Minimum City? The Deeper Impacts of the 'Super-Rich' on Urban Life

Atkinson, Rowland; Burrows, Roger; Glucksberg, Luna; Ho, Hang Kei; Knowles, Caroline and Rhodes, David. 2017. Minimum City? The Deeper Impacts of the 'Super-Rich' on Urban Life. In: Ray Forrest; Sin Yee Koh and Bart Wissink, eds. Cities and the Super-Rich: Real Estate, Elite Practices and Urban Political Economies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 253-271. ISBN 9781137557155 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

As is now well-known, London is one of the main, perhaps pre-eminent, locations of choice for the super-rich (Sunday Times 2015) and this raises inevitable questions about international social inequalities and their spatial expression in specific urban spaces. After the essential work of Piketty (2014) in profiling the dramatic expansion of fortunes at the apex of the wealth distribution, we may now ask, what have been the localised social and spatial ramifications of this increasing good fortune among the world‟s wealthy in particular cities? More specifically, in the context of an increasingly fractious urban politics around wealth and work (Standing 2011), housing opportunities and welfare (Parker 2010), we develop a series of arguments around the effects on London‟s urban, political and economic culture that appear to result from the inward migration and investments of the rich. Certainly, for commentators on the political right, the „limitless‟ supply of capital potentially looking for a home in the city‟s property market is viewed as a mark of the city‟s stability and enduring popularity despite wider recognition that much of this is also due to the illicit investment in London homes as a means of laundering (de Simone & Barthropp 2015) and a sign of the value of the city‟s economic stability within global regional turbulence that has made London an enviable location to invest (Platt 2015). Critically, for the argument we develop in this chapter, these rounds of investment in the property market have generated the impression that the rich are essential to London‟s economy and continued vitality of the city at a time of government-sponsored austerity for the wider urban population (Atkinson et al. 2016).

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Book Section

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Housing Market, Social Housing, Affordable Housing, Property Market, Private Renting

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1 March 2017Published

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17 Jan 2017 13:57

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29 Apr 2020 16:22


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