Home is where the Art is
Mar06

Home is where the Art is

‘Re:Home’ is Cressida Brown’s revisit and revision to her 2006 play, ‘Home’. This new version is set and performed in-situ at Waltham Forest’s infamous, and now demolished, Beaumont Estate high rise tower blocks.

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Libraries are for reading not knitting
Feb23

Libraries are for reading not knitting

By Elisabetta Gasparoni | 23 February 2016 The Carnegie Trust has created four databases to showcase library-run projects that contribute to public wellbeing. The databases accompany the trust’s leaflet, ‘Speaking Volumes’, which outlines how public libraries impact on four policy areas – the economy, education, culture and society – and how libraries contribute to the wellbeing of individuals and communities. The trust has given...

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The dangers of ‘resilience’
Jun22

The dangers of ‘resilience’

Maja Schwoerer | 22 June 2015 Maja Schwoerer reports on the Future Cities Salon debate at the Building Centre in London. The recent debate, Crisis is the New Normal: what is a Resilient City?, brought together an interesting panel of architects, journalists and sustainability experts. ‘Resilience’ is a buzzword sweeping the entire industry and seemingly provides solutions for everything – be it civil war in Damascus, floods in the...

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Britain after the riots

‘Out of the Ashes: Britain after the riots’ by David Lammy; Guardian Books, 2011. 272pp Reviewed by Jane Sandeman | 11 October 2012 The death of Mark Duggan in August last year was followed by four days of riots in London, and later Birmingham and Manchester. While many agreed that the riots were nihilistic, opportunistic ‘mugging’ on a large scale, there is also substantial disagreement as to the meaning of the riots and the reasons...

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Spare us from Community Engagement

By Dave Clements | 17 September 2012 What is the meaning of community today, and how it can be meaningfully engaged with? While there is no end of projects tasked with engaging communities, whether this is a meaningful activity or not is a moot point. Indeed, if we stopped trying to engage communities they might actually have a chance to breathe. To my mind, although there may be some well intentioned projects out there, all things...

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Ganging up on ‘Yoof’

Dave Clements | 23 February 2012 While they are, if claims coming out of last week’s summit are to be believed, to blame for the rise of al-Shabab in Somalia, the role of gangs in last summer’s riots was, at the very least, negligible. That much is acknowledged by pretty much everybody. It has even been reported that gang leaders called a truce during hostilities. Bless ’em. But still the government’s...

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Not the end of the world, says Blair

Dave Clements | 16 February 2007 “The UK is the worst place to grow up in the industrialised world” screamed the headlines, following the publication of UNICEF’s damning report. Added to the coincidence of an almost simultaneous bate of shootings in South London, commentators with their own particular spin on events, and state enforcers with a peculiar grasp on reality, were each whipped into a frenzy. Not only did...

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After the Riots: what makes a city?

Michael Owens  | 17 October 2011 The riots affected many places that have been the focus for urban regeneration and neighbourhood renewal. It’s a bitter pill for those of us in the business to swallow, but our efforts may have contributed to the problem rather than helped create the solution. Despite all the ‘New Deals’, engaged stakeholders, and ‘empowered’ communities, a significant proportion of our communities were prepared to...

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The housewife that changed the world?

‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’ by Jane Jacobs; Random House, 1961. 458pp Reviewed by Alastair Donald | 31 July 2011 “From this house in 1961, a housewife changed the world.” When she died in 2005, the tributes and flowers on the pavement outside Jacobs’ former flat in Greenwich Village suggested the high esteem in which she is held by many designers who see her as having played a pivotal role in altering how we...

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ESSAY: ‘The Big Society’ (or ‘Compulsory Voluntarism’)

Austin Williams | 24 July 2010 | Muslim Institute Summer Conference, Cardiff The Big Society is being promoted as the flagship government policy even though no-one seems to have the first idea what it means. Commentator, Simon Jenkins, writing in the Guardian has described it as ‘incomprehensibly vague’. Government minister, Francis Maude is quoted as saying that it is “an idea, not a plan” (ref 1); while...

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