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I’ve always loved London, but I’m worried coronavirus could mean death for the city

There’s every sign that big cities will become places where only the very rich and the very poor live, in carefully separated ghettos. The pandemic has hastened this process, writes Janet Street-Porter

Friday 24 April 2020 19:19 BST
Fatal blow? Tourists won’t be returning anytime soon
Fatal blow? Tourists won’t be returning anytime soon (Reuters)

I’m proud of my heritage, born in inner London to parents who had lived through the Blitz. They couldn’t wait to flee to the dreary outer suburbs as soon as they could afford a small house with a garden, whereas my birthplace has been the source of joy and (of course) frustration, providing inspiration, and constant cultural nourishment.

I’ve always worked and lived at its heart – but the lockdown has provided isolation and the headspace to re-evaluate. As a child, I would almost cry with joy the moment my train from compulsory visits to relatives in Wales trundled into London and I could see the backs of houses next to the tracks, the dark, damp earth in their tiny back gardens. That feeling has never gone away.

Post-coronavirus, though, will city living go out of fashion, not just for me, but for thousands of others? Social distancing might be in force until next year – no concerts, plays, or communal activities.

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