heygate estate

We are pleased to announce that our next session, ‘Council Housing Estates, Regeneration and State-Led Gentrification in London’, will be hosted by Dr. Paul Watt, Lecturer in Urban Studies in the Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies, at Birkbeck. The session takes place on Thursday 20th May at King’s College London, in the Virginia Woolf Building (22 Kingsway WC2B 6NR), in room 6.32.

As usual, the session is open to all, and will run from 6-8pm, with complimentary drinks and nibbles.

Full information, and suggested reading, are as follows:


Council Housing Estates, Regeneration and State-Led Gentrification in London

This paper sets out an analytical framework for understanding how state-led gentrification has occurred in London with reference to council housing estates and urban regeneration policies. It argues that council housing played a key role as a ‘buffer’ against gentrification in London from the 1960s to 1980s, with certain inner London councils such as Camden and Islington, using the municipalisation of private housing as a deliberate policy strategy to counter gentrification. However since the 1980s, this buffer role has been diminished under various phases of neoliberalism. Firstly by the 1980 Right-to-Buy policy, but more recently by regeneration policies, notably stock transfers to ‘not-for-profit’ housing association, plus the direct sale of estates (or estate land) to the private sector. The latter has increasingly involved the demolition of council estates and the displacement of their former residents. The paper develops the notion of a ‘state-induced rent gap’, arising from the manner in which council housing has been disinvested in and subsequently inadequately maintained while land values have risen. Finally, the paper examines how the diminution of public housing is negatively impacting on London’s low-income population and is exacerbating social and spatial inequalities. The paper draws upon a range of data sources, including fieldwork and interviews undertaken at several estates undergoing regeneration.



For those intending the attend the session, it would be beneficial to read Paul Watt’s ‘It’s not for us’, in City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 17:1, 99-118, DOI: 10.1080/13604813.2012.754190

The article can be downloaded via the following link:

Paul Watt – analysis of urban trends

We hope to see you there!




      1. Dear Andy/all,


        Unfortunately we are going to have to cancel this session, as all spaces at King’s VWB and Strand Campus, including the Library, are currently inaccessible. We are so sorry about this, however, the fire services cannot be sure that the road will be open by this evening due to structural damage. We will be rearranging with Paul, and will let you know when we have another date. Best, Penny

  1. Will there be a rearrangement for a later date? It’s a shame there was a fire I was really looking forward to this event and I am sure many others feel the same.

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