It is reprehensible of the City of London Corporation to treat Hampstead Heath as a cash cow to be milked to cross-subsidise the financial Square Mile. Even worse, to suggest charging for the use of its ponds for swimming and bathing, when the fundamental purpose of the 1871 Hampstead Heath Act is to ensure that the Heath remains freely open to Londoners and unenclosed by gates or charges. Unfortunately, myopic bookkeepers in the Guildhall, lack the vision to understand an existing obligation from a new one and the relative importance of the legacy of Hampstead Heath. Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Over the past few weeks the Talk Culture Mile series of events in the City has demonstrated the exclusionary nature of this project, with the aim being to bring ‘together organisations from across all sectors’ while not inviting the main stakeholders, local residents. So while the Improving Social Mobility Through Creative Skills talk was held at Golden Lane Community Centre on 4 July 2019, no one involved troubled themselves to notify tenants on the council estate that houses the venue of this event, since it seems the idea is to leave the organisation of social mobility to professionals – who we assume are mostly interested in preserving their own privileges by holding back the working class. The fact this talk was intended for people unfamiliar with the area rather than local residents was underlined by the leaflet promoting it carrying the following information after the venue’s address: “The community centre is opposite Great Arthur House, EC1Y 0RD”. Local people know where the community centre is.Read more "City of London Attempts To Flatten All Opposition To Culture Mile Gentrification and Social Exclusion"
Two weeks ago the government published its first ever housing delivery test – which assesses how many homes have been built by every local authority over the past three years as a percentage of the number required. More than 100 town halls fell short of the 95% pass rate, while those with the biggest delivery gaps could face having some planning powers removed next year unless they step up supply. Seven councils are currently missing the 45% threshold which would trigger that scenario, including two London boroughs and the City of London Corporation…Read more "City Should Use The Museum of London Site To Build Social Housing"
A few weeks after the mid-January release of plans for Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s dog’s dinner of a Centre For Music building on the site of the current Museum of London, comes news of an ambitious project to build a new classical music venue in Wimbledon (part of the Borough of Merton) in south-west London. Since there is already a concert hall in The Barbican Arts Centre, and another a few minutes away in the form of LSO St Luke’s on Old Street, it is clearly pointless building yet another classical music hangout within easy walking distance of these two existing auditoriums. What many local people want is more social housing, so why not use the Museum of London site to deliver the council flats the City of London has promised but so far failed to build?Read more "Stuff The City of London’s Centre For Music! If We Need A New Classical Concert Hall Build It In Merton!"
Overtourism occurs when there are too many visitors to a particular destination. “Too many” is subjective but it can be defined in different destinations by key stakeholders; and in the case of residential areas such as Cripplegate it is the needs of local residents that should be prioritised. When rent rises push out local retailers to make room for bars, restaurants and shops selling luxury goods and trinkets to tourists, that is overtourism. When you can’t get around because walkways are jammed with sightseers and visitors attending middle-brow ‘art’ events, that is overtourism. When tourists cannot view landmarks or transient cultural manifestations because of the crowds, when fragile ensembles of listed buildings become degraded, when street art is being commissioned by the local authority and covered with Perspex to protect it, when there are huge signs installed on walls to inform passersby about public art, when accommodation for key workers is replaced by luxury apartments aimed at property investors who’ll leave them empty and bank on a overheated housing market to reap them a profit – these are all signs of overtourism, as well as gentrification and social cleansing. And these are all things currently happening in Cripplegate and Aldersgate and which the City of London’s Culture Mile strategy is designed to exacerbate.Read more "Cripplegate Is Not Disneyland! Stop Culture Mile Overtourism!"
Rather than exposing the City of London as the UK’s last rotten borough and exploring the area’s often disreputable history – the racist tropes cooked up by Protestant bigots in Grub Street, the violence and extra-legal activity around the Shrieval Election of 1682, or the notorious bawdy houses of Cripplegate etc. etc. – the Culture Mile has to date consisted of the super-bland artwashing. Instead of the proposed Centre of Music being built on the current Museum of London site, we’d rather see housing for refugees. Likewise there is already a huge daily footfall of visitors in the Culture Mile area and seeking to increase this will make life worse for its residents. Tourists aren’t wanted and nor are retail outlets selling overpriced goods to sightseers either.Read more "Culture Mile: Tourists Go Home – Refugees Welcome!"
The history of Grub Street is far more complex than the cartoon version deployed by those using despicable poverty chic to brand their corporate hospitality operations at the Grubstreet Author. There is still much poverty in the extensive social housing immediately to the north of The Grubstreet Author, and a considerable number of people who are Irish or of Irish descent in the immediate area. The anti-Irish hate spewed out by Grub Street is something The Brewery should show more sensitivity towards. We suggest it renames its new venture after one of the victims of Bloody Sunday, when 14 unarmed civilians were murdered in cold blood by British soldiers on 30 January 1972 – and as many again were shot but survived. Grub Street racism helped fuel and justify endless British massacres in Ireland, including those overseen by Oliver Cromwell. It should go without saying we’d also like to see the City of London owned Cromwell Tower – just off Chiswell Street – renamed Devlin Tower, in honour of the politician and Irish civil right activist Bernadette Devlin McAliskey.Read more "Grubstreet Author: Corporate Hospitality & Poverty Chic"