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London's Transformation, Described in Brutal Terms

The familiar tales of expensive living in U.S. cities like San Francisco, New York, and Vancouver gain a little perspective when compared to London. Or maybe London just provides a crystal ball to the future of those cities and others like them.
June 30, 2015, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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London, according to Rowan Moore, "is eating itself."

"Most obviously, its provision of housing is failing to keep up with its popularity, with effects on price that breed bizarre reactions at the top end of the market and misery at the bottom. Thousands are being forced to leave London because their local authorities can’t find them homes and people on middle incomes can’t acquire a place where anyone would want to raise a family."

Moore is obviously a fan of London's charms, though sober in assessing the perceptions of London from elsewhere in the United Kingdom. The perhaps underreported point that Moore hopes to make with the article, however, is that "the city is feeding on its own." And while that might seem as a problem of concern to Londoners, "what happens there may well, in some form, also come to a place near you."

The article is a long-read, with a lot of anecdotes and examples describing businesses and people forced out to make way for luxury residential developments. Moore also quotes Peter Rees, the City of London Corporation’s chief planning officer for 29 years, who describes the "safety-deposit box in the sky" approach to real estate investment. 

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Published on Sunday, June 28, 2015 in The Observer
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