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The Holding Option: Artists in East London 1968–2020

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This paper examines the parallel histories of how artists took over old industrial spaces and short-life housing in east London, and gentrification and the rise of the twenty-first century phenomenon of the 'urban hipster'. The paper argues that it was only towards the end of the 1990s that the 'artists' east London' and the 'gentrifiers' east London' began to coalesce geographically. While in the final third of the twentieth century, east London as a creative quarter was focused on production, in the twenty-first century, the idea of creative quarters has been more to do with consumption, with the consequence that the producers, artists, were being priced out. The paper concludes that recent initiatives such as London's 2019 Cultural Infrastructure Strategy suggest that both production and consumption are now being recognized as equally important.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2020

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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