The Displaced Population Essay Sample

Published: 2022-11-07
The Displaced Population Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Dissertation
Categories:  Population
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1734 words
15 min read

Displacement is the forceful movement of people from their area of residence to another area (Wilmsen & Webber 2015). Such cases often result in a massive loss and destruction of property which as a result affects the victims' social and personal lives. The regeneration of the elephant and castle is arguably one of the largest redevelopment programs in ever to take place in London. The project involves the demolition of the Heygate estate which would then result in the development of the Elephant and Castle shopping complex. This report aims to investigate the impacts of displacement as experienced by ten of the former social housing residents of the Heygate estate. This study is important as it highlights different ways in which the former residents of the Heygate estate were displaced, taking a closer look at how the displacement affected them. The findings of the research touching on the effects of gentrification to the affected population will be useful for policy makers and other stakeholders in the future especially when undertaking such projects. Additionally, the findings will be useful in providing solutions to gentrification problems faced by the displaced population, not only in the Heygate case, but also for other gentrification victims.

There is split opinion on the impacts of gentrification in the society. Opponents to gentrification argue that it results in subjugation of the poor families in the neighborhoods by the rich (Florida 2015). On the other hand, supporters of gentrification argue that it is just a natural process that involves the transformation of the neighborhoods through implementation of a number of changes (Florida 2015). Displacement of any kind causes a varying range of social and personal impacts on individuals and families (Florida 2015). Such has been the case with the Heygate displacement which affected several people. Tran (2011) notes that the purpose of developing an estate is to provide cheaper and accessible housing for the mass market. While this was the initial plan with the Heygate project, reports have indicated otherwise showing that a significant number of the properties under the project were sold to foreign investors (Jones 2017). At the time of the demolitions, the estate was home to over 3000 people who were against the destructions arguing that the houses were still in good condition (Moore 2011). The structures of the estates were futuristic in their design offering an ideal communal life complete with social hubs for the residents (Timberlake Jeffrey & Elaina 2016). This research seeks to delve into a deeper understanding of the consequences of displacement from the experiences of ten former social housing residents of the Heygate estate. As a consequence of the Heygate displacement, most former residents experienced different social and personal repercussions most of which will be discussed in this research.

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The research delves deeper into understanding of the topic through various sections. In the literature review section of the paper focuses on understanding the topic through an analysis of other research work. It will involve a justification of the importance of the research through the secondary data from previous research and through the opinions of former Heygate estate residents. In the methodology section of the paper, the focus will be on understanding the various methods used in data collection. Basically, the research will use primary data collection which will involve telephone interviews to the respondents and secondary data collection that will involve review of previous literature on the topic. The findings section of the paper will involves an analysis of the collected data and a review and analysis of trends in the research the conclusion section summarizes the research findings with the references section providing the secondary data used in the research.

Research aim - to investigate the impacts of displacement as experienced by ten of the former social housing residents of the Heygate estate.

The research objectives are first, to ascertain the extent of the effects of displacement on the social life and general well-being of the former residents. Secondly, the research intends to identify strategies used by the government towards movement of the residents. Thirdly, the research will also seek to improve on the understanding and assessment of impacts of displacement in gentrification on displaced people. Finally, this paper seeks to clearly understand the factors that led to displacement decision-making and how?

Literature review

Gentrification is typically carried out with a view of transforming the overall outlook of a particular locality from a low-income community to a middle-income estate (Department for Work and Pensions 2014). In most cases, authorities undertake gentrification purposely for improving the livelihoods of the people within the community. The overall improvements on these low-income areas into middle-class estates that were initially overlooked is characterized by the refurbishment of the housing facilities and development of consumption outlets that have a considerable income at the disposal. According to Atkinson (2012), such changes revitalize the locality from its former state of decline in facilities and general amenities. Taking the example of the Heygate demolitions in London, the local authorities in conjunction with private developers sought to change the living conditions of the Heygate estate residents while at the same time improving the overall outlook for the estate (Freeman Cassola & Cain 2016). While upgrading the state of the estate was the idea behind the demolitions, this was not the outcome. The whole project was chaotic with many false promises from the authorities (Millard-Ball 2012).

Effects of gentrification on displacement on social life and general well-being

While gentrification is typically undertaken with a good motive of upgrading the living conditions for the affected people, there are spill-over effects that arise as a result of such projects (Davidson & Lees 2010). All these negative impacts come in the form of psychological and economic drawbacks to the affected people. According to (Du Plessis Acioly & Rollnick 2013), the low-income residents are in most cases the most affected particularly considering that they make up the more significant percentage of the population in these communities. Gentrification amounts to the displacement of people from their areas of residence to other locations. Lees et al. (2010) further emphasizes the same by arguing that displacement negatively affects the low-income population particularly when it comes to maintaining their state of livelihood. Landowners in such areas often use unscrupulous measures to evict tenants from the residence. One of the most common manners of eviction is by increasing the rental fee as Lopez-Morales (2011) notes. The rental prices rise, coupled with an increased demand for the property among the high-income population that is willing and can pay more forces the tenants out of the houses. Such actions causes psychological trauma among the affected people and economic confusion among the low-income families (Bell & Van Velsor 2017)

Over time, there is a high likelihood that the value of the land in which such properties sit will significantly increase. This exciting prospect prompts landowners to sell their properties to high-income individuals with the capability to renovate them and improve the properties' appeal. With an increase on the land rates, the low income residents are often thrown into a state of confusion especially given their economic standing. In most of these cases, these tenants are forced to seek residence in other low income areas which in most cases may be distant thereby increasing their proximity to their places of work (Desmond Matthew Carl & Barbara 2015). In case of such cases, the tenants are left in a state of confusion which negatively affects them and their families psychologically. This argument is further supported by Atkinson Wulff & Spinney (2011) who conducted a study on gentrification in Sydney and Melbourne. The researcher used the qualitative methodology in the research and used telephone interviews for data collection among displaced individuals. The researcher uses qualitative methodology because it provides a wider scope and understanding of the concept through an analysis of secondary information. Qualitative methodology is best suited for this research because due to its dynamic nature. According to the research, one of the outstanding issues in the residences was the sudden increase in the amount of rent charged which made it difficult for low-income earners to live in the houses. The situation was worsened by the rise in development of high-income residential within the estate.

Gentrification also brings about trauma for the affected families which affect the victims psychologically. Wachsmuth & Weisler (2018) highlights that finding a new place of residence for the affected families as a significant stressor. In most cases, the affected families, considering their financial standing, will have to relocate to areas with even lower living standards compared to their previous homes (Murdie & Teixeira 2011). A majority of victims of evictions from low-income residential areas pointed out to having experienced serial displacements particularly as a result of increases in the amount of rent. As a result of the regular displacement, most of this population face social and psychological problems as a result (Oishi 2010). In some notable cases, such movements resulted in homelessness among some of the victims the result of which is traumatization (Owens 2012).

Having lived in these areas for long periods, some instances of displacement result trauma caused by place attachment. Such situations occur, particularly for the older generation. According to Manzo et al. (2008) who conducted research on the impacts of gentrification in the united states, the most notable implications of gentrification was the breaking of communal ties that had long been established which consequently interferes with the long-standing peace (De Verteuil 2011). The researcher further analyzes the meaning of the societies and communal relations before the displacements. He determined that the social functioning of these communities over time allowed the residents to form place attachments where bonds developed through the mutual support accorded to one another among the neighbors (Zukin 2011). Such relationships were however not witnesses in higher-income areas (Hyra 2015). Stronger mutual aids resulted in strong ties and stronger emotional attachments among the residents (Shaw & Hagemans 2015). Breakage of such bonds as a result of displacement can have adverse effects on the affected individuals.

Cases of gentrification often come with feelings of grief and anger among the displaced population (Shaw & Hagemans 2015). This mainly is the case among older people. According to a study that purposed to get the feeling of victims of eviction with the interviewees ranging from adults to younger people, the psychological impacts of displacement were found to be more adverse among older people as compared to the younger generation (haw 2008). In some cases, forceful eviction resulted in trauma among the older people, which in some instances resulted in deaths (Dooling 2009).

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