Bias for betterment: the pledge wanna-be London Mayors can’t avoid

By Thomas L Blair © 5 March 2016

Angell town redesign

There is one thing that city hall candidates — Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Conservative Zac Goldsmith or the Liberal Party’s Caroline Pidgeon — should not shrug their shoulders about and must not gloss over.

The new London mayor will inherit Government’s cash boost for renovating run-down estates. This will surely have two predictable effects.

It will enrich developers and ministerial careers. But, once again, Black communities in obsolescent public housing will lose out.

The winner must inject a bias toward betterment in urban renewal. This means planning people-centred policies, life enhancing projects and sustainable environments. Otherwise, the new city leader risks repeating the social planning disasters of the present and past.

Positive leadership may be uncomfortable and unprofitable to pursue. Especially, requiring the support of communities, urban planners and powerful patricians. Nevertheless, a mayor’s strong commitment makes sense.

Without it, minority disadvantage will increase. Life will be intolerable for the “peoples of the abyss”. Moreover, USA-style racial concentrations will grow larger in poorly maintained social housing estates. Unrelieved  inner city  distress will shatter fragile families and neighbourhoods. Thus, the stewardship of a “model globalising city” will be revealed as a con.

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