London’s Latin Quarter

London’s Latin Quarter is here to stay!

Latin Quarter Vision - Cover Page - Feb2015

The Latin Quarter: Elephant and Castle Community Vision, published by Latin Elephant is the first report to capture the perspective of the Latin American community of retailers at Elephant and Castle, London. Elephant and Castle (EC) is home to the largest Latin American business cluster in London with four core concentrations and more than 80 shops.

Elephant and Castle is undergoing an ambitious programme of urban redevelopment. The regeneration of EC presents challenges and opportunities for London’s Latin population but the improvements are welcomed within the LA community if their sustainability and future presence can be supported.

The LA community have demonstrated adaptability, flexibility and resilience over the last 20 years to make EC the vibrant place that it is today. With the appropriate measures in place the community will continue to thrive, grow and attract new visitors to the area.

The opportunity to create a truly vibrant Latin Quarter in London is unique. Latin Elephant is providing opportunities for Latin Americans to participate in the process of urban change in what is now a key design and planning stage at EC.

The report presents a series of projects and strategies that could be implemented together or separately in order to address the current needs of the community and look towards the future.

You can find a link to the report here: https://www.facebook.com/Latinelephant

It is also available in Latin Elephant’s web page: www.latinelephant.org by clicking this link: http://latinelephant.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Draft-report-Jan-2015.pdf

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London’s Latin Quarter is Here!

Our Latin Quarter Workshop on 19 November gathered Latin American retailers and organisations from Elephant and Castle with representatives from Southwark Council, Delancey and Lend Lease to discuss ideas about how Elephant and Castle can continue to be a Latin quarter after the regeneration process.

Using as starting point the fact that Elephant and Castle already is a Latin Quarter, the workshop explored ideas so that the Latin Quarter is not lost as a result of the regeneration process and transcend from the Latin American community to attract tourists and British customers.

The key issues discussed in the workshop were identity, public space, community, connectivity and access. The attendees explored ideas and projects like Latin American art, murals along the railway arches, as well as the celebration of food and Latin American products through a street market. Similar cases are Banglatown in Brick Lane; Maltby Street where the railway arches were refurbished; and Little Italy in New York.

Latin quarter workshop 1

Photo: Ingrid Guyon

The workshop engaged in a dialogue with retailers to listen to their needs and aspirations for the Latin American Quarter; highlighting the contribution of Latin businesses to Elephant and the need to make its presence more visible; given that the regeneration of the area represents challenges and opportunities for the Latin Quarter.

The ideas gathered during the workshop are the base for a future consultation with the wider community and for a feasibility study. The results of the feasibility study will be presented to Southwark Council who sponsored this project through the High Street Challenge grant, awarded to Latin Elephant.

Key results from a survey done by Latin Elephant during the last weeks to the retailers, concluded that Elephant and castle is home to 80 Latin American independent businesses in four zones: Elephant Road, the Shopping Centre, Eagle’s Yard and Draper’s House. Women play an active role in enterprise within the Latin community; some businesses are husband/wife joint ownership and 80% of respondents reported customers were mostly or entirely Latino.

Photo: Ingrid Guyon

Latin Elephant works for the integration and recognition of Latin Americans in regeneration initiatives in London; facilitating and encouraging links between enterprises and community initiatives; as well as highlighting migrant and ethnic enterprises contribution to London’s diverse economies and spaces.

Photo by Ingrid Guyon

Photo by Ingrid Guyon

Photo by Ingrid Guyon

Photo by Ingrid Guyon

Photo credit: All photos by Ingrid Guyon

Migrant ethnic economies and urban regeneration in London

Is there space for alternative migrant and ethnic economies in a regenerated London? By Patria Roman-Velazquez, Latin Elephant.
London for All: opening up debate on London’s economy (14 July 2014)