Handbook of Gentrification Studies
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Handbook of Gentrification Studies

Edited by Loretta Lees and Martin Phillips

It is now over 50 years since the term ‘gentrification’ was first coined by the British urbanist Ruth Glass in 1964, in which time gentrification studies has become a subject in its own right. This Handbook, the first ever in gentrification studies, is a critical and authoritative assessment of the field. Although the Handbook does not seek to rehearse the classic literature on gentrification from the 1970s to the 1990s in detail, it is referred to in the new assessments of the field gathered in this volume. The original chapters offer an important dialogue between existing theory and new conceptualisations of gentrification for new times and new places, in many cases offering novel empirical evidence.
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Chapter 26: Property and planning law in England: facilitating and countering gentrification

Antonia Layard


This chapter considers how property and planning law in England facilitates gentrification but importantly can also be used to resist and counter gentrification. Asking legal questions is crucial to understanding how gentrification happens wherever it is taking place. It is often the same legal mechanisms – leases, licences, planning permissions – as well as key legal absences – rent regulation, security of tenure or compulsory financial contributions to communities – that facilitate gentrification. Western concepts of property and land use have travelled extraordinarily well. As comparative gentrification studies illustrate, there are different ways of doing property and regeneration (including ethical landlordism, rent controls, security of tenure, state-led construction of affordable housing, community public spaces, social retail ventures, to name just a few) and we need to identify and publicise these. We need a ‘more contoured knowledge’ of cities and this applies to legal knowledge as well. The chapter argues that we can – and should – look for legal concepts that act as alternatives to the standard Western incidents of property and planning practices to inform calls for change.

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