Goodbye to the Gatwick, and to so much of the old St Kilda
The closure of the Gatwick Hotel in St Kilda represents a new front in the ongoing gentrification debate in inner Melbourne. It highlights inconvenient truths about cultural appropriation, heritage as a driver of urban renewal, and the marginalisation of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
Gentrification taps into the fundamental urban planning and social issues facing Melbourne and other big Australian cities in coming decades. In particular, it has impacts on liveability, housing affordability, and social cohesion.
Gentrification has its benefits
Gentrification and the financial investment it represents can be a positive and transformative process for local communities. Better access to education and health services, as well as welcoming, attractive and vibrant streetscapes, are just some of the benefits of urban regeneration.
But, too often, the economic benefits of regeneration are separated from its social impact on existing residents. Rising property prices and rents are inevitable with gentrification. As a result, people on low incomes or who rely on social welfare are forced out as the wealthier middle class moves in.
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