Reviewing Convergence (May 2013)

UEL Seminar Series – Beyond 2012: the Olympics and the Regeneration of East London

Reviewing Convergence

4th Seminar:  22nd May 2013, 5.30pm – 7.30pm

The headline promise of the London 2012 Games was that they would benefit East London’s communities and regenerate the area.  This translated into the concept of ‘convergence’ and formed part of the 2009 Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF): “within 20 years the communities who host the 2012 Games will have the same social and economic chances as their neighbours across London”.

Although we are only at the beginning of that 20 year Legacy period, the convergence agenda has already existed for four years.  It is therefore opportune to examine what has occurred so far, to review whether the indicators set out in the SRF to measure ‘convergence’ are still fit for purpose, and to explore what new thinking might be needed to achieve convergence.

Issues and challenges that might be discussed in this context include:

  • The intense pressure that rising land value exert in terms of change of land use and therefore change of place and related impacts on community.
  • How do we define ‘local community’ and ‘local residents’ over a generational timescale given the high level of churn in the population of East London?
  • How and what is being counted? Statistically, convergence could be achieved by (a) raising the base quality of economic and social life of disadvantaged residents across the board, (b) displacing poorer with better off residents or (c) adding large numbers of more affluent residents to the existing demographic profile.

‘Convergence’ is therefore a highly contested agenda and one not solely controlled by policy. However, we might ask whether the ‘value management’ mechanisms that policy has at its disposal, are good enough or well-enough used and what else could be brought to bear?

Guest Speakers

Prof Tim Butler, King’s College London

Tim Butler is Professor of Geography at King’s College London and one of the UK’s leading experts on the role of social class and social inequality in British society. He has carried out extensive research on gentrification in general and the regeneration of East London in particular. His recent publications include the book Ethnicity, Class and Aspiration: remaking London’s New East End with Chris Hamnett (2011) and Mixed Communities: Gentrification by Stealth with Gary Bridge and Loretta Lees (2011).  Tim Butler was previously Professor of Urban Sociology at the University of East London and has twice been invited to Sciences Po, Paris, as a visiting professor.

Roger Taylor, Growth Boroughs Unit

Roger Taylor is the recently-retired Director of the Growth Boroughs Units (previously Host Boroughs) comprising the London boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.  In a long and distinguished local government career, he was previously Chief Executive of Manchester and then Birmingham City Councils before joining the private sector to pursue a career in public sector consultancy and interim management. He became Director of the Host Boroughs Unit in 2008 after an extended period as Interim Chief Executive at the London Borough of Waltham Forest.


London Legacy Development Corporation, Level 10, 1 Stratford Place, Montfichet Road, London E20 1EJ


Participation is free, but registration is essential as places are limited. To book a place, please email Sue Isaac (

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