Stop gentrification. Adaptive reuse for social housing purposes
In the UK and in many other European and Noth American countries, industrial sites have been regenerated over the past decades and turned into vibrant mixed developments, with vacant industrial warehouses being converted into residential units, shops and cultural uses. It is well accepted that these interventions have contributed to the preservation of the tangible industrial heritage, as many buildings have been saved from demolition through adaptive reuse. But there is an intangible side of the industrial heritage that hasn't been preserved - these sites were, in a very recent past, occupied mainly by the working class, who collected many memories throughout the years and to whom these sites bring a sense of place. These communities, however, are almost never involved in the regeneration projects and gentrification is the most common outcome of this process. This paper uses the Royal Arsenal district in Woolwich, London as case study to show the social impact that the regeneration
caused and the gap it has created between the regenerated site and Woolwich town centre. The aim of this research is to point out how the existing public-private partnership as a method for regeneration has resulted in gentrification and discuss about the possibility of converting the industrial heritage into social housing in Brazil, since the practice of regeneration and reuse of industrial buildings is still not common in the country. Taking into consideration the big housing problem and the great number of vacant industrial buildings in central areas, especially in the city of São Paulo, this research will discuss the possibilities and also the barriers to convert the industrial heritage into social housing, a proposal that could avoid gentrification – which would certainly happen if we follow the examples from other countries.