Movement for Liveable London Street Talks - Anna Minton 6th March 2012


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March 2012 Street Talks

Anna Minton, author of Ground Control – Fear and happiness in the twenty-first century city

Brought to you by Movement for Liveable London -

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Movement for Liveable London Street Talks - Anna Minton 6th March 2012

  1. 1. Ground Control: Fear &Happiness in the 21st Century City Movement for Liveable London 6.3.12 Anna Minton
  2. 2. My work• Writer, journalist, researcher, consultant• Ground Control, published by Penguin, 2009 – New edition wt chapter on the Olympics Jan 2012• Contributor to The Guardian• Consultant to policy organisations & think tanks, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, RIBA
  3. 3. Changing context• Conceived in a boom – Gloomy outlook• Completed in a bust – Note of cautious optimism re. alternatives• New chapter written in 2011, three years after financial crisis – Not only business as usual but more extreme
  4. 4. Key themes• Post industrial opportunity & the new economy• Polarisation & the two speed economy• What is regeneration?• Debt-fuelled property finance – ‘The architecture of boom and bust’• Identity, homogenisation & sterility• Exclusion & inclusion• Culture of fear and crime complex in contemporary society – Created by lack of trust & cohesion
  5. 5. The Privatised City
  6. 6. The privatised city• Two models, which overlap• Privately owned places – Template for all new regeneration on Canary Wharf model – Liverpool One, Highcross in Leicester, Cabot Circus• Privately managed places – Business Improvement Districts on US model • Key principle ‘clean and safe’
  7. 7. The economic model• Economic model: ‘property-led’ or ‘retail-led’ regeneration• Underpinned by debt• Different idea of the city, place as a product, not democratic, segregates into enclaves• Main aim keep property prices & land values high rather than ‘common good’, ‘public good’ – reflected in planning legislation• Privatising streets & public places is new: only last 10-15 years• Private investment does not require private ownership of the streets
  8. 8. Policy backdrop• Compulsory Purchase powers create 170 ares Stratford City; Liverpool 43 hectares• Supreme Court Kelo V London similar• Removed ‘public good’ from legislation
  9. 9. Private control: management• Business Improvement Districts on US model• Businesses pay levy to Bid company• Key principle: ‘Clean and safe’• US controversial: undermining local democracy, representing local businesses not elected representatives• UK barely questioned
  10. 10. ‘Clean and safe’• Who wouldn’t want the city to be clean and safe?• A good narrative but not so simple• From New York guidelines• Visible, uniformed private security,CCTV• Marketing, branding, ‘importing excitement’ – Critics: themed, fake, disneyfied, lack diversity & spontaneity• Pristine cleanliness – ‘to the standards of any office lobby’• Can clean out the people and create soulless feeling – Joseph Rowntree public space research: lingering, doing nothing
  11. 11. A controlled environment• Conditional access – Private property• Rules & regulations – No cycling, skateboarding, photographs, filming, political protest• Enforced by security – Uniformed guards, CCTV, defensible architecture
  12. 12. Solutions are part of the problem• Crime paradox: crime down, fear up• Method addressing fear creates more fear• Defensible space in wealthiest and poorest places – gated communities, all social housing, private guards, wardens• 4.2 million CCTV cameras, most in all of Europe, growth private security Mosquitos, Drones• Stop & Search
  13. 13. Fear, trust and happiness• Growing obsession with safety and security that comes with private places actually creates more fearful places• Removes personal and collective responsibility• Undermines ‘natural surveillance’ and dilutes trust• Fear of crime does not correlate with actual crime• But does correlate with trust• Eg Denmark: same levels of crime, shown by European Crime and Safety Survey to be a consequence of urbanisation, large population young people & binge drinking culture• But Denmark also happiest country in the world, low levels of fear
  14. 14. Implications for protest• Protest not allowed• Eg. Occupy LSX banned from Paternoster Square• The reason why they went to St Paul’s• Rest of the City is privately owned• Process which began with ‘big bang’ & de- regulation of finance• Canary Wharf & Broadgate• Spread, template for all regeneration
  15. 15. The future?• Architecture of boom & bust• Not the architecture of austerity• Economic rationale for debt based model collapsed• Opportunity?• ‘Business as usual’• The Olympics
  16. 16. The Olympics• Organisors claim legacy of 1851 & 1951• But no public legacy: entirely private• Westfield Stratford City• Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – Not a royal park• Sold off piecemeal• Wellcome Trust proposals rejected
  17. 17. Economic legacy• Project based on private sector ability to borrow money• Budget soars to £9.3bn - £5.7bn more• Crash led to government bailout• House of Commons public accounts committee reveals private sector provided just 2% budget!• Who wins? Lendlease & Westfield – Lendlease unable to find money, gov employs them
  18. 18. Ethical Olympics pledge• Pledge on jobs, skills & housing signed by Seb Coe, GLA & LDA 2004• In return London Citizens back the bid• After the bid ODA refuse to acknowledge pledge on grounds that – ‘it is illegal to dictate the terms of a bid won under open tender• Pledges including £2m construction training academy & local jobs not met
  19. 19. Affordable housing• Pledge half 3,000 homes Olympic Village will be affordable• But defition AH changed again – now 80% market value• Reality housing conditions in Newham• Illegal ‘supersheds’, 38 in a room, third world conditions• Housing benefit cuts• Shelter: Olympic organisors “operate in a different world”
  20. 20. Security operation• Security budget over £1 bn – 9,000 police/day in London, 7,000 private security, 13,500 military• Olympic security brings in new technologies which remain• Drones• Vancouver statement• But little debate UK
  21. 21. ‘Tesco Towns’• Debt fuelled model finished• But ‘Tesco Towns’ new wave of development• ‘Spenhill’ regen subsidiary of Tesco building district centres around the UK• Wt housing, schools, streets & ‘public’ places• Eg. Bromley by Bow – condemned by CABE
  22. 22. Any grounds for optimism?• Mayor’s Manifesto for Public Space• No need to privatise streets & public places• New look at security in resource constrained environment• Shared space
  23. 23. ‘There is No Alternative’• Model undemocratic and economically unviable• Importance of balanced local economy• Brings with it identity & diversity• Strengthens democracy, trust & happiness