All seven boroughs that make up east London have seen a reversal in population decline and this trend is expected to continue. Unsurprisingly, the biggest changes so far have been in neighbourhoods close to the City, such as Old Street, Hoxton, Shoreditch, London Fields, Victoria Park and parts of Bow, which have become desirable places to live and work.
Hackney Wick and Fish Island (HWFI) occupies a unique position between these more affluent areas and its more affluent neighbours and the nascent residential and cultural community of the Olympic Park and Stratford. The large scale regeneration programme, planned by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) will significantly increase the scale, and speed up the time frame of, the inevitable redevelopment of this area.
The 2012 Olympic Games saw Stratford become the focus for the largest urban regeneration programme in Europe, with the area experiencing £12.5bn of private and public sector investment. This scale of change is on a par with the transformation of the Docklands, another east London success story. This ambitious project, which played a crucial role in the reversal in the fortunes of east London, was overseen by the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) in the 1980s-90s, and saw the creation of a new residential and financial district, now a major financial centre in London.
Although it has not yet seen any significant gentrification, HWFI is already home to a flourishing artistic and creative community, which has drifted eastwards over several decades from Chelsea, to Soho, to Clerkenwell, then to Shoreditch and Hoxton. Ever increasing property prices have driven this movement, and HWFI now has one of the highest densities of fine artists, designers and artisans in Europe. One of the LLDC’s main aims is to preserve this important artistic neighbourhood alongside the emergent residential area.