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商业街 陌生的城市



High streets

商业街

Strange town

陌生的城市

Why some streets in London stay resolutely the same

为何伦 敦仍执拗地保持部分街道不变样

KENTISH TOWN ROAD is a humdrum high street in north London. It contains pawnbrokers, pound shops, hairdressers and some long-in-the-tooth hardware stores. Unlike Camden Town to the south, full of bars and tattoo parlours, or Hampstead to the west, with its bistros and boutique clothing shops, little seems to have changed on the street for the past three decades. “It's never quite got going,” admits Gary McLaren, a local bookseller. Yet the lack of change is odd—and hints at some of the strangeness of London.

肯特镇路(KENTISH TOWN ROAD)是伦敦 北部的一条颇显乏味的街道。这这条街上有当铺、一磅店(像中国的一元店)、理发店 和一些古老的五金店。不似南 部尽是酒吧和纹身店的卡登姆镇和西部满是夜总会与精品服饰店的汉普斯蒂德,30年来肯 特镇路似乎并无改变。当地的一位书店老板Gary McLaren 坦诚,“它从未真正改变。”但是欠 缺改变是如此之怪异—而且这 暗示了伦敦的些许陌生感。


Kentish Town has excellent transport links to central London, and plenty of residents prepared to pay good money for that. Off the high street stretch rows of pretty Victorian terraced houses, which sell for as much as 2m ($3m) apiece. Between 2007 and 2014 property prices in the postcode area surrounding the main Tube and railway station more than doubled. An influx of French parents, drawn by a school that opened in 2011, is pushing prices even higher. Yet Kentish Town's shops and cafes are almost invariably untrendy and in some cases mouldering. A hair salon, a butcher and a sportswear shop have each been owned by the same men for more than a quarter of a century. Why?

肯特镇 通向伦敦市中心交通便利,还拥有 众多愿意支付交通费的居民。距主干街不远,目之所 及尽是铺陈开来的一排排维多利亚式排屋,这些房 子售价每栋房屋200万欧元(合300万美金)。在2007至2014年间,在主要 的地铁站和火车站附近的房价都翻了一倍不止。一所于2011年开放 的学校吸引了大批法国父母,这些法 国父母的涌入也促使房价的再升高。然而肯 特镇的商店和咖啡馆几乎一直都是那个价,有时候价格还会下跌。一间发廊、一间肉 铺和一间运动服装店,同一店 主可以拥有这其中一间店铺超过25年。这是为什么?

One explanation is that, in common with other parts of London, Kentish Town has lots of social housing as well as costly Victorian terraces. Camden Council, the local authority, is building even more in the borough. This helps cheaper shops survive, suggests Tony Travers of the London School of Economics: council tenants are less likely to drive and so rely more on local outlets. And the sheer volume of car and lorry traffic on the busy high street, which is a main road into the city, might deter shoppers from visiting and swanky businesses from setting up in the area.

一种解释是,与伦敦 的其他地区一样,肯特镇 有许多的社会住房(指由住 房协会和地方市政会提供的廉租房或廉价房)和高价 的维多利亚式排屋。伦敦卡姆登地方议会(地方当局)甚至在自治市(享有自治特权的市镇)建造更多这样的房屋。伦敦经济学院的Tony Travers表示,这样有 助于更廉价的店铺存活下来:那些社 会租房的租户的购买力收效甚微,所以更 多的还是依赖于当地商铺。在繁忙的主干街(通向市中心的主街)上,汽车总 量和货车流量很可能遏制了顾客对商店的光顾,也阻止 了一流企业在此处的设立开办。

Demography plays a part, too. Fully 72% of the population of Kentish Town is white, including a good number of Irish residents—higher than the proportion in London as a whole, at 60%. Unlike the high streets around Peckham and Brixton in south London, which cater for African shoppers who may travel far to reach them, few specialist shops draw people to Kentish Town. “We're not a destination high street,” sighs one local trader.

人口结 构也是很大一部分原因。肯特镇有近72%的人都是白人,其中大 部分是爱尔兰居民(比伦敦 的爱尔兰总人口还要多)—这比伦敦总人口的60%还多。不像伦 敦南部的佩卡姆和布里斯顿附近的街道那样,为了迎 合那些专门为来到这些这里的非洲顾客而设立的商店,这里几 乎没有独特的店铺足以吸引人们来到肯特镇。肯特的一位商人感叹,“我们的 街道并不是顾客的目的地。”

NIMBYs have not always helped. Lots of civic groups are active in the area, campaigning against late licences and the like, says Dan Carrier of the Camden New Journal, a newspaper. A local business association is also good at complaining. Partly because of this, a big supermarket has not yet opened on the high street—though Lidl, a discounter, will set up shop this year. “We quite like that it is rough around the edges,” says Michael Williams, a writer and local.

邻避效应(not in my back yard,指居民 或当地单位因担心建设项目带来诸多负面影响,从而激 发人们的嫌恶情结,滋生“不要建在我家后院”的心理,及采取 的强烈和坚决的、有时高 度情绪化的集体反对甚至抗争行为。)并不一直都起作用。该地区 的许多公民组织是很活跃的,他们常 反对老旧的许可证这类事物,来自卡姆登新日报(Camden New Journal)的Dan Carrier说道。当地的 一个工商协会也很擅长这种控诉。在一定 程度上出于这种原因,一家大 型超市都未能在这条街上开张—即使是将在今年开业Lidl(一间德 国的连锁超级市场,在全球拥有超过8000间分店。)当地作家Michael Williams说,“我们的 确喜欢在边缘徘徊,不入大流。”

Paradoxically, soaring house prices in the area might be another brake on change. Wealthy family buyers mean that some houses once split into flats have been turned back into homes, says Mr Carrier. The result is fewer shoppers on the high street. Wealthy residents are more likely to get their groceries online or drive to bigger stores. And most will go out to the West End rather than a local restaurant.

相反的是,该地区 飞涨的房价可能是改变的另一个阻碍。Carrier表示,那些富 裕家庭的买主意味着曾被隔成公寓的房屋已被变回原来的大房子。结果便 是街道上越来越少的顾客。富裕的 居民更可能在线购物或是开车去大商店。而且其 中的大多数人会去伦敦西区(the West End)而不是当地的餐厅。

Such “counter-currents” will prevent Kentish Town from gentrifying fully, suggests Gillian Tindall, a local historian. And they affect many other streets in London, too. Lupus Street in Pimlico serves a large council block on one side and white stucco houses on the other. Caledonian Road in Islington, close to rapidly-changing King's Cross, is still full of kebab shops. London is a global city, but it is also a collection of villages, cranky and resistant to change.

当地的一位历史学家Gillian Tindall表示,这般“逆流现象”将完全 阻止肯特镇的区域贵族化。而且他 们还影响了伦敦的很多其他街道。例如皮姆利科的Lupus街,一边提供社会住房,另一边 就有高档的白色粉刷住宅。伊斯灵 顿的古苏格兰路(Caledonian Road,临近不断改变的国王十字火车站)仍旧满是烤肉店。伦敦是 一个全球化城市,但是它 也是一个村落的集合而且它古怪又固执的拒绝改变。


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