Elephant and Castle shopping centre was the lifeblood of the Latin American community in south London. Latin Elephant, where I have been a trustee for 7 years, has been fighting for almost a decade for the rights of the traders and local residents in face of the redevelopment. The report was an attempt to record and reflect on the initiatives of the organisation over the years, especially in response to the more recent effects of COVID-19.Professor Cathy McIlwaine, Professor of Development Geography and Vice Dean (Research), Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy
22 March 2021
Supporting migrant and ethnic economies through regeneration in London
The Department of Geography has supported Latin Elephant's report on supporting migrant groups through the closure of Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre
After 55 years, Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre closed its doors in September 2020.
Elephant and Castle, in King’s home borough of Southwark, is a focal point for London’s Latin American community. Latin American retailers set up businesses in the shopping centre from the early 1990s, helping the area become known as one of London’s ‘Latin Quarters’.
The Department of Geography at King’s supported research and data collection for Latin Elephant’s recent report on supporting migrant and ethnic economies through regeneration in London.
Supporting migrant and ethnic economies throughout regeneration in London records insights from Latin Elephant's struggle to ensure that traders were not ignored during the process of closing the shopping centre. It was co-authored by Professor Cathy McIlwaine, Professor of Development Geography and Vice Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy.
The report offers lessons learned into the processes of advocating for fair regeneration processes. It also considers the role of research, community activism and protest in social and spatial justice around gentrification in London.
London-based charity Latin Elephant promotes participation, engagement, and inclusion of migrant and ethnic groups, and in particular Latin Americans, in the process of urban change. It supports BAME traders, residents and workers, and worked in partnership with local organisations to mitigate the effects of the closure of the shopping centre.
'Elephant and Castle shopping centre was the lifeblood of the Latin American community in south London', said Professor McIlwaine. 'Latin Elephant, established by Dr Patria Roman Velasquez and where I have been a trustee for 7 years, has been fighting for almost a decade for the rights of the traders and local residents in face of the redevelopment.
'The report was an attempt to record and reflect on the initiatives of the organisation over the years, especially in response to the more recent effects of COVID-19. Although the shopping centre has closed, the work of the organisation continues. I am privileged to be part of Latin Elephant and look forward to forging ahead with our work on challenging the injustices of regeneration in the city into the future,' she said.
At King’s, we know that working closely with people and organisations in our home boroughs not only adds value to research and education, but also to the communities around us. The Department of Geography’s work with Latin Elephant is an excellent example of this in practice, with clear and demonstrable benefits flowing from the strong community relationships, through grassroots research, partnerships with local organisations, as well as trusteeship opportunities.Baroness Deborah Bull, Vice President and Principal (London)
Find out more about Professor McIlwaine’s research on Latin Americans in London.