In the News

Geography in the News: 'Green gentrification' could force out poorer communities

Vicki Woolven

22nd September 2022

Rewilding sounds like a good thing, but urban nature restoration projects must be handled carefully to avoid pricing out locals, the Zoological Society of London warn.

During the Covid lockdown of Spring 2020 many of you might remember the new stories of animals moving back into urban areas and taking advantage of the fact the streets were deserted during restrictions (https://www.theguardian.com/uk...) - these seemed like an amazing turn of events - suddenly nature was in charge as we were stuck at home unable to do as much damage to the environment as usual. So hearing stories of further urban rewilding surely must only be a good thing?

However the Zoological Society of London warns that these nature restoration projects have to be managed carefully to avoid damage to communities. Yes, they help lower the flood risk and promote tourism as green spaces expand and become more attractive, but this comes at a price. In fact it can lead to an increase in house prices in a kind of 'green gentrification' - and with other forms of gentrification it is the poorer communities who get priced out of an area (think about knocking down rows of terraced homes and replacing them with swanky apartments in the London Docklands, for example).

Rewilding sounds like it should be integral to all sustainable urban developments - yet the sustainable communities framework includes local people having a voice and being included in decision making. ZSL reminds us that it is important to think about the 'socio-ecological' element here - enhancing wildlife habitats shouldn't drive inequality for local communities - yet it seems to be the case in many areas.

This is a really useful article for sustainable urban environments at both GCSE and A-Level - read the full article here - https://www.theguardian.com/en...

And then take a look at this article written in response to the ZSL report - https://www.businessgreen.com/...

Vicki Woolven

Vicki Woolven is Subject Lead for Key Stage 4 Humanities at tutor2u. Vicki previously worked as a Head of Geography and Sociology for many years, and has been a content writer, senior examiner and local authority Key Practitioner for Humanities.

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