Artists’ Impressions Of Battersea Are For Illustration Purposes Only

BPS Battersea Power Station

The demolition plans proposed at last night’s meeting for the future of the grounds of Battersea Power Station grounds are merely artistic impressions in soft focus and not what locals and Londoners should expect to receive.

Most of the things promised are so far in the future that their coming to fruition is highly unlikely – the only concrete actions that were clearly agreed to with immediate effect were the removal of the chimneys and the knocking down of the Pumping Station.

Don’t hold your breath for keys to a luxury flat here just yet.

Click Battersea Power Station for more blogs
See our Battersea Power Station project pages for more information and videos.
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National Treasure kills Beatle?

Battersea Power Station

You couldn’t make it up.

Former Wings frontman Paul McCartney is holding a bring-me-back-my-youth gig in the belly of the roofless Battersea Power Station in order to fund raise for a new roof for the Old Vic Theatre.

Multi-millionaire Macca is dusting off his guitar in a bid to raise money for the theatre, but for him to play inside a structure which REO, the owner, claim is so fragile and so dangerous that the chimneys must be removed for safety reasons, begs the post-ironic question: when will the power station have an honorary gig at the Old VIc to provide it with a roof of its own?

Despite Macca’s considerable fall from grace since his hey-day (his Bromance with Vlad the Impaler Putain in Red Square, receiving guided tours of the Kremlin and playing a personal concert for the Russian dictator), presumably Battersea Power Station has been chosen for the venue as a silent homage to its rock’n’roll image, most notably gracing the cover of the 1976 Pink Floyd album, Animals. The fact that Macca is being granted permission to perform there must mean that the disused power station is not as much of a threat to life and limb as developers, politicians, and pen-pushers (all with vested interests) would have the public believe.

Surely such a National Treasure has more to give as a cultural icon? And Battersea Power Station isn’t in such bad shape bad either.

Hope Sir Moolah wears a hard hat.

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

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Battersea Power Station Original Plans

Courtesy of Brian Barnes of the Battersea Power Station Community Group, what we have beneath are some of the original plans for the station, fuelling the debate on what the site should now be used for.

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

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‘How the other half live’ fails to tackle real issues

From the makers of ‘Secret Millionaire’, ‘How the other half live’ is Channel 4’s new program dealing with poverty in the UK. Each week a rich family looks at the life of a poor family and at the end of the program gives a certain amount of money or ‘sponsorship’ to that family.

The makers of  ‘How the other half live‘ may have had the best intentions in the world with this program, asking the viewer to explore the gap between rich and poor, highlighting the poverty that exists in UK and encouraging people to be as generous with those who need help in this country as they are with those abroad, but it is still, as Keith Watson put it in the Metro  ‘patronising‘ and astonishingly contrived.

Instead of looking at the general picture of poverty in this country it focuses on a handful of ‘lucky’ people who are to become the benefactors of a handful of wealthy patrons. This view makes each episode an almost Dickensian style story of the hopeless poor being rescued by the good-hearted rich.

Having a nice easy solution at the end of each program, where a single familie’s problems are solved by a cheque book, actually masks the real issue of the thousands of other families who continue to live in poverty. It also fosters the idea that poverty is a personal issue to be solved by wealthy individuals rather than a societal issue to be dealt with by all.

What do you think?

Are these programs helping or hindering those in poverty?

What is wrong with rich people adopting poor families?

To find out about Spectacle’s Poverty and the media project please visit our Project Page

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Being seen and getting heard: Joseph Rowntree Report

Joseph Rowntree has published a report examining  how people with direct experience of poverty in the UK can have a more effective voice in the media. Presentation of their views and experiences through media channels and help to shape and develop public opinion and build support for action to combat poverty.

Key points raised in report:

  • Poverty is generally under-reported in the media. If more people with experience of the everyday realities of poverty were given a voice in the media, this would enhance public understanding of poverty in the UK.
  • When journalists write stories about poverty they usually want case studies – people who can talk about their experience of living on a low income. This provides an important opportunity for people living in poverty to tell their stories.
  • The internet provides new opportunities for self-expression. People can send emails, develop websites, write blogs and upload sound, stills and video clips.
  • An online audience could be developed by setting up a web portal to provide a reliable resource of material from people with experience of poverty. This would also be a focus for debate. A demonstration project with a specific community could test the potential of internet media to develop awareness of poverty issues.

