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Are we losing our sense of community in London?

Are we losing our sense of community in London?

London, a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to live in such a developed, powerful, ever-changing city, but still be so connected to our home cultures, with almost every cuisine and place of worship on our doorstep- allowing people to never truly lose their heritage.

In The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, our home, I believe that part of our sense of community is based around the rich, diverse attractions- varying from the Saatchi Gallery, the Chelsea Flower Show and The Royal Court Theatre, to smaller, local attractions, like the Abingdon Pub- our local!

One of the biggest obstacles in creating a sense of community in London is the increasing house prices caused by gentrification. In many cases, the first families that have been there for generations have been pushed out of the city, as prices surge. One neighbourhood that has taken the spotlight in recent years is Mayfair.

Mayfair, absolutely architecturally stunning, filled with parks and high-end restaurants and clothing stores, it is evidently a very sought after neighbourhood, but to what detrimental effect? Many say that Mayfair now has an airy, ghostly feeling.

An ongoing discussion over the previous years has been on how un-affordable Mayfair has become, and concomitantly the increase in foreign and international buyers- looking for second or third homes. In London, property is increasingly not about homes, but about investment. Many wealthy individuals see London property as the best place to get a guaranteed return for their money. But with limited housing and limitless cash mean prices keep on rising.

With the increase in gentrification of neighbourhoods and the rise in foreign buyers, which in turn make these neighbourhoods uninhabitable for the families who had lived there for generations before; many neighbourhoods in London are transitioning from 'thick' communities to 'thin' communities. Thick communities being those with a high degree of social solidarity and a low degree of diversity. This is the sort of community where people are similar in language and culture.

A thin community is one with a high degree of diversity and a low degree of social solidarity. In this community, people come and go all the time. As Theresa May once said-“citizens of the world but citizens of nowhere”. Mayfair is clearly an example of one of these thin communities.

But does this represent the shape of things to come for Kensington?

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