Gentrification in London — Modes of middle-class establishment in a Global City



The last quarter of the twentieth century saw the emergence of gentrification (‘the up scaling of previously working class housing in inner city areas’) in many of the world’s major cities – generally those with a developed services economy. The gentrification of large metropolitan centres has differed quite significantly from that in other cities. This chapter focuses mainly on the gentrification of inner London over the past quarter of a century but draws some contrasts with the emergence of gentrified areas in other major cities elsewhere in the United Kingdom. It is argued that London’s gentrification, and its distinctiveness, is largely driven by its cosmopolitanism as a global centre for services, culture and knowledge. As such, it acts as a kind of benchmark by which emerging middle-class neighbourhoods elsewhere in the UK compare themselves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amin, A (2000): The Economic Base of Contemporary Cities. In Bridge G./Watson S (eds.): A Companion to the City. Oxford: Blackwell. S. 115–129Google Scholar
  2. Ball, S., Bowe, R. et al. (1995): Circuits of schooling a sociological exploration of parental choice of school in social class contexts. In: Sociological Review. Vol. 43 S. 52–78.Google Scholar
  3. Ball, S./Vincent, C. (1998): ‘I heard it on the grapevine’: ‘hot’ knowledge and school choice. In: British Journal of Sociology of Education. Vol. 19 S. 377–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ball, S. J. (2002): Class Strategies and the Education Market: The Middle Classes and Social Advantage. London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  5. Blokland, T./Savage, M. (2001): Network, Class and Space. In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Vol. 25 (2) S. 221–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bondi, Liz (2001): Gender, Place and Culture: paradoxical spaces? In: Pamela Moss (ed.): Feminist Geography in Practice. Oxford: Blackwell. S. 80–86.Google Scholar
  7. Bondi, L. (1999): Gender, class and gentrification: enriching the debate. In: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Vol. 17 S. 261–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bondi L./Christie, H./Munro, M./Smith, S. (2001): The anatomy of a housing boom. ESRC final report number R000222902 (available at
  9. Breughel, I. (1996): Gendering the polarisation debate: a comment on Hamnett’s ‘social polarisation economic restructuring and welfare state regimes’. In: Urban Studies. Vol. 33 S. 1431–1439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brint, S. (1984): ‘New Class’ and cumulative trend explanations of the liberal political attitudes of professionals. In: American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 90 S. 30–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Buck, N./Gordon, I./Young, K. (1986): The London Employment Problem. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Buck, N./Gordon, I. (2000) Turbulence and Sedimentation in the Labor Markets of Late Twentieth Century Metropoles. In: Bridge, G./Watson. S (eds.): Companion to the City. Oxford: Blackwell. S. 181–191.Google Scholar
  13. Butler, T. (1997). Gentrification and the Middle Classes. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  14. Butler, T. (2003): Living in the Bubble: Gentrification and its ‘Others’ in North London. In: Urban Studies 40. S. 2469–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Butler, T. (2007): Re-Urbanizing London Docklands: Gentrification, Suburbanization or New Urbanisms? In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Vol. 31 (4), S. 759–781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Butler, T./Robson, G. (2001): Social Capital, Gentrification and Neighbourhood Change in London: a comparison of three South London neighbourhoods. In: Urban Studies. Vol. 38 S. 2145–2162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Butler, T./Robson, G. (2003a): Negotiating their way in: the middle classes, gentrification and their deployment of capital in a globalizing metropolis. In: Urban Studies. Vol. 40. S. 1791–1809.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Butler, T./Robson, G. (2003b): Plotting the middle classes: gentrification and circuits of education. In: Housing Studies. Vol. 18. S. 5–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Butler, T./Robson, G. (2003): London Calling: the middle classes and the making of inner London. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  20. Butler, T./Lees, L (2006): Super-gentrification in Barnsbury, London: globalization and gentrifying global elites at the neighbourhood level. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. NS 31. S. 467–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Carpenter, J./Lees, L. (1995): Gentrification in New York, London and Paris: an international comparison. In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Vol. 19 S. 286–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Champion, A./Ford, T. (1998): The social selectivity of migration flows affecting Britain’s larger conurbations: an analysis of the regional migration tables of the 1981 and 1991 Censuses. Working Paper 1, Department of Geography, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.Google Scholar
