Gentrification of the city
- T. Slater
- Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.,
In 1894 Queen Victoria opened the Salford Docks, now known as Salford Quays, home of MediaCityUK. At the time, Salford Docks were considered a masterpiece of engineering, allowing Manchester to circumvent the route through Liverpool and have access to international trade. The area was an ambitious hub for commerce, industrial activity and job prospects. Although more than 100 years have passed, Salford Quays is again under the spotlight and has the ambition to be a contemporary contender in the cultural industries market – this time focussing, through MediacityUK, on moving the media industry away from London. In order to attract such a prestigious focus, the developers have responded by building waterside apartments, luxury housing and speedy infrastructure and by promoting a successful professional lifestyle, with cultural and cutting-edge designer events. However, the local community seems to be more than ever alienated from this process, the sense of cultural collective memory being diluted. Throughout this paper, we are considering issues relating both to the historical significance of Salford Quays as well as to its cultural legacy within the local community. In order to do so, we are addressing the following research questions: How can the past be brought to into the present to support a sense of identity cohesion? Can Salford shake off the image of a derelict area and become the innovative creative quarter, through the (living) memories of its community? We will argue that the reinvention of Salford Quays as a new cutting-edge creative quarter happens at the expense of the historical memory of the place. In this way, local people and local memories do not become an integral part of the regeneration strategy, but are almost erased from the whole process.