London's position as one of the world's great creative centres is based on an embrace of diversity. Our art, music, fashion, film and design take their inspiration from the huge distinctions of race, class, income, nationality, language, food and accent that make the city unique. Difference is our wealth. It's what makes this city so restless and dynamic, so strange, rich and beautiful.But as London increasingly becomes a place for an economic elite it risks losing what is most exciting about its identity. We can see this most explicitly in the way that flats in Shoreditch and Hackney and Peckham are too costly for the students and young artists that turned those neighbourhoods into creative hotspots in the first place. In how £9,000 tuition fees at colleges like Central St Martins makes applying for fashion or design courses a daunting prospect for poorer students. In how the preference for trophy artworks by the likes of Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons among the collectors who jet into Frieze each year comes to define what's on show in the capital's galleries.Of course, there's always been a tension in the city between the haves and the have-nots. And art tends to find its way even, sometimes especially, in times of adversity.But a city like Berlin feels more alive and cosmopolitan than London right now because it has nurtured, not overlooked, its creatives. And by comparison our capital feels increasingly bland, increasingly homogenised, as though it is losing its soul.
Source: The Guardian