London’s luxurious ‘Sky Pool’ is peak gentrification

London 'Sky Pool'
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On 1 June, the BBC shared a video of swimmers enjoying London’s new ‘Sky Pool’, which is “believed to be the world’s first transparent pool built between two skyscrapers”. People soon took to Twitter to highlight the entrenched inequalities that the opulent architectural feature represents. Indeed, it’s situated at the heart of a city in which an estimated 170,068 people are homeless and over 600,000 children live in poverty.

London’s widening class divide

The Sky Pool is situated in Embassy Gardens, a housing development near the new US Embassy. The development is part of the £3bn Nine Elms regeneration zone, a riverside development which covers large areas of land from Vauxhall to Battersea in the south-west London boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth. Highlighting the inequality that persists in what has been dubbed an “opportunity area”, Labour councillor Maurice McIeod tweeted:

Sharing the realities of life in the area for most residents, Jason Okundaye said:

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Deploring the Tories’ prioritisation of private developments over social housing in the face of an entrenched housing crisis, Labour councillor Aydin Dikerdem said:

Segregating the residents

In February, journalist Oliver Wainright highlighted the fact that shared-ownership residents living in Embassy Gardens aren’t allowed access to the Sky Pool, the front door, or other features in the building. They must use “poor doors”, while private owners make the most of the amenities:

In a thread setting out the inequalities inherent in the housing market, Nick Perry said:

Others, meanwhile, questioned the BBC‘s tone:

Adding that “affordable” apartments in Embassy Gardens come with staggering £750k price tags, Dr Eleanor Janega stated:

Britain’s cladding scandal

14 June will mark the 4th anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which killed 72 residents. On 7 May, petrified residents called firefighters to New Providence Wharf, a tower block covered in “Grenfell-style” cladding. Although the cladding was not found to be a “significant factor” in this case, the London Fire Brigade found numerous failings in the building that should have been addressed by the building’s owner.

According to Anoosh Chakelian, the Sky Pool’s developer Ballymore is also responsible for New Providence Wharf, but made residents wait nearly four years to have the flammable cladding removed. Olympic Park Homes Action reflected on this injustice:

Nathaniel Baker added:

Another Twitter user simply said:

London’s Sky Pool serves as a stark reminder of everything that’s wrong with Britain’s unjust housing system.

Featured image via @BBCNews/Twitter

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