The occupation outside St Paul’s is a week old and an offshoot has started up in Finsbury Square where there is plenty of room and no pesky priests quoting Health and Safety (!) and ding the bidding of their insurers. I have nothing special to say which others aren’t already saying. Penny Red doing well and also in the New Statesman, and the Occupation web site itself.
I went down yesterday and, getting off the bus at Bank, saw a crowd in the triangular plaza in front of the Royal Exchange. It turned out to be a ‘teach-out’ from the Occupation: a great idea. In this one John Christenson from the Tax Justice Network was doing his super-expert stuff on tax havens and avoidance. Had a large crowd gripped. Then along at St Paul’s some very cheery people, stickers, music, argumentation… Good age range, though with a missing middle as usual.
Had a friendly exchange of tweets with a radical knitter ‘Deadlyknitshade’ because I had her mouse on my screen last week and it formed the unintended background for a 0900 class at UCL. 0900 is bad enough, but the Victoria Line was playing up and many of us were late, with no breakfast. As I started stirring the porridge (that’s what the class felt like) I began to see some smiles. Looked round. Saw the picture and explained. It helped.
This started on 11 August as a cut-and-paste of correspondence and links about London riots which have seemed useful. I’ve continued adding more on the bottom end, until today 31st at least. Penny K points to the good material (including this image) on Critical Legal Thinking.
Wet July so the Euston Puddle is back. Last seen October 2010 – earlier chapters here. It seems just as bad as it was before I got Network Rail, TfL, the London Boorough of Camden and Skanska to sort it out. Do you suppose I have to mobilse them again each time it rains?
Good three days at a wrkshop meeting of the INURA network project on mapping cities all over the world in the framework of ‘New Metropolitan Mainstream’. The stuff is all (or mostly) at http://inura.org/nmm-blog/ Main purpose of this post is just to make available to people who were there a slide show I did one evening about the crisis in London. Here it is (9.2 MB) link. No direct text version of that talk yet but there is a more UK-oriented (as distinct from London-oriented) essay/text here.
A few things conspire to cheer me up, heralded by the new passenger lifts at Euston station which connect the tube station with street level. Like all recent lifts, it has a Voice announcing floors. Sometimes, in mid journey, this Voice says “remain calm; help is coming” before announcing the next floor. Then the Evening Standard last night had a banner headline “Don’t Panic” on a story about rising inflation and interest rates alongside falling incomes. Continue reading “Remain Calm / Don't Panic”
London Plan Examination in Public (EiP) opened Monday 28th and I postponed travelling to Inura to be there for the first part. I have trouble taking seriously those introductory bits of plans about ‘vision’ and ‘objectives’ but people less cynical than me got it going well and perhaps we made some impact on the Panel – pressing for more serious commitment to equality, social housing, ‘sustainable development’ (which now seems like quite a progressive demand, the orthodoxy having slipped so far to the right) and for taking the crisis seriously. Skilled stonewalling from the GLA team. We are trying to keep rough track of the events on Just Space blog. Then off to Inura’s 20th birthday meeting in Zürich where it all began. Continue reading “London Plan / Inura Zürich”
A week with a lot of stimulating events and exchanges, and no time to write them up and digest them. It was a good start when I returned feedback on 45 essays – which had taken me ages to prepare and was a great weight off my mind. I get faster at most things but slower at that.
Then on Monday evening the LSE had a seminar by Ian Gordon – very stimulating and data-rich as usual – in which he was trying to work out why London has such high levels of worklessness. Part of the concentration of worklessness is, of course, an illusion Continue reading “Going too fast…”
Last night the proposers of a major new medical research centre at Brill Place (King’s Cross St Pancras) showed their scheme at a meeting called by Camden Council in Somers Town, the adjoining district. There is huge conflict about this project because the site has long been earmarked for a mix of activty including social housing and community facilities, none of which could be built if the research centre goes ahead. It was a fraught, tense, meeting at times with objectors expressng variously frustration, impotence and rage while the proponents were very civilised and rather peeved to be seen as anything other than battling for the public interest. It tells us a lot about the balance of power in urban decision making, the weakness of the planning system and the transformation of democratic local govenment into a neutered facilitator of the city’s transformation. This is a quick short note to capture some reactions and I may expand it later. Continue reading “Medical research v social housing: UKCMRI”
After a lot of lobbying and a defeat at Newham’s Development Control Committee, local residents and traders are delighted that London’s new (and conservative) Mayor Boris Johnston has used his powers to REJECT the council/St Modwen proposals to replace the Queen’s Market with a new market + a lot of shops + a very dense residential development. The campaigns had been opposing the scheme because of the risks it would pose to the viability and cheapness of the market, and also because the housing scheme was only 14% ‘affordable’ housing. Boris has rejected the scheme because he regards a 30+ storey tower as inappropriate for the area. But a victory is a victory and there is great jubilation. More on their web site http://www.friendsofqueensmarket.org.uk