  23. Cheshire P. (1995): A New Phase of Urban Development in Western Europe? The Evidence from the 1980s. Urban Studies. Vol. 32 S. 1045–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ehrenreich, B. (1989): Fear of Falling: the Inner Life of the Middle Class. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  25. Gewirtz, S., S. J. Ball, et al. (1995): Markets Choice and Equity in Education. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Glass, R. (1964): London: aspects of change. Centre for Urban Studies. London., MacGibbon & Kee. Report no. 3.Google Scholar
  27. Gouldner, A. (1979): The Future of Intellectuals and the Rise of the New Class: A Frame of Reference, Theses, Conjectures, Argumentation and an Historical Perspective. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  28. Hamnett, C. (1994a): Social Polarisation in Global Cities: Theory and Evidence. In: Urban Studies. Vol. 31 S. 401–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hamnett, C. (1994b): Socio-Economic Change in London: Professionalisation Not Polarisation. In: Built Environment. Vol. 20 S. 192–203.Google Scholar
  30. Hamnett, C. (2003): Gentrification and the Middle-class Remaking of Inner London, 1961–2001. In: Urban Studies 40. S. 2401–2426Hamnett, C. (1999): Winners and Losers: home ownership in modern Britain. London: UCL PressGoogle Scholar
  31. Hamnett, C. and P. Williams (1980): Social change in London: a study of gentrification. In: Urban Affairs Quarterly. Vol. 15. S. 469–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hamnett, C./Randolph, W. (1988) Labour and Housing Market Changes in London: A Longitudinal Analysis. In: Urban Studies 25, S. 380–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jager, M. (1986): Class definition and the aesthetics of gentrification: Victoriana in Melbourne. In: Smith, N./P. Williams (eds.): Gentrification of the City. London: Allen and Unwin. S. 78–91Google Scholar
  34. Lees, L. (1994): Gentrification in London and New York: an Atlantic gap? In: Housing Studies. Vol. 9. S. 199–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lees, L. (2000): A Reappraisal of Gentrification: Towards a ‘Geography of Gentrification’. Progress in Human Geography. Vol. 24. S. 389–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lees, L. (2003): Super-gentrification: the case of Brooklyn Heights, New York City. In: Urban Studies. Vol. 40. S. 2487–2509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Reay, D./Ball, S. (1998): ‘Making their minds up’ family dynamics of school choice. In: British Educational Research Journal. Vol. 24. (4) S. 431–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Robson, G./Butler, T. (2001): Coming to terms with London: middle-class communities in a global city. In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Vol. 25 (1) S. 70–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Savage, M./Warde, A. (1993): Urban Sociology, Capitalism and Modernity. Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  40. Savage, M., G. Bagnall, et al. (2001): Ordinary, ambivalent and defensive: class identities in the northwest of England. In: Sociology. Vol. 35. (4) S. 875–892.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Savage, Mike; Bagnall, Gaynor; Longhurst, Brian (2005): Globalisation and Belonging. London: SageGoogle Scholar
  42. Slater, T. (2006): The eviction of critical perspectives from gentrification research. In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 30(4). S.737–757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Slater, T. (2008): ‘A literal necessity to be replaced’: a rejoinder to the gentrification debate. In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Vol. 32. (1) S.212–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smith, N. (1979): Towards a theory of gentrification: a back to the city movement by capital, not people. In: Journal of the American Planning Association. Vol. 45. S. 538–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smith, N. (1996): The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Urban Studies (2003): Special number on gentrification. Vol. 40 (12)Google Scholar
  47. Warde, A. (1991): Gentrification as Consumption: Issues of Class and Gender. In: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Vol. 6. S. 75–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Watt, P. (2008): The only class in town? Gentrification and the middle-class colonization of the city and the urban imagination. In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Vol. 32. (1) S. 206–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Wynne, D. (1998): Leisure, Lifestyle and the New Middle Class, A Case Study. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2011

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations