According to many commentators, technological developments over the past 20 years have launched us into the throes of the fourth industrial revolution. The implications for the way we go about our daily lives, from chatting with friends to ordering a pizza to getting the day to day work done in the office, go without saying. But the consequences of the technological revolution run even deeper.
The industrial revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century brought enormous changes to housing, introducing the concept of mass urbanisation as people moved from the countryside into London and other industrial areas. It might sound strange, but this latest revolution is having a similarly significant impact on the capital’s housing.
Shoreditch, Hoxton and Silicon Roundabout
One of the most famous examples centres around the formerly run down industrial districts to the north of the city. When the Old Street Roundabout area WAS redeveloped as part of the government’s East London Tech Initiative, it prompted an influx of startup firms.
This in turn led developers to ramp up investment in the burgeoning Shoreditch area, promoting it from a well-kept secret among artists and hipsters to the thriving and vibrant community that we see today.
The phenomenon has now spread to nearby Hoxton and out towards the formerly impoverished neighbourhoods of Dalston and Hackney. Throughout the area, former industrial buildings are being converted into desirable living spaces for the young professionals whom the tech firms attract.
Kings Cross, Camden and the Google Landscraper
Shift your attention a couple of miles west, and you arrive at North London’s most famous district – Camden. With its world famous market and vibrant night life, it seems like the perfect place for young professionals to let their hair down on a Friday night, but you might suppose that they would think twice about living there.
However, all that is set to change with the arrival of Google and Facebook’s new London headquarters. Construction will start later in 2018, and already, the rental landscape is starting to change. Facebook is based just up the road close to Kings Cross station and they are key players in shaping the tech landscape in that area, and the nearby districts of Kentish Town and Tufnell Park are becoming increasingly popular with those seeking attractive rental property.
Islington and “Supper Street”
Nestled between these two rental hotspots lies London’s most famous village. Islington is the ideal spot for a night out – its main thoroughfare, Upper Street, has acquired the nickname “Supper Street” with good reason, and the range of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants has to be seen to be believed.
For many, Islington is the perfect place to live, and many of the traditional Georgian town houses have been transformed into high end apartments. And tucked away in the space between Essex Road and Upper Street, former retail and business units are quietly mutating into exclusive residential properties, topped off by spacious penthouses.
The impact of the fourth industrial revolution on London’s housing might not be as dramatically obvious as that of previous years, but most agree that the effect is a far more positive one, bringing new life and sustainable prosperity to North London.