To download a full copy of this report please visit our Poverty and the Media Resources and Download Page

To watch clips from Spectacle’s Poverty and the media project please visit our Project Page

Alternatively footage can also be found in our Archive

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Minimum cost of living rising twice the rate of inflation

In 2008 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published its first  ‘minimum standard for Britain’ surveying members of the public to find out what income they thought was needed to achieve a socially acceptable standard of living. This survey has now been updated taking into account the rising rate of unemployment and the economic crisis with some fascinating results.

  • A single adult with no children now needs to earn at least £13,900 a year before tax to reach the minimum standard. This is a £500 rise from 2008; nearly half of this extra income is needed for the rising cost of food.
  • About one in four people are living below the minimum income standard for Britain, and this is increasing as unemployment rises.
  • The minimum cost of living has risen by 5%, contrasting with official inflation figures of 2½% (CPI) and -1% (RPI). A low-paid worker whose earnings were linked to the retail prices index could be 6% worse off this year, relative to the minimum cost of living.
  • Job loss can leave you with less than half the income that you actually need to live according to the minimum income standard for Britain.

To download a full copy of this report please visit our Poverty and the Media Resources and Download Page

To watch clips of Spectacle’s Poverty and Media project please visit our Project Page

Alternatively you can also find footage of this project in our Archive

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URBZ MASHUP workshops hit 6 cities

Like the Urban Typhoon workshops in Tokyo (2006) and Mumbai (2008) , the URBZ MASHUP workshops, too will provide an opportunity to explore a city, connect with local residents, artists, architects, designers and musicians. This workshop aims at unleashing the global imagination and celebrating locality by producing photos, videos, interviews, drawings, renderings, writing (fiction & non-fiction), installations, performances in and about specific streets and places. The output of the workshops will be exhibited physically and virtually at the end of the workshop.

The URBZ MASHUP is a seven day event comprising 5 days of workshop and 2 days of seminar + exhibition. It will be held in the following cities:

Tokyo: July 1-5, 2009
Istanbul: August 2-9, 2009
Mumbai: Nov. 22-29, 2009
Rio: February 7-13, 2010
New York: April, 2010
Amsterdam: June, 2010

For information please visit www.urbz.net/mashup

Please visit our Links page for information on Urbanism

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Silwood Video Group Film Lewington Centre Open Day

On April 3rd Spectacle and the Silwood Video Group filmed the first open day of the Lewington Community Centre. Pam Lewington, a former Silwood resident who the centre is named after, made a special visit back to estate to see how it had changed. Local residents filmed various events and displays including a Silwood timeline. Residents also had the chance to view some films made by the Silwood Video Group over the last few years.

To find out more about the Silwood Video Group please visit our Project Page



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Poverty and the Media DVD clips online

There are now clips of the ‘Poverty and Participation in the Media‘ DVD available to view online. Please click here to view clips of our interview with Zac Beattie, maker of ‘Rich Kid Poor Kid‘.

There is also a discussion of ‘The Tower’ with residents of the Pepys Estate.

Other topics include:

Abusive Elements In The Media

Advertising Pressure

Community

The Media’s Potential For Change

Young People and Education

Media Views of Poverty

New Media

Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment on this blog.



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Changing face of poverty

Save the Children recently announced it would be giving emergency cash grants to families in poverty due a massive increase in food prices and worrying increase in malnutrition amongst babies and pregnant women. These families are not the ones that Save the Children normally deal with, they are not in refugee camps or war-zones but in cities and towns across the UK.

With the recession taking hold unemployment has soared and so has the price of food; according to the Guardian the cost of food rose by 11.3% in the year to February, and within that the cost of vegetables has risen by 18.6%. This is leading to new levels of poverty amongst children and families in Britain say Save the Children.

Save the Children argue that many people are facing terrible problems with debt, not because they are frivolous as suggested by some of the media but because they have had to rely on credit for basic essentials. Now the safety net of easy credit has been removed people find they are stuck with high repayments and no new income and end up cutting their food budgets to compensate.

With organisations like Save the Children and Oxfam turning their attention to the UK’s poor is it time we changed our perception of what poverty looks like?

Does the media do enough to let us know about poverty on our own doorstep?

Is it easier to pretend poverty only exists in foreign countries?

For more clips from our Poverty and  The Media project please visit our Archive

To find out more information about our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Project Page



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