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Anti-gentrification “creative zones” will help artists in London

The plan would make London housing and workspace more affordable for workers in creative industries

The very concept of gentrification was born in London, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the city is taking some novel steps to combat the phenomenon’s impact, especially on artists. London City Hall is currently working on a plan to fulfill the campaign promise of Mayor Sadiq Khan to create protected "Creative Enterprise Zones" that would help keep the city affordable for its creative set.

Details for the plan haven’t yet been released, but while campaigning, Khan promised grants, reduced rents, and available workspaces for the city’s lower-income musicians, artists, fashion workers, and other creative communities. Other suggestions under consideration include restrictions on developers eyeing artist studio buildings, and helping artists get loans to buy their own spaces.

"Young artists that might have thought of coming here no longer do because they can’t afford to live in London," warned Tate Director Nicholas Serota. "That must give us pause for thought."

London’s Hackney Wick neighborhood has the highest concentration of artists in all of Europe, but the city is projected to lose a third of its artist studios to development over the next five years—unless the Mayor moves fast.