council estate

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April 2 2015 - Housing activists pull down fences surrounding Aylesbury estate, London, England. Southwark council spent £140,000 building a massive ‘Berlin Wall-style’ metal-spiked fence around a housing estate in south London. The Council splashed £200 per metre on the 8ft-high, 700 metre-long eyesore surrounding four blocks on the Aylesbury Estate.Council bosses, who have been facing protests over the estate’s planned demolition, claimed the hoarding was put up for the safety of residents.But residents told the Standard they were furious about being penned in behind the wall and left with only one access point to their homes, manned by private security.

Residents at the Aylesbury Estate are losing their homes in a deal between the local authority and Notting Hill Housing (NHH). Southwark call it regeneration, the residents call it social cleansing. They claim they are being pressured into accepting below market rate and risk being priced out of the area. 

The gradual removal of social housing (and its residents) in favour of building more flats for offshore investors increasingly points toward eradicating the mixed communities London has always had. The most important question councils should be asking is who benefits from this regeneration? If the residents come pretty low down that list, surely a rethink is needed.

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I like to discover different layers of the urban environment. Every one of them is representing a particular period in the history of the city and shows us its constantly changing character and boundaries. 

As you can see from this photograph and from the many previous ones I am interested in post-war modernist architecture - especially in public housing buildings. I will write more specifically about this aspect of the project in the future. 

I am happy to say that my interest in the modernist buildings is correlating with the research on Aberdeen for “The Grey City” project. In the 70’s majority of the city council’s and architects in Britain drastically changed their approach to high-rise flats and rejected them for many reasons. 

“Only one large municipality in the UK - the City of Aberdeen - managed to bypass completely the political and professional rejection of high flats, and carry on building them right until the very end of public housebuilding on any significant scale in Britain" 

Source: 

Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius (1994). Tower Block; Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Hong Kong: Yale University Press. p322.

Seaton, Aberdeen, Scotland.

From "The Grey City” project

© Blazej Marczak 

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