Pushed to the Margins: A quantitative analysis of gentrification in London in the 2010s

What you need to know:

  • Gentrification was a notable phenomenon in London in the 2010s and had a significant impact on the displacement of working-class and Black and ethnic minority residents in the capital.
  • The boroughs which gentrified most across London between 2010 and 2016 were Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Newham. The boroughs which gentrified least were Havering, Bexley and Bromley, all in descending order.
  • Neighbourhoods located within 'Opportunity Areas' were significantly more likely to gentrify and had higher rates of displacement.

This report from the Runnymede Trust and CLASS (Centre for Labour and Social Studies) funded by Trust for London interrogates the dynamics of race and class in London through the lens of gentrification. 

Using a completely novel methodology, the report maps the process of gentrification as it occurred throughout London's boroughs from 2010 to 2016. Comprising measurements of population churn, demographic changes related to race and ethnicity, house prices and indices of deprivation, a comprehensive 'gentrification index' has been developed to portray the pervasive nature of the phenomenon in the past decade.

Key findings

Gentrification was a notable phenomenon in London in the 2010s and had a significant impact on the displacement of working-class and Black and ethnic minority (BME) residents in the capital. The boroughs which gentrified most across London between 2010 and 2016 were Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Newham and the boroughs which gentrified least were Havering, Bexley and Bromley, all in descending order.

The three case study boroughs selected for the quantitative analysis (Southwark, Waltham Forest and Brent) demonstrate varied patterns of gentrification.

Southwark gentrified most of the three case study boroughs and severely gentrified in the London Bridge-West Bermondsey area, the Southwark- Borough area, Elephant and Castle, Camberwell, East Dulwich, Peckham Rye and Queens Road Peckham, and pockets of Bermondsey, Old Kent Road and Rotherhithe. Gentrification was widespread throughout the borough except in areas with exceptionally high or low levels of deprivation.

Waltham Forest gentrified the second most of the three case study boroughs and severely gentrified in Walthamstow Central, Walthamstow Village, areas surrounding Lloyd Park and the William Morris Gallery, Blackhorse Road, Lea Bridge, an area near the Wanstead Flats, and clusters of areas near Leyton, Leyton High Road and Leytonstone stations. Gentrification was concentrated in the southern half of the borough, corresponding to the districts of Walthamstow and Leyton.

Brent gentrified the least of the three case study boroughs and severely gentrified in Kilburn, Willesden Green, Harlesden, Park Royal and Wembley Park. Gentrification was clustered in the south-eastern quadrant of the borough, as well as in swathes of Wembley.

Neighbourhoods located within ‘Opportunity Areas’ were significantly more likely to gentrify and had higher rates of displacement (as measured using the proxy indicator of population churn) in Southwark, Waltham Forest and Brent between 2010 and 2016.

Southwark principally represents estate-demolition gentrification and transit-induced gentrification. Waltham Forest principally represents spillover gentrification and transit-induced gentrification. Brent principally represents spillover gentrification and new- build gentrification.

Key recommendations

The report makes five policy recommendations which would better protect communities as regeneration occurs:

  1. Introduce rent controls into the private sector.
  2. Ensure that all developments within Opportunity Areas (OAs) deliver at least 50 per cent social housing.
  3. Build more social housing units and expand community-land trusts.
  4. Secure a ‘right to return’ for all residents living in estates undergoing regeneration schemes.
  5. Establish a Social Impact Assessment in Development and Strategic Plans.