Walking through Stokes Croft, one can expect to see flyers for artwork competitions, live bands, and community projects, set against a backdrop of politically charged graffiti, some of which has been created by none other than Bristol-born Banksy himself.
Renowned for being the cultural hotspot of Bristol, Stokes Croft is running the risk of becoming gentrified. Praised for its edgy urban allure, Stokes Croft is host to a number of clubs, restaurants, bars, and independent retailers, all of whom uphold the strong sense of community and the emphasis on local trade that has been created by the diverse residents.
Stokes Croft is well known for supporting its local and independent businesses, and last hit the headlines when opposing the opening of the chain store, Tesco. In fact, last month, a new online campaign named #actlocal was launched by a Bristol based creative agency in order to reiterate the importance of supporting the local businesses..
By supporting local businesses the residents of Stokes Croft help to create a self-sustaining and diverse economy, which benefits the whole community. This mutually beneficial economic system provides a basis for the rejection of redevelopment plans that are centred on capitalist profit.
As the popularity of Stokes Croft grows, the redevelopment proposals flood in: many of which threaten to force out the current demographic by inciting a surge in property market prices. The latest proposal came from Fifth Capital London, who have submitted a planning application for The Carriageworks building in the centre of Stokes Croft. The Carriageworks is a Grade II* listed building, and though a derelict, is valued by the community for its authenticity. If Fifth Capital London's application is accepted, Stokes Croft will see 118 homes built in a gated community, the majority of which will come at luxury prices.
Hackney, in London, has been subject to a similar trajectory. Merely a decade ago, Hackney was thought of as one of the more run down boroughs in London. Now, the average price for a semi-detached property has reached one million.
Pauline Pearce, dubbed the Hackney Heroine, spoke out against the council's lack of concern for looking after the long-standing residents of Hackney, and allowing the construction of private housing rather than utilising the space for social housing, community centres or youth programmes.
Redevelopment in an area is not a problem, and few would argue against that. However, when the redevelopment results in a raised price of living, this is a problem. In an area which is valued for its diverse community, the last thing they want is to lose half of it.