Memories of Battersea: Nick

Memories of Battersea is an oral history video project run by Spectacle and part funded by the Wandsworth Grant Fund. The project gives young adults from Battersea the opportunity to be trained in film-making while producing short films about their neighbourhood, collecting memories from elder Battersea residents, bridging intergenerational gaps and engaging with the history of their borough.

In this video, Spectacle met Nick Wood, the eclectic architect who designed and built the Carey Gardens estate in the early 70s in SW8 Battersea in Wandsworth.

Nick Wood, the GLC architect of Carey Gardens estate

Throughout his successful career at the London County Council and the Greater London Council, Nick aimed to create “council estates that didn’t look like council estates”, designing buildings that could provide an enjoyable living environment for its residents. Nick applied Sir Leslie Martin’s theories on land use to design Carey Gardens estate and his model proved that it was possible to achieve high density with low-rise buildings. During this time period, this was seen as revolutionary seeing as high-rise blocks were seen as more fashionable but cost more to build.

The Carey Gardens estate model, designed by Nick Wood

This Memories of Battersea episode gives an insight into the history of social housing, focusing on the effort of building new homes for the Battersea community after the devastation of World War II. Nick also walks through his theory use and intentions on building Carey Gardens as he sits down with an aerial map of the estate. He also mentions the Carey Gardens Co-operative, the tenant management organisation that plans events and coastal trips for the residents, proving how good urban housing design creates vibrant and happy resident communities.

Watch the full film here.

Visit Spectacle’s Memories of Battersea channel on Vimeo to watch other episodes featuring Battersea residents’ stories.

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DMAU – Participatory Documentary

DMAU’s  research project on Participatory Documentary features a video report that introduces one of Spectacle’s participatory projects APaNGO. The video explains the projects purpose – developing a strong community based network that promotes urban participation in planning through social media.

The central aim of Spectacle’s video workshops is to train residents to film and edit video footage and through this capture and influence the changing physical and human face of their neighbourhood.” Mark Saunders, Spectacle Founder.

DMAU specialises in documentary film-making and urban research. DMAU (or Digital Media Architecture Urbanism) provide a selection of participatory media in the form of visual essays, interviews and case studies.

“Our work focuses on projects – designs and documentaries – that improve the public realm, be that built designs or temporary events and interventions, with an emphasis on work that has a positive social or environmental impact” –                                             Daryl Mulvihill, DMAU Founder.

The scope of this project spreads across various countries in the EU and works upon maintaining strong communities. It is therefore a good example of how participatory media can influence and support social development.

An accompanying interview with Spectacle founder Mark Saunders gives a broader understanding of how Spectacle works with communities to encourage social media. The interview explains the importance that participatory production workshops have, and the significance they have upon urban regeneration.

The DMAU research project explores:

“The potentials for the use of documentary practice in urban research and design projects go much further than the traditionally formatted video production. New interactive documentaries combine film with a range of other media; photography, maps, soundscapes and data visualisations to create an immersive experience for the viewer. Next to this participatory documentary has the ability to empower and engage communities by bringing their story to a wider audience. We will see how interactive and participatory documentary is not simply about producing stories. It is as much about designing a storytelling process that engages with the voices of people impacted by an event or ongoing situation.”

Spectacle now runs affordable effective Participatory Video Weekend Training Courses

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Do the business, secretary!

A new video has recently surfaced on youtube which gives a great summary of the problems surrounding the redevelopment of the Hampton Court site.
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The video makes the point that urbanisation of the south bank of the river Thames will not  only mean destruction of a historic view of Hampton Court Palace, but will also make some people and companies very rich.
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Hampton Court Palace lies in business secretary Vince Cable’s constituency of Twickenham. Mr Cable opposed the plans whilst in opposition, but since coming to power he seems to have lost his voice on the subject.

The video makes one point that should give us all cause for concern. The application itself is opposed by many factions, including Hampton Court. If Hampton Court is unable to oppose an inappropriate planning application then there is no hope for us commoners.

 

Here it is:

 

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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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Urban Platform in Brussels

Brussels XL Bravo 04-04-07

This weekend, there will be a 3-day long conference in Brussels organised by City Mine(d) on urban issues and initiatives concerning how to make cities more liveable. The conference begins Friday 19th November at 19:00 with a panel debate on ‘small initiatives, big challenges’. On Saturday 20th November, closed workshops will be held in the afternoon, with group discussions from 19:00 to 23:00. And on Sunday 21st November, from 10:00 til 22:00, there will be a bazaar of idea-sharing and proposals.

For more information, or to register for this event, see their webpage: http://urbanplatform.citymined.org/

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The Delhi Eye – A Symbol of Innocence and Inexperience?

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With the Commonwealth Games slipping into their final days in Delhi, other construction efforts are rushing for completion in a similar manner. Located away from central Delhi, in Kalindi Kunj gardens on the banks of the Yamuna River, the 45m wheel aspires to evoke comparisons with its more famous London counterpart. However, like