ISLINGTON SHOULD EMBRACE ITS GENTRIFICATION
I could feel my 'social tension' rising when reading Ruth Slavid's editorial about DSDHA's 'Paradise Park' building (AJ 17.08.06), which is a welcome addition to Islington.
What's not so welcome, though, is the notion that the building has acquired greater architectural status because it serves tea not cappuccino, or that a terrace was eschewed because toffs like me might go and swill champagne on it. To compare Islington locals to 'quiet and cute' red squirrels is also stretching things.
Describing the 'middle class' as colonising grey squirrels got on my nuts. Large swathes of Islington were built for the emerging middle classes. What's wrong with 'gentrification'?
It's called regeneration these days. That's what the borough was founded on. What's wrong in places like Islington is that the council continues to provide lots of poor housing in which 'locals' have become trapped because of a range of other problems - education-related probably - and Islington's 'problems' stem from that, not from 'grey squirrels' colonising the place.
Lee Mallett, Regeneration and Communication, London N7