Leicester has an opportunity ‘to do regeneration differently’

Posted by pt91 at Mar 22, 2017 12:56 PM |
International expert on urban regeneration from University of Leicester to give public talk on 28 March

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 22 March 2017

Photograph of Professor Loretta Lees available to download at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3wgt9eudculooh8/DSC_0250.JPG?dl=0

Leicester has an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of gentrification in cities worldwide and to pioneer a unique approach to regeneration that has the potential to become a Leicester brand, according to a University of Leicester Professor.

Professor Loretta Lees from the University of Leicester’s Department of Geography will be giving a free public talk entitled ‘From Planetary to Provincial Gentrification: Lessons for Leicester’ on 28 March for the Leicester Urban Observatory’s City Series of lectures. The event, which will be held from 5.15pm - 6.45pm in the Bishop Street Methodist Church, Leicester, will also include a Q & A session between Professor Lees and the City Mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby.

Professor Lees is an international expert on urban regeneration who has conducted extensive research on gentrification, where low-income communities are ‘regenerated out’ attracting in higher income groups. She recently co-authored Planetary Gentrification with Hyun Bang Shin and Ernesto López-Morales, the launch text for a new Polity Press, Cambridge, series on ‘Urban Futures’, in which she examines such processes in cities globally.

Professor Lees said: “I will outline my thesis on planetary gentrification and what that means for cities around the world. I will then turn to the UK to discuss how gentrification is playing out differently in different cities, comparing metropolitan with provincial gentrification.”

Part of her talk will focus on the city of Leicester, which at this time, she says, “is flirting with gentrifying ideas, such as attracting the creative class, waterfront redevelopment and cultural and tourism-led regeneration”.

She adds: “I will argue that Leicester has a great opportunity to both learn from the mistakes of other cities and do things differently. Indeed being different and doing 'regeneration' differently could be a brand we could sell.”

In 2016, Professor Lees was an expert witness at the Public Inquiry into plans to issue residents of the Aylesbury Estate in London with Compulsory Purchase Orders for their homes, in order to regenerate the estate, these were subsequently overturned.

Professor Lees said of the win: “Gentrification is not a boost for everyone. The overwhelming evidence from over 50 years of academic and policy research on gentrification is that overall, it’s a negative not a positive thing. The costs outweigh the benefits.

“When council estates are redeveloped as mixed income communities, when the middle classes are about to move in, the lower classes are moved out. They’re displaced, so what you get is not the promoted mixed communities, rather gentrification and social segregation”.

The Leicester Urban Observatory is a collaboration between urban practitioners at Leicester City Council and academics at: De Montfort University, University of Leicester, and Loughborough University. It aims to establish and develop a combined centre of excellence in urban studies and planning for Leicester. See https://leicesterurbanobservatory.wordpress.com/ for future events in their ‘City Series’.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby, who delivered the inaugural City Series lecture, said: “This is is an exciting collaboration that brings together a wealth of local expertise in urban studies, architecture and Leicester's planning history.

“We have some outstanding experts across the three local universities and the City Series is an opportunity to share learning and open up an informed debate on urban planning with the wider community.”

‘From Planetary to Provincial Gentrification: Lessons for Leicester’ will take place on 28 March from 5.15pm - 6.45pm at Bishop Street Methodist Church, Bishop Street, Leicester, LE1 6AF. This free lecture is open the public but sign up is required on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/

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Notes to Editors:

For more information contact Professor Loretta Lees on Loretta.lees@le.ac.uk.

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