Screening Creativity and the Capitalist City: the Struggle for Affordable Space in Amsterdam

Creativity and the Capitalist City: the Struggle for Affordable Space in Amsterdam
Film screening and Q+A with Director and fellow INURIAN Tino Buchholz

28 July 2011
4pm – 5.30pm

Christopher Ingold Ramsay Lecture Theater, UCL, 20 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AJ

This film is a two year project (2009-11) and independent production with support of the University of Groningen, Medienprojekt Wuppertal and Inura, and features the economic geographer Professor Jamie Peck.  In the film, the search for creativity is linked to existential struggles for affordable housing and working space in Amsterdam. Yet it is more than a local documentary on Amsterdam, exploring the implications of the latest urban re-/development patterns in advanced Western capitalist cities.

Click London Olympics for more blogs
See our Olympics project pages for more information and videos.
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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Pirate Urbanism: Delhi’s Commonwealth Regeneration

Cuius testiculus habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum. If you have people’s attention, you have also their hearts and minds.

Not so for the building constructed as the headquarters for the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi. Stark, sublime and constructed out of grey brick with seemingly arbitrary flashes of colour in idiot-purple, it is no wonder it has stirred up furious controversy.

To put it into World Cup terms, the teams are as such. On one side you have the architects, praising it’s modern feel and visionary style; on the other, grassroots organisations and a not insignificant slice of the public decrying the cost and confused over the desired architectural intention……….

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Gazprom Tower Films Shown at INURA Conference

Linked below are two intriguing films concerning the Gazprom Tower of St Petersburg, Russia:

The Tale of the Gazprom Tower

This is the fairy tale about the Gazprom Tower in beautiful St. Petersburg/Russia. About the kings and queens creating it, about their dreams and wishes, about the wonderful buildings preceding it and the kings and queens who built them. It’s about voices behind the curtain and subjects, who don’t obey.
It’s a long story cut short, but without an end. Because once you release the spirits you won’t get rid of them, or as Faust said: Spirits that I’ve cited, my commands ignore.

The Tower: A Songspiel

This film is based on an analysis of the conflict that has developed
 around the planned Okhta Center with a Gazprom skyscraper in Petersburg and on real
 documents from Russian social and political life.
 April 2010

Both of these films are darkly comic and visually engaging with deep and rich historical and geographical context. Enjoy and experience them.

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Battersea Power Station & Olympics 2012 – Legacy, Land Grabs and Liberties

Olympic Blues

Olympic Blues

BATTERSEA POWER STATION AND OLYMPICS 2012: LEGACY, LAND GRABS AND LIBERTIES

Mark Saunders talk and videos

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 17:30

Room 517 (5th floor), Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, Wates House, 22 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0QB.

Directions

More info on London Planning Seminars

For more info:
On the Olympics:
Project: http://www.spectacle.co.uk/London-Olympics-2012
Blog: http://www.spectacle.co.uk/spectacleblog/category/olympics-2012/

On Battersea Power Station:
Project: http://www.spectacle.co.uk/Battersea-Power-Station
Blog: http://www.spectacle.co.uk/spectacleblog/category/battersea-power-station/

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Free No Pain Gain Guide to Gain Download: A Community Guide to Planning Obligations

Planning applications are often a very private collusion between local councils and private developers and it is difficult for local residents to involve themselves in, let alone influence, the decision-making process. With plans to redevelop Battersea Power Station at a delicate stage and three months left to make objections to the current plan (see REO’s current application here), we have uploaded a pdf copy of the ‘No Pain Guide to Gain’ booklet. Produced by the Ethical Property Foundation, the pamphlet details how residents can make full use of the ‘Section 106 agreement’, which is a legal agreement obligating the developer in question to provide beneficial services and schemes for the local community.

This article from the Battersea Power Station Community Group website in 2006 demonstrates REO / Treasure Holding’s attitudes towards section 106 and community participation.

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Cars without snow tyres are not insured?

