London housing for Londoners? Patrick Keiller might disagree with you…

There is a feeling amongst some commentators that Londoners should be allowed to live stably in the community that they were bought up in. Consequently the current predisposition of successive British governments to hollow out London, to make it a comfortable pad for the international rich,  the financiers and bankers who service them, and speculators who want to profit from rising house prices, at the cost of Londoners, comes under attack. Any new house should be for a working Londoner, before it is made available to the international rich or a speculator, goes the argument.

Whilst it is not a popular opinion to be against this position, Patrick Keiller, in an interview with Natalie Olah from Vice has suggested something along these lines stating, “There’s a lot of cultural and critical attention devoted to the experience of mobility and displacement. But often the emphasis is on their negative aspects, and we still tend to fall back on assumptions about dwelling derived from a more settled, agricultural past. This kind of place-centred dwelling is very problematic, as we see all the time in the Middle East, the UK and elsewhere. But that doesn’t mean that we can dispense with claims on territory, or with territory’s claims on us. That’s what tax-avoiders do – the super-rich think they’re above the level of the nation state. But equally, the idea of ancestral rights to settlement is just not practical. In the UK, hardly anyone isn’t “displaced” to some extent.”


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