A Neighbourhood So Exclusive it's Empty

This NY Times article describes the crazy expensive region of London, Belgravia, where despite containing thoroughly sought after property, no one is using it. "Almost no one seemed to be coming home. Perhaps half the windows were dark."

What has happened in Belgravia? Well this cartoon sums it up pretty simply; owners and tenants are displaced by 'international oligarchs who don't actually bother to live there'.  The properties are bought up by the mega rich, who have several other properties, so only live there some of the time, contributing to the emptiness of these areas.

What I think is interesting about this, is that is adds an extra step to the gentrification cycle - a transition from 'bankers' (read high socioeconomic status) to 'international oligarchs' (read international, super high socioeconomic status). It highlights a really strange scenario where the most sought after places to live can become places where people do not actually live.  Looks like such a swish area, with beautiful squares, close to parks, and a great central location - with so many underused properties, I wonder if anyone over that way needs a house sitter?

Read more here. See the cartoon here.

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