The Planning Horizons paper by RTPI stresses on the correlation between poor health as well as the financial and social problems which people living in poorer areas suffer from. The fact that the areas where there is predominant poverty are made up of social housing, junk fast foot places, betting centers and cheap off license shops actually helps the people residing the area to lead unhealthy lives. The easy access to junk food, cheap liquor, gambling and other negative and harmful “pleasures” is not a result of bad planning, but to the total lack of planning from the local authorities, according to the paper which promotes healthier cities. The RTPI actually blames the local authorities and the government for abandoning the planning for such poor areas altogether and letting the demand and the market itself define the type of stores, shops and other infrastructure that are opened there.
In London, local authorities revealed plans to regenerate the city’s most deprived neighborhoods by increasing the quality and the number of the homes in these areas. This though does not seem to be helping the poorer residents of these areas, but rather to help residents who are better off to settle in, and actually displace those who cannot afford to buy or rent the improved homes.
This kind of displacement has already been seen in the London areas: Earls Court, West Kensington, Gibb Green and the Heygate estates, according to Professor Lees FRSA.
A similar situation has been happening in New York, where the planned regenerations have increased the rents and the prices of the homes, leading to the displacement of the locals from the inner NY City areas.
In order for this displacement to be prevented, the existing residents should be given an opportunity to get their existing homes replaced with the new ones built in the area. This way, those that really need an improvement of their social, financial and health status can be helped by the planned renewal projects.
Once again, planning is crucial for the proper regeneration of the poorer districts in order to help improve the wellbeing and the health of the existing residents there.
If such planning is not done, and everything goes as it is going now, this will mean that the regeneration process is actually a means to displace these areas with new city elite. This leads to the question to which extent are local authorities and the government responsible for the negative effects on the health, overall wellbeing and the poor economic and social status of the people who live in public housing in the area.