The Docklands have connected the regional and local to the global 'outside' since their beginning, as the marine gateway to London. Within a few centuries, they became the largest port in the world and ultimately became redundant within only a few decades. Although the docks are no longer used for their original purpose, the area is still defined by connectivity to the 'outside'. Although some industry remains along the riverside, the main asset of the Royal Docks is to the development of the Thames Gateway and as a space for further connectivity to the CBD as well as business centres elsewhere in Europe. There is a noticeable emphasis on infrastructural renewal as catalyst for redeveloping and shaping the perception of the area.
Walls and borders define the lived space and are important in understanding the ways the docks have been appropriated since the 1980s. The railway passes, at points, literally over the existing infrastructure. Consequently infrastructural renewal has created new ways of inclusion as well as exclusion. Transport links have made new development viable and integrated the area into the urban fabric . But as a result the population is being reconstituted, as 'yuppies' move into the previously working-class area, giving rise to various claims of authenticity.
The process to retain a certain identity, both local and national, can be seen in displays of signs and symbols in the fronts of houses and estates, especially in the already established neighbourhoods. These visual implants both serve romanticised concepts, of past and future, and as such represent the 'dual' aspect of city space in the midst of a class-based struggle.
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