London no longer exists

“For Londoners, London is obscured. Too thinly spread, too private for anyone to know. Its social life invisible, its government abolished, its institutions at the discretion of either monarchy or state or the City, where at the historic centre there nothing but a civic void, which fills and empties daily with armies of clerks and dealers, mostly citizens of other towns. The true identity of London is in its absence. As a city it no longer exists. In this alone it is truly modern. London was the first metropolis to disappear."

Patrick Keiller, London

The inside-out city

As London continues to be hollowed out by absentee owners and the "buy-to-leave" market, this observation from Jonathan Meades' Museum without Walls seems rather pertinent. 

What we are actually witnessing is an abandonment of the North American model and an espousal of the French model. The embourgeoisement of the inner city combined with a dereliction in the matter of building social housing to replace that which was so carelessly sold off is effecting an economically enforced demographic shift. Social polarities are not going to disappear. The sites of income-defined ghettos are merely being exchanged. They’re swapping with each other. A new hierarchy of place is being created. The haves move inwards. The have-nots move, or are forced, outwards. There is a significant population who cannot afford the affordable. Privilege is centripetal. Want is centrifugal. It can be summed up like this – in the future, deprivation, crime and riots will be comfortably confined to outside the ring road.

Basically, every now and then, we turn the notion of the city inside-out. Me, I'm playing it safe, nestled indecisively between York's inner and outer ring roads.