Un-homing, ownership and the emotional politics of reclamation: campaigning against state-developer regeneration in Tottenham, London.

Authors: Isobel Ward*, King's College London
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: displacement, home, urban regeneration
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Colorado, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper argues that housing struggles in Tottenham fought to reclaim conceptions of home as a radical and open right that align with the community’s own expectations and identity. I examine the experiences of local residents and campaigners in the crucial period before the collapse of the Haringey Development Vehicle, a regeneration scheme in Tottenham, London, which sought to transfer £2 billion worth of public land and property into a state-developer owned company. Faced with large scale demolition and widespread regeneration, these groups pursued grassroots campaigning, legal processes and national media attention to eventually ensure the scheme was cancelled by the council. Tottenham is one of the poorest areas in the UK, is also one of the most ethnically diverse, with a long and troubled history of racial violence and stigmatisation which has underpinned government funding interventions. Simultaneously, and partly as a result, it is a place many people feel a strong sense of belonging and attachment. Through ethnography I explore how feelings of displacement and ‘un-homing’ manifested differently in the diverse population during this most recent period of state-sanctioned appropriation. Secondly, I outline how local campaigning drew upon notions of home as means of political reclamation, arguing that this gendered and emotional labour of community organising was central to the effectiveness of the demand for the right to stay. Finally, I discuss the role of the distinct politics of ownership that informed the campaign in bringing about a change in local councillors and other regeneration schemes in the area.

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