the end of Soho? city centre grit under threat
Interesting piece in the Independent about the gentrification of Soho, this has been an on going battle for years.
I remember being in new York when they had the Tompkins Park Riot when the bohemian types in Manhatten’s Alphabet City roses up against the developers rose up against the corporate cleansing. the are is now caught between the two- with all the chain shops and cafes sneaking in whilst retaining scrubbed up version of its past.
This is happening in Soho now, whilst the area is till the best place to run around in london with nooks and crannies of damp madness, there are also the kind of darkened window expensive look places where so called celebrities disappear into. In balance this is what gives the area certain charm, that whiff of danger mixed with the big money, but with the big money beginning to take over there is danger that what made the area so attractive will disappear.
Manchester’s Northern Quarter faces the same problem, for years it was derelict and forgotten and then the art bars and hip venues moved in and then the gradual invasion from Deansgate with the super bars encroaching it follows these strange rules of progress.
What do we want from our city centres? do we want steel and glass scrubbed blandness or are we still in love with the sweat and the grime of the underground?