Since the 1960s a picture has emerged. A collective language of urban development, which paints artists – to use a generic conglomeration of fine artists, writers, architects, photographers and filmmakers – as urban pioneers. It would seem this has become the portrait of urban renewal. Artists as what Jonathan Raban so cuttingly called the ‘stripped-pine pioneers’. First-wave foot soldiers of gentrification. Boldly marching beyond the frontiers of well-trod quartiers, in search of new, cheap, interesting spaces to live and work.
Bea Moyes on the development of the East End.