket is built in an area where four already exist alongside one of London's biggest open air food markets. Robils the shop that was forced to close sits above the arcade of shops also forced out by London transport - a major land owner in the centre of Brixton.

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Brixton / pop / listening / debate