Tracks

Here in the UK after a few centimeters of snow cars are skidding all over the place creating a real danger for cyclists. In other countries motorists fit winter or snow tyres to their cars in the winter months. Surely by failing to do this motorists in the UK are negligent and therefore not insured in the event of skidding on the ice and having an accident?

If a cyclist rides on the pavement they are liable to a £500.00 fine. So what’s the fine for driving a car on an icy road without snow tyres? Nothing?

There were more than 11 cyclist deaths in London in 2009. In 2005, 20 cyclists were killed and 338 injured on London’s roads. In 2006, 18 were killed and 349 injured and 2007 14 died and 253 were injured.

Si “Cool” Rhode-Khil will be writing regularly on cycling for PlanA on the Spectacle Blog.

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Eco-Town Con

Whitehill-Bordon has been designated an eco-town, where it is proposed to double the size of the existing town of 15,000.  There is strong popular opposition to what people see as a con trick to sell off MoD land and build lots of houses.  The result will be the opposite of eco: more carbon, more traffic, a job famine, thousands of trees felled, farm and other green land bulldozed and no real eco benefit, just an urbanised country town that fails all the original government criteria and has only been approved because the local Council supports it.  But the Council’s pre-determined ideas are being steamrollered through a combination of misleading propaganda, scaremongering, tame consultants, rigged consultation and, now political thuggery, with dissenting local councillors being replaced by local party members from distant wards.  The pattern is no doubt being repeated elsewhere in the country.

To learn more see www.baaga.co.uk

Read what Friends of the Earth have to say at:

http://foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/ecotowns_briefing.pdf

The Local Government Association says:

“These developments could become the eco-slums of the future”


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Chimney stacks of Money

Battersea Power Station owners Treasury Holdings/REO have been arguing the chimneys are unsafe and need to be demolished and rebuilt, dismissing an alternative report by a team of three companies of concrete experts brought together by the World Monuments Fund & Twentieth Century Society that revealed there is no sign of structural distress in the chimneys and that the chimneys can be repaired for half the cost of demolition and rebuilding.

Given the abysmal history of the Power Station’s owners’ reluctance to do anything but the absolute minimum of repairs critics are doubtful they would ever replace the chimneys once demolished- leaving a featureless pile of bricks and little to protect. No doubt, like with the roof, promises will be made to replace the chimneys, but various unavoidable economic or unforeseen technical problems will be cited as external reasons not to replace them. By getting planning permission from Wandsworth Borough Council to take down the chimneys Parkview, the previous owners, greatly added to the resale value of the site when they flipped it. It is a well known property developers’ trick when faced with a listed building to destroy or degrade the key feature that makes a building worth saving e.g. the facade of the beautiful Firestone Building was bulldozed leaving nothing worth protecting.

Bulldozers outpace the Heritage bureaucrats

IN MEMORIAM THE ELEPHANT AND CASTLE DESTROYED BY PEEL HOLDINGS PLC

The “unsafe” nature of the chimneys is also used as an excuse to not open up the river front land for public use.  During the rare times the Power Station is open to the public the whole site is a hard hat area and the roofless interior space between the chimneys completely out of bounds for safety reasons. Interestingly when cash is on the table this same space can accommodate a giant marquee for public events.

Stage design mock-up

Marquee in between "unsafe" chimneys.

Rob Tincknell, managing director of Treasury Holdings, expressed our concerns exactly when he told Jonathan Prynn, Consumer Business Editor for the Evening Standard  04.06.09
Unveiled: the ‘last chance’ for Battersea Power Station

[Tincknell].. hopes the chimneys, thought to have been beyond repair, may be saved. The previous plan saw them being replaced by replicas. He said: “If this scheme does not make it, there is no power station. If you look back in history there has been disaster after disaster, rubbish scheme after rubbish scheme. We have designed, consulted and are about to put in a planning application. The project is in the hands of developers who know what they are doing.”

That’s what we are worried about.

——————————————————————————————————————————

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

Subscribe to our newsletter mailing list, visit our contact page to subscribe

If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here to view more Battersea Power Station links

Spectacle Home Page

If you would like to object to the planning applications for Battersea Power Station you have until January 31st 2010 click here for more details.

For more information about Spectacle’s Battersea Power Station project including video interviews.

To read more blogs about Battersea Power Station

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BLACK HELICOPTERS OVER BATTERSEA POWER STATION

REO, current owners of Battersea Power Station, like all previous owners, have been reluctant to allow any local community use of the site. However they have clearly made parts of the site available to some hand picked users, such as private helicopter operators.

Private helicopter taking off from Battersea Power Station

Private helicopter taking off from Battersea Power Station

So while the principle of allowing use of the site is established there is no transparent decision making process for allowing community or public use of the site – it seems to be at the whim and gift of REO’s private patronage.

There does not seem to have been any consultation on the noisy informal heliport.  It would also appear that the helicopter is flying outside the compulsory Helicopter flight route over the Thames. If it is a single engined helicopter it should only be flying over the Thames in the London Control Zone. Helicopters taking off from Battersea Power Station fly south inland flying over residential areas.

Helicopter landing at Battersea Power Station

Helicopter landing at Battersea Power Station

If you are concerned about noise from helicopters you might be interested to read  In a Spin- A review of Helicopter Noise by London Assembly Environment Committee

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

Subscribe to our newsletter mailing list, visit our contact page to subscribe

If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here to view more Battersea Power Station links

Spectacle Home Page

If you would like to object to the planning applications for Battersea Power Station you have until January 31st 2010 click here for more details.

For more information about Spectacle’s Battersea Power Station project including video interviews.

To read more blogs about Battersea Power Station

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Do you have any ideas for Battersea Power Station?

Do you have ideas for how Battersea power station could be used NOW or in the FUTURE?

REO, the current owners of Battersea Power Station, make vague promises about community use and access to the site but all their plans are projected way into the future. REO’s schedule is “planning” until 2012 and building only set to finish in 2020- nearly 40 years after the power station was decommissioned.

Do you have any ideas for immediate use?

How about something for the kids like a giant adventure playground?
A river bus hub for river buses that acccept oyster cards?

The building is so huge, many times the size of its little and uglier sister the Tate Modern, it can probably accommodate all your ideas.

REO insist on only considering grandiose money making schemes on the site. They clearly plan to do nothing until 2012 and then only if they get their tube extension. This “all or nothing” approach flies in the face of current economic realities and other successful models of re-using industrial buildings based on either gradual and organic development or imaginative re-use of the spaces.

Do you have any ideas for how to use such a big building?

A museum of power technology; steam, water, wind, coal?
A Museum of the Thames? It could contain many boats, it has a river front. It has a great views from the chimneys.
An extension of the Science or Natural History Museums for all their bigger exhibits?
A Museum of Flight. Battersea has connections with aviation e.g.1900s Battersea Balloon Works.

Most of REO’s plans are for building around the site.Their ideas for the power station are banal, a conference centre (yawn), hotel and shopping (novel) and, would you believe, flats. If there was ever a building inappropriate for residential use it is Battersea Power Station. Their plans necessitate vandalising the magnificent brick facades by punching through windows in order to maximise income generating floor space. Light wells would be the more appropriate, architecturally sensitive but less profitable option.

Do you have any ideas that do not mean destroying the architectural value of the building?

REO make much of the “green spaces” ( the little bits between what they plan to build around the power station) but are less keen to make clear most are private spaces. Do you have ideas for the site that do not require surrounding and obscuring the Power Station with dense ugly office buildings?

Do you have any ideas how to use the current open spaces around the power station?

Doing nothing until 2020 demonstrates a bankruptcy of ideas by REO. If REO cannot think of, or at least allow, any uses that benefit Londoners and the local community then they are unsuitable custodians of a national treasure and should hand over the site to public ownership.

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

Subscribe to our newsletter mailing list, visit our contact page to subscribe

If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here to view more Battersea Power Station links

Spectacle Home Page

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