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Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Class divide in regeneration
Wow. Pointing out the obvious...A study by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) reveals that middle-class people aspire to suburban living and see regeneration as an aid to that - but working class people are less convinced by such change. "The lesson for regeneration agencies is that they need to understand how people feel about them, not assume that they will be understood. This shows just how successful middle-class residents have been at imposing their tastes when it comes to the places in which we live."

Basically, it says that working-class residents don't see themselves on a housing ladder and don't see any way of moving 'up in the world', so don't value regeneration for bringing an uplift in property values. They were most affected by lack of jobs and services and thought that public agencies generally did 'nothing' for them, while the middle-classes saw themselves as 'here for now' and didn't mind a bit of scruffiness if they were near to restaurants and bars. They saw themselves as eventually moving on, whereas the working-classes wanted to but thought they would never be able to.

Some were offended by the report, though I think this is a misreading. Pauline Davis, managing director of Liverpool's New Heartlands pathfinder programme which is where the research took place, said: "The suggestion that people living within the pathfinder area are incapable of long-term vision, strategy and planning is patronising, offensive and plain wrong."


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