Cooler than you

Hipsters are the driving force behind rapid gentrification across the UK’s major urban centres, according to Michele Wietscher, director of Newview Windows & Conservatories.

Previously undesirable parts of cities are being given a new lease of life, with run-down apartment blocks, offices and chain-stores giving way to craft beer drinking dens, trendy apartments, creative industry hubs, and even boutique cereal restaurants.

Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh are touted as the hipster hotspots, with hipsters taking advantage of depressed prices in derelict areas of these cities, turning previous no-go zones into the hottest property in the city.

This is attracting the attention of housing developers and local councils as it offers new opportunities for commercial and residential regeneration projects.

“The blossoming hipster micro-communities are making a big impact on urban environments,” Michele said. “They want the hip, young vibe that creates value and brings increased jobs, improved housing and safer neighbourhoods.

“The hipster culture is changing the way houses are developed and built. Hipsters are ethical, sustainable and mobile so their habitats and surroundings must be as well. There is also a focus on aesthetic – everything stylised as ultra-modern and minimalist or shabby chic and repurposed. It’s creating opportunities for developers.”

Hipsters brand themselves as socialists who are not looking to build an empire but to make a living by crafting and creating. The irony, Michelle pointed out, is that those most benefitting from these creative hubs aren’t the young hipsters, but the local councils, landlords and property developers.

However, there is a deeper underlying problem of the gentrification of our cities, that newcomers with more money are crowding out older residents.

“These new up and coming communities are driving up housing prices in the area, meaning previous tenants are now unable to afford property in the area,” Michelle said. “The argument in London is that how can you justify selling expensive, boutique products and services when people down the road can’t even afford the basics?

“And hipsters aren’t just staying in one place. The will move on, developing new potential sites for capital investment, and so the cycle of gentrification starts over again.”