Hanwell Big Local, getting the community involved

The Big Local Trust has awarded £1 million to Copley Close, Cuckoo estate and Gurnell Grove estate, in Hanwell, Ealing to help develop new community facilities over the next 10 years. The improvements will be decided by residents and implemented throughout the area.

This is a short participatory film made by Spectacle and shot by young people from the area about the changes the community would like to see on their estate. It is also a documentation of the estate as it is now. We hope to revisit in the future to document developments.

The Big Local is a Big Lottery funded project that is awarded each year to a Local Authority. Among the current projects based in London there is Clapham Junction/West Battersea, Peabody Avenue and Churchill Garden Estate, North Brixton, World’s End Estate and Lots Road Area, Wormholt and White City, South Bermondsey and Somers Town.

London Borough of Ealing was asked by the Lottery to put forward three areas within the borough that would benefit from the funding. The Big Local Trust eventually selected Hanwell because it felt it was in greatest need of new facilities, as stated by  Ealing Council. The area has approximately 9,611 residents. It covers Copley Close, the majority of Cuckoo estate and it goes along the Ruislip Road to include Gurnell Grove estate. Here ‘s a map shown by the Hanwell Big Local webpage.

Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure this extra funding for Copley Close. There are some really excellent projects already established there and I’m sure this money will be well spent.“

Hanwell Big Local v09

Hanwell Community Centre at the heart of the Hanwell Big Local neighbourhood improvement scheme.

Among the upcoming changes, Copley Close Community Hall and The Base will be demolished and most activities relocated to an improved Hanwell Community Centre –now under Ealing Council control– with space and potential for new uses and facilities. Hanwell community group Empowering Action and Social Esteem (EASE), which works to improve the lives of people living on the Copley Close Estate, will also be moving temporarily to the centre with a hope of staying there. For the past few years, it has been located in The Base.

Jackie Sear, chief executive of EASE, said: “This is great news not just for Copley Close but for the surrounding areas too. The money will hopefully be used to enable existing services to be funded for years to come, but most of all to ensure the needs of the community are met. This has come at an important time in regards to regeneration for the area and will definitely engage the residents in decision making.”

EASE has been chosen to create the vision for the changing area and has been trying to get everyone involved in the process ever since. This film is part of their message to the people living in Copley Close, Cuckoo and Gurnell Grove estates. It offers a wide range of ideas which are hopefully just the beginning of the discussion.

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BP’s Unsustainable Olympic Sponsorship

The Counter Olympics Network (CON) held a conference on the 14th April at the Bishopsgate Institute where they discussed the problems that the 2012 Olympics has caused and planned points of action for the coming months to tackle such issues.

They were joined by international speakers Derrick Evans from the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health, Bryan Parras from the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s) and Clayton Thomas Muller from the Indigenous Environmental Network. Together they spoke about how their projects have been affected by previous Olympics. More specifically on the issues of corporate sponsoring, pollution, gentrification and surveillance that the Olympic Games bring to cities.

Derrick Evans

 Derrick Evans Representing the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health

BP is one of the sponsors for the London 2012 Olympics, as the ‘Official Oil and Gas Partner’ as well as sponsoring the USA Olympics Team. The corporate sponsorship of the Games by BP has angered campaigners who want to publicise the adverse effects BP contributed to the natural environment. Derrick Evans is one such campaigner who argues that BP’s involvement with the Olympics is an attempt to divert attention from its “incomparable contributions to unsustainability globally”.

He gives the example of the Deepwater Horizon Spill when BP discharged two hundred million gallons of crude oil into the gulf of Mexico in 2010 and then “applied nearly two million gallons of chemicals dispersant of Correxics not clean up, but to hide because it has the effect of breaking the oil up.” This has resulted in oil particles being consumed by the smallest life forms in the gulf and therefore infiltrating the whole food chain. Two years on the oil is still present and washes ashore in the Northern Gulf.

This has resulted in economic damage and health problems for the local people. In particular, the local fishing communities have been badly affected as two of their fishing seasons have been completely destroyed and very few of them have “received anything near the level, if anything at all, the level of compensation to compensate them for the lost income and the lost investment in their one asset, which is their boat, and their nets; and the things that they pour all their money into, to get ready for the fishing season.”

The health of the local population has deteriorated considerably since the oil spills. “Thousands, tens of thousands children and adults are exhibiting in large scale, physical symptoms: respiratory issues, skin issues, loss of short-term memory, a lot of the same issues, they don’t know each other.” And these people have not received any compensation, “they haven’t received a dime.” What is more worrying is that not a single cent of BP’s twenty billion dollar Gulf Coast Trust Fund has “pay for a single medical bill for a single person”.

The aim of the Gulf Coast Fund is to “seeks to assist and renew and empower the most vulnerable of the communities and ecosystems on the gulf coast.” The very same ones that have been affected by the BP Oil Spills.

Therefore, the idea that BP being a major sustainability sponsor is ridiculous as the environmental and human damage that BP has caused through oil spills undermines its attempts to be a “sustainabilty sponsor” of the Olympics. “BP has essentially got away with murder in the country and in a part of the country where the state officials and the government agencies that defer to them are like useless law enforcement.” Derrick Evans concludes to say that: “I want to encourage to those of you who want to shed the truth and light on this apparently multi faceted fiasco.”

Bryan Parras

 Bryan Parras Representing the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s)

Bryan Parras is a campaigner from Houston, Texas who is also campaigning against BP and their involvement with the Olympics. He described BP as a “repeat offender” as they repeatedly have accidents and problems. Five years before the Deepwater Horizon Accident BP had an explosion where 15 workers were killed. BP are “constantly cutting corners and cutting back on their safety measures.” But at the same time they are spending huge amounts of money by sponsoring the Olympics.

Bryan Parras sees the “Olympics as just another one of those opportunistic moments where capitalism sort of comes in and reigns its terror on folks.” It’s like watching little league baseball in the stadiums, where “everyone is watching their children and their friends play ball” while their cars get broken into all the time. This seems to happen wherever the Olympics go, everyone is so “focused on where the lights are all shining that we are not seeing what’s happening” to the local communities.

Clayton Thomas Muller

 Clayton Thomas Muller Representing the Indigenous Environmental Network

Clayton Thomas Muller is an activist for indigenous rights and environmental justice and lead campaigner of the Tar Sands campaign. The Indigenous Environmental Network comprises of indigenous people in the United States who have been affected by unsustainable development. BP’s involvement in the exploitation of the Tar Sands on the East coast of Canada has angered both campaigners and local indigenous communities as the extraction industry is unsustainable, causes irreversible damage to the environment and illegally encroaches on disputed indigenous lands.

It is important to understand that for us BP using the Olympics spectacle, the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet. We all know, for those of us who have done the history of the Olympics, that the Olympics is nothing more than a mechanism for the neoliberal capitalist agenda that is essentially a real estate operation to utilize and justify the expropriation of vulnerable communities.”

Vancouver Protests Image by (c) Jason Levis

In Vancouver, the Coalition Olympics Resistance Network or ORN organised and challenged corporate sponsors of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. One campaign, called ‘No Olympics on Stolen Native Lands’ brought together different groups who were fighting for Native rights and sovereignty platforms in opposition to the Olympics. The Olympics caused the gentrification in downtown Vancouver where the local communities have been pushed out to make way for villages for the athletes and tourists. This gentrification mostly affected disadvantaged groups: low income, indigenous urban-based people.

As well as the gentrification of downtown Vancouver the Olympics had caused the destruction and desecration of sensitive ecological regions in and around Vancouver. In order to build the training facilities Eagleridge Bluff, a bald Eagle nesting site and a site that is sacred to the local tribal people. One Elder of the local tribe, Harriet Nahanee organised a campaign to protect Eagle Bluff by creating a blockade to stop machines from coming in. Elder Harriet Nahanee was arrested and contracted Pneumonia in prison and died. “So she died for Olympic resistance, standing up for her rights.”

The Olympics has also caused the increased surveillance in Vancouver. Vancouver is now the second most videotaped city on the planet next to London. Personal privacy has been negotiated as the CCTV cameras are still there. “And so what the Olympics really brought in was a new regime of both militarization and criminalization of the poor, gentrification of the most vulnerable communities, the destruction of ecologically sensitive sites [and] sacred sites to local indigenous people.”

Campaigners are therefore concerned with how the Olympics “created division that used poverty and alleviation as a way to divide different social movements that were converging onto the Olympics.” Clayton Thomas Muller concludes to say that it is absurd that BP is a sustainability partner of the Olympics, “it is nothing more than greenwashing of their horrific human rights abuses and crimes of ecocide against the sacredness of the earth”.

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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UK’s Olympic win could leave London tourism a major loser

The official agency behind promoting tourism for London has admitted that the 2012 Olympic Games could lead to a lull in visitors to the capital next year, which may have a damaging impact on the UK’s stuttering economic recovery.

London & Partners has acknowledged there “could be a problem” with people not wanting to come to London over fears, such as over-crowded transport, a lack of, or high prices for, hotel rooms, and the capital resembling a building site, from 1 January until the Olympics end on 27 August.

More on the Independent

London Olympics on Spectacle’s website

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Olympics could have negative effects on sports participation

After London was announced as the host of the 2012 Olympic Games, Labour made a number of promises about using the Olympics as a way of inspiring people to be more healthy and get involved with sport and exercise. They planned to get a million more people playing sport three or more times a week and to get a million more people doing more general physical activity. Whether it is actually possible for mega events such as the Olympics to have this kind of impact is something which has been contested by a number of studies.

The BMJ set out to find any study that had ever been conducted looking at the real-world health and socioeconomic impacts on places which have hosted major sporting events. From the 54 studies they found,  there seemed to be no evidence to support the idea that events like Olympics have a positive effect on health or socioeconomic outcomes.

One of the studies looked at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and found that sports participation fell after the games, and there became in an increased gap in participation between the rich and the poor areas of Manchester.

Another study in Manchester suggested problems arose because voluntary groups were being excluded from using Commonwealth branding and the new facilities built for the event tended to only benefit professional athletes rather than the general population.

The government now seems to be dropping any focus it had on its original plan to use the Olympics to get people involved with healthy activity and sport, probably having come to the realisation that they will never meet the large targets that they originally proposed. This goes to show that the government can make big claims when they are bidding to get these events but when it comes down to it, they don’t actually have to follow these claims through.

For more information click Bad Science

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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Silwood Video Group Update

Silwood Digital Training 28-02-09

On Monday we had a successful afternoon filming location shots around the Silwood estate including Regeneration Road and Oldfield Grove. We also filmed shots of the incinerator and the work site near by.

We are coming to the end of this series of inter-generational workshops, so why not get involved and make the most of the last workshops! We will be holding a public screening shortly to show what has been filmed during this series.

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

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Silwood Video Group: Workshop Update

Class X Silwood 05-09-05

The Silwood Video Group continued this week as workshops were held on Tuesday in the Silverlock Centre and around the estate. We were able to conduct our usual sound and video workshops, taking new location shots around Silwood and engaging with residents curious about our work. This was followed by a screening in the Silverlock centre from 6 to 8, and preparations were discussed for a joint celebration of the culmination of the Silwood project and Spectacle’s eleventh anniversary of filming on the estate. Watch this space!

This week’s workshops will take place as per usual on Tuesday 22nd March, with location filming around the estate from 4.00 to 6.00 and screenings from 6.30 to 8.00 PM at the Silverlock Centre. Newcomers are welcome, and we look forward to seeing you there

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An Urban media Practice: documentation, agitation, participation

Mark Saunders lecturing on the Urban Practices course at UCL:

An Urban media Practice: documentation, agitation, participation

8th February 3pm in Room 114, 26 Bedford Way, Department of Geography, UCL

Drawing on 30 years experience of independent and community based media practice in London, Brussels and Rostock Mark Saunders will describe the political and technological development of Spectacle’s practice and use of media in urban struggles for social justice in the built environment.

This will include, Despite TV, an innovative video co-operative in East London (1981-94), Jako Co-operative and the making of The Truth Lies in Rostock (90-98) establishing resident video groups in gentrifying Brussels (2000-2009) and long term video workshops on “regenerated” estates Silwood in Rotherhithe (10 years) and Marsh Farm Luton (15 years) and recent work on the London Olympics and Battersea Power Station.

Key Readings:

Olympics

Olympic project pages

Olympic blog

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station project

Battersea Power Station blog

Suggested further readings:

Surviving Participation Fatigue< Erased Social Geography

Video in the City: Possibilities for Transformation in the Urban Space

Advocacy, Participation and Non Governmental Organisations in planning : A report and video on Spectacle’s APaNGO work

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Silwood Video Group Workshops: Update

We had our first workshop with the Silwood Video Group on Tuesday, which allowed us to get a lot of new footage and more location shots to add to our ever-expanding archive. We are looking forward to getting the project up and running, with lots of positive contributions by residents. We are lining up interviews with pensioners and schoolkids alike, trying to get to the root of the changing nature of life on the estate.

Get involved!

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

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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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Battersea Power Station Community Group refute owners claims of local support

In a press release issued today the Battersea Power Station Community Group challenge the Power Station owners, REO/Treasury Holdings, claims of local support following consultation.

Be sure to register your views to Wandsworth Council before the February 1st deadline.

BPS Development Model


press release:

Re: Consultation

REO/ Treasury are claiming that 82% of people who responded to their latest consultation approve of the plans unveiled at the public exhibition on 3 days in December 3rd to 5th 2009

We feel that there should be better statistics behind this bald statement. The survey was self selecting through a simple questionnaire which literally asked to agree disagree or be unsure. There is no attempt to put the result in context of numbers of people responding.

On the 2 occasions we were at the exhibition there were few people attending. No notices to guide people to the exhibition and, apparently, inexperienced staff explaining the content of the models.

We fail to understand the purpose of this other than as PR during the period leading to the planning application when comments should be received at Wandsworth Council by February 1st 2010.

There is nothing on the exhibition to say that controversial plans to demolish the Grade II listed Water Pumping Station are applied for and that the demolition of the chimneys and rebuilding are proposed. I do know that the online petition on the subject of demolition of the iconic chimneys received over 600 votes to repair the chimney without demolition (PM web petition)

The questionnaire also asks the simple question to agree, disagree or not know if a tube line and station is supported.

Again, we know that the Minister for Transport Sadiq Kahn called the idea “humbug” and that there are no plans for the Government to financially support the tube line and that the Mayor of London has his own problems with a £5 billion deficit in the GLA transport budget so no money from there either.

See also YouTube “Battersea Power Station new plans” for the view of the exhibition and model

Contact Brian Barnes Chairman of Battersea Power Station Community Group

0207 627 5821

If you would like to object to these plans 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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