Today Vice published an article about Stokes Croft in Bristol, and in particular, Chris Chalkley and the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft. It’s essentially a publicity piece for Chalkley and the PRSC that shows no actual journalistic questioning and assumes Chalkley speaks for the majority in the area, while repeating the same old myths about the riots three years ago, not to mention the gentrification of the area.
I’ve spoken about gentrification in Stokes Croft before, not to mention the 2011 Stokes Croft riots which has been completely shaped to be something entirely different from what happened over the month or so when those riots happened. As said, the Vice article repeats some of the myths, or frankly, lies that have been spread by Chalkley not to mention a media mainly based in London. It doesn’t seem to also know much of the history of the area, for example:
For years, the area has been best known for its derelict buildings, squats and a collection of local charities that serve the homeless. If you’ve read anything about gentrification before, you’ll know that those criteria make it an area primed for investment; it’s an inner city pocket offering cheap rents and a bunch of affordable places to hang out, meaning students and arty people have moved in, giving it the cultural capital that developers can exploit on the billboards for their pricey new penthouses.
While it’s true that a decade ago Stokes Croft was known for it’s cheap rents, squats and (it still is) known for derelict buildings, things have changed drastically in the last six or seven years. It’s now a desirable area which means rents have skyrocketed, house prices have went through the roof and the area is being shifted towards catering for a young affluent community while the established community is quietly being pushed out of the area. Part of the drive to make this area attractive came from Chalkley and the PRSC.
I’ve commented previously that Stokes Croft is in the middle of a tug of war as multiple groups try to grab control of an area which has changed dramatically since 2007. Yes there’s still derelict buildings, the odd squat and if you’re lucky, a reasonably cheap rent but these won’t be there for much longer as the multicultural area becomes whiter and more middle class. In this Vice article Chalkley describes various ways to help but the detail is thin. the article also repeats the flagrant greenwashing the PRSC used to get the ‘93% of people are against Tescos.
Regardless of the PRSC and their plans, developers can already expect to face plenty of opposition in the area. In 2011, 93 percent of local residents objected to the opening of a Tesco Express in Stokes Croft.
There’s too much taking Chalkley and the PRSC at their word and telling their side of the story which ironically is one of the things which drives gentrification, not to mention getting the media in London to notice them which produces articles like this which is all window dressing but missing essential detail. Yes there is a mention of rents going up as if it’s something going to happen in the future as opposed to the here and now.
I’m glad the media are taking an interest in parts of Bristol that isn’t Clifton or the Suspension Bridge, but the misinformation and lies around Stokes Croft is frankly, fucking depressing. Of course gentrification has brought some benefits but a deeper investigation as to the motives of those involved is needed before the area is lost forever to the sort of people who’ve made vast parts of London utterly horrible. As I’ve said in my previous blogs, there’s a lot of people being moved away from the area silently through to having being priced out and their voice isn’t being hear in the rush to present Stokes Croft as a Hipsters Paradise. They should have their voice heard and journalists should question more and accept less because they’re fucking journalists……