'Cool' London

Analysing gentrification through the location of people working in 'cool' industries

9th April 2014, by Neal Hudson


With Alex Proud claiming that ‘Cool’ London is dead I thought I’d do some proper analysis using Census data. I’ve used people working in Culture, Media & Sporting occupations as a proxy for ‘cool’ (sorry, I haven’t included property professionals & certainly not researchers). My analysis has now been written up in a great blog by Daniel Knowles of The Economist but I’ve included the key charts/map below.

We can see from the chart below that the big growth in where ‘cool’ people live (2001 to 2011) has been in the more affordable boroughs in east London while the more expensive central/south west London boroughs have seen falls in the number of residents who work in these sectors. Many of the areas with growth in absolute terms actually saw the concentration of ‘cool’ people fall due to greater population growth over the period. Hackney, Lewisham & Bexley were the exceptions to this with growth in ‘cool’ people greater than the total number of people living in each borough. 


That means that the greatest concentrations of ‘cool’ people are indeed found in Hackney as per the map below. Hackney also happens to have the fastest growing house prices at the moment with Land Registry showing 21.5% annual growth.


Looking across England & Wales, we can see that Hackney is still the ‘coolest’ place to live (measured as % of residents working in culture, media & sport) but locations like Brighton, Hastings, Liverpool & Manchester have all seen big increases in the number of residents employed in that sector. Manchester & Salford have undoubtedly been helped by the relocation of the BBC.


As the economy recovers and new house building remains well below required levels, we will see even more pressure building on our existing housing stock leading to greater numbers of young people moving into more affordable neighbourhoods which in turn will lead to more gentrification. 

For more on gentrification and the effects of a growing population you can read this Savills report (link to pdf)



Key Contacts

Neal Hudson

Neal Hudson

Associate Director
Residential Research

Savills Margaret Street

+44 (0) 20 7409 8865


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