Elephant & Castle is a bit of a work in progress. The multi-lane double roundabout has already been extensively redesigned, making it easier to cross on foot and much less of an eyesore. By 2025, more than 3,000 new homes should have been built, a proportion of them affordable housing. As one community is unceremoniously broken up and shipped out, others are taking hold. Transient sites and condemned spaces spawn community gardens, makeshift galleries and temporary container parks. With two major universities at its heart – London College of Communication and Southbank University – Elephant & Castle is a very studenty area, with nightclubs like Corsica Studios and the world famous Ministry of Sound and a fair few bars. The recent addition of Mercato Metropolitano, an Italian market attracting loads of middle-class foodies, shows how gentrification is finally overhauling this once-overlooked corner of SE1. South London’s Colombian community also converges on the area, filling numerous South American cafés that populate the unloved shopping centre.
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