The Seven Stages of Regeneration

1. Shock & Disbelief

What! Why would they want to knock down our homes? That’s crazy! I don’t believe it! There’s no point frightening people for no reason. It’s just trouble-makers spreading lies.

2. Denial & Excuses

This isn’t happening! There’s no way they’d do this! They’re the council, for Christ’s sake, they work for us! And why would they sell off their own assets? It doesn’t make financial sense! And it’s not legal. People won’t allow it. No, it’ll never happen.

3. Anger & Hate

Bloody council! Lying, stealing, thieving, cheating council! Damn them, they’ll never get my home! I’m staying here! You Compulsory Purchase my home! You come and drag me out! This is my home! There’s no way I’m moving! How’d they like it if I came round and evicted them from their homes? I’ll show them!

4. Guilt & Depression

This is all my fault. I should have got off this estate when I had the chance. I should have put some money away for a rainy day. I should have listened to my parents. I knew this day would come. Why didn’t I get out when I could? This is my fault. I’m worthless. Nobody’s to blame but me. It’s time to go. They’re right, we don’t deserve anything better. As you sow, so shall you reap. This is God punishing me. I’m doomed. Sometimes, I wish I were dead.

5. Delusion & Bargaining

Okay, if I’m nice to the council, maybe we can come to an agreement. At the end of the day, they’re reasonable people, and there’s no point making enemies. They’re professionals, after all, and they’re just doing their job. If I do what they tell me to, it’ll all work out in the end. I’m sure of it. I’ll go to the meetings, fill in the forms, do the consultations, and stop opposing them publicly. They’re not so bad, really. We’ll work something out between us. You’ll see. They’re not monsters, after all.

6. Recognition & Hope

Okay, this is really happening. But it’s not over yet. Just because they want to demolish our homes, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. And if I give up now, it’s what they want me to do, isn’t it? Go quietly, with the least trouble and cost to them. There must be something I can do to stop this. Why should they determine what happens to me? Why should these people I’ve never even met tell me where I should live? Who put them in charge of my life? The future isn’t written. Evicting us will take years, and anything can happen. At least it can if I make it. I’m a free human being. I decide what I do.

7. Resistance & Organisation

I’ve decided to fight. Together we’re stronger, so we must unite. Get everyone involved. Not only on the estate but all across London. We’re not alone. This is happening to all of us. And we must fight back! We know who the enemy is, so stop asking them to help us. Start helping ourselves. No more meetings with the council. No more doing what they tell us to do. This is where we live, and these are our homes. The politicians won’t help us. The press won’t help us. The middle classes won’t help us. God won’t help us. Only we can help us. We must build resistance, organise for the fight ahead. Because this is a war, and we need to win it.

Simon Elmer
Architects for Social Housing

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Illustration by Andrew Cooper

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