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Housing estates: if they aren’t broken…

Lambeth council in south London wants to knock down the beautifully designed 1960s Central Hill estate. Trouble is, there isn’t very much wrong with it

Once upon a time, from the 1950s to the 70s, local authorities knocked down swaths of Victorian terraces on the basis that they were slums, and replaced them with up-to-the-moment, well-appointed, technically advanced slabs and towers. It seemed like a good idea at the time, because the slums seemed so very terrible, but it came to be recognised as a colossal mistake. Those terraces had qualities that had been overlooked in the rush to destroy them, and many of their problems were more to do with maintenance and plumbing than the basic design of the houses. Where there were social issues, these were not much to do with the bricks and mortar, and so were not solved by putting them into different architecture. And those demonised streets contained communities and networks of support that were ripped apart by demolition and rebuilding.

How foolish, we now know, how very very foolish. Such mistakes could not possibly be made again. Except, as the campaign group Architects for Social Housing argues, they are. This time it is the estates that replaced those Victorian streets that are being destroyed. It turns out that, if some of these estates are as bad as myth has it, others were thoughtfully and beautifully designed, whose problems, if any, are often due to their being poorly looked after by the local authorities who own them. And they are people’s homes, places where residents have lived for decades, raised families, made friends, formed attachments to people and place.

Continue reading…


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from Network Front | The Guardian http://ift.tt/1nwgorZ
- Bonsoni
Housing estates: if they aren’t broken…

Lambeth council in south London wants to knock down the beautifully designed 1960s Central Hill estate. Trouble is, there isn’t very much wrong with it

Once upon a time, from the 1950s to the 70s, local authorities knocked down swaths of Victorian terraces on the basis that they were slums, and replaced them with up-to-the-moment, well-appointed, technically advanced slabs and towers. It seemed like a good idea at the time, because the slums seemed so very terrible, but it came to be recognised as a colossal mistake. Those terraces had qualities that had been overlooked in the rush to destroy them, and many of their problems were more to do with maintenance and plumbing than the basic design of the houses. Where there were social issues, these were not much to do with the bricks and mortar, and so were not solved by putting them into different architecture. And those demonised streets contained communities and networks of support that were ripped apart by demolition and rebuilding.

How foolish, we now know, how very very foolish. Such mistakes could not possibly be made again. Except, as the campaign group Architects for Social Housing argues, they are. This time it is the estates that replaced those Victorian streets that are being destroyed. It turns out that, if some of these estates are as bad as myth has it, others were thoughtfully and beautifully designed, whose problems, if any, are often due to their being poorly looked after by the local authorities who own them. And they are people’s homes, places where residents have lived for decades, raised families, made friends, formed attachments to people and place.

Central Hill drapes itself over its topography, creating both moments of drama and quiet enclaves

Central Hill is accused of failings it doesn’t have because it is of a type to which these failings are usually ascribed

Continue reading…
Housing estates: if they aren’t broken…

Lambeth council in south London wants to knock down the beautifully designed 1960s Central Hill estate. Trouble is, there isn’t very much wrong with it

Once upon a time, from the 1950s to the 70s, local authorities knocked down swaths of Victorian terraces on the basis that they were slums, and replaced them with up-to-the-moment, well-appointed, technically advanced slabs and towers. It seemed like a good idea at the time, because the slums seemed so very terrible, but it came to be recognised as a colossal mistake. Those terraces had qualities that had been overlooked in the rush to destroy them, and many of their problems were more to do with maintenance and plumbing than the basic design of the houses. Where there were social issues, these were not much to do with the bricks and mortar, and so were not solved by putting them into different architecture. And those demonised streets contained communities and networks of support that were ripped apart by demolition and rebuilding.

How foolish, we now know, how very very foolish. Such mistakes could not possibly be made again. Except, as the campaign group Architects for Social Housing argues, they are. This time it is the estates that replaced those Victorian streets that are being destroyed. It turns out that, if some of these estates are as bad as myth has it, others were thoughtfully and beautifully designed, whose problems, if any, are often due to their being poorly looked after by the local authorities who own them. And they are people’s homes, places where residents have lived for decades, raised families, made friends, formed attachments to people and place.

Continue reading…

from Network Front | The Guardian http://ift.tt/1WUv54l