Ada Colau (Mayor of Barcelona) and Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) met on 3 October in London to agree on measures to combat the gentrification of large cities.

In recent years, the original population in the centres of the world’s major cities has been evicted from their homes due to rising house prices, as more affluent social groups are occupying these central neighbourhoods. The transformation of traditional housing into tourist apartments, luxury apartments and hotels is a phenomenon that favours the gentrification process. City centres lose their neighbours, traditional businesses disappear and the social fabric is destroyed.

The Mayor of Barcelona is promoting an international “Declaration” of big cities to urgently ask the States for more resources and power in the fight against gentrification. The Mayor of London has given his support to the proposal. This declaration proposes to provide cities with more affordable housing and to protect the rights of neighbours against abusive increases in rental prices. The manifesto calls for a global alliance of cities to promote regulations, to stop speculation and to defend livable cities with affordable housing.

Ada Colau will meet next week with the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and on Monday 16 will present the Declaration to the United Nations at a summit of cities with representatives of the member states of the world organization.

The Declaration proposes more resources for cities, more capabilities and powers and new global partnerships for livable cities. Local governments have a key role to play in ensuring the right to housing, but cities need more skills to curb property market speculation and more economic resources to increase public and affordable housing stock.


Translated from Spanish by Pressenza London