Weird News

Not to be found with the Advocate but perused by analytical accident, the Cereal Killer riots! “The $5 Cereal That Provoked a London Mob” by Heather Horn (9-30-15) for The Atlantic: “News of the mobbing on Saturday night [9-26-15] of the Cereal Killer Cafe in Shoreditch, in London’s East End…” Eventually, “The Facebook description for the demonstration (or “street party,” as its organizers called it) puts it plainly: “We don’t want luxury flats that no one can afford, we want genuinely affordable housing. We don’t want pop-up gin bars or brioche buns—we want community.”” Horn spends the rest of the extensive article investigating the reason for such a strange occurrence. After all, if you can open a business providing $5 bowls of Captain Crunch, what harm is there in that? Then again, as Horn rightly remembers, demonstrations occurred in San Francisco over Google’s commuter bus service causing housing prices to rise and folks had to leave their hearts by the golden gate because of that. The phenomenon in East London has been replicated and is the usual suspect. City loses residents/businesses, etc. vacant storefronts, apartments attract low income but educated, upwardly mobile inhabitants who thrive on the ‘edgy”, authentic atmosphere; eventually spawning specialty businesses like coffee shops, nightclubs, galleries and “ethnic” restaurants. Real estate values go up as equally educated but higher earning desire in on the now, not-so-edgy city living (gentrified). Happens all over – NYC’s Soho, then Brooklyn, soon to be Queens. In our neck of the central Ohio woods it could be the Short North, Italian Village and currently the near west side/Franklinton in Columbus. Horn presents an alternate take to that of housing. She quotes Paul Cheshire, an emeritus professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics – “the demonstrators, or at least the organizers, appeared to have a specific political-cultural agenda.” Nancy Holman, an associate professor of urban planning at the London School of Economics is quoted “Certainly I see at the university lots of people who graduate from the [master-of-science program] with a good job and prospects, living in a house with several other people living with them, and they’re doing that into their thirties. Really, what we’re seeing isn’t so much about gentrification but about feeling priced out—people who are in their twenties and thirties feeling that there’s not a lot of hope in their being a part of life in the capital despite the fact that they work and contribute.” Small chance of such insurrection taking place in Newark where development is not organic but by design. But then again, if a Cereal Killer were to be found across from the Jail Of Terror…?

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