Urban Revival Drains Life out of London Suburbs

In an echo of the urban inversion confronting many of America's cities, London's phenomenal economic growth over the past decade has come at the expense of the city's suburbs, where unemployment and poverty are growing. Could this be a good thing?

"Across London’s suburban fringe and in some of the commuter towns ringing the capital, job growth has stagnated in the past decade as it has roared ahead in inner London (see chart)," writes The Economist. "In places like Croydon and Romford, an east London suburb, office blocks are being demolished or converted to housing. In inner-city Canary Wharf, meanwhile, the number of jobs has quadrupled since 2001. London’s economic growth is concentrated in the middle: it tends to spill only as far as central spots like Shoreditch and King’s Cross. The trend may eventually turn the capital’s social structure inside out."

As businesses and young professionals are drawn to the city, the suburbs are confronting increases in crime and commute times.

"[T]he flow of jobs to the middle of London, and poor people to the suburbs, looks likely to continue," adds The Economist. "Perhaps that is no bad thing. Concentrated poverty created many of the inner city’s problems in the first place. Even if London’s poor become a little more spread out, the city as a whole could still end up richer."

Full Story: Trouble in Metroland

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