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The impact of global capital and foreign investment on local communities is being felt in major cities across the world.
Since the 2012 Olympics was awarded to the British capital, East London has been at the heart of the largest and most all-encompassing top-down urban regeneration strategy in civic history. At the centre of this has been the local government, Newham Council, and their daring proposal: an “Arc of Opportunity” for developers to transform 1,412 hectares of Newham. This proposal was outlined in a short film, London’s Regeneration Supernova, and shown to foreign developers and businesses at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
While the sweeping changes to East London have been keenly felt by locals, the symbolism and practicalities of these changes – for the local area, and the world alike – are overdue serious investigation. Regeneration Songs is about how places are turned into simple stories for packaged investment opportunities, how people living in those places relate to those stories, and how music and art can render those stories in many different ways.
The book will also include a download code to obtain the related musical project, Music for Masterplanning – in which musicians from East London soundtracked London’s Regeneration Supernova – and a glossy insert detailing the artists involved.
Contributors include Owen Hatherley, Joy White, Douglas Murphy and Will Jennings.
Alberto Duman is an artist, university lecturer and independent researcher. He teaches at Middlesex University in Art and Social Practice.
Anna Minton is a writer, journalist and Reader in Architecture at the University of East London. She has written two books, Ground Control and Big Capital, and is a regular contributor to the Guardian.
Dan Hancox is a writer on music, gentrification, pop culture and politics, writing for the Guardian, New York Times and others. His books include The Village Against the World and Inner City Pressure.
Malcolm James is a Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies in the School of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex. He is the author of Urban Multiculture: Youth, Politics and Cultural Transformation.
“A lively collection of testimony, analysis, lamentation and protest… as varied and vital as the city it documents.”
“Before change can happen in a city, it has to be imagined. This caustic collection of essays peers past the politicians’ and developers’ ‘visions’ reimagining one patch of supergentrified London to reveal the realities underneath, and the other imaginings, histories and radical alternatives too often buried beneath the gloss. Essential reading.”
“A compelling range of passionate voices that together shine a powerful spotlight on the realities of east London’s regeneration, providing a kaleidoscopic compendium of stories behind the generic gloss of the developers’ hoardings.”
“Regeneration Songs disrupts the common language of urban regeneration to find new ways of speaking about, writing and hearing the city. Bringing together artists, activists, critics, writers and teachers, it tells stories of the everyday, the angry, the unregenerate and the undaunted. Piecing together a soundtrack for a changing urban landscape, it listens hardest for what is least often heard in standard narratives of investment and opportunity as cities are re-made as sites of intensified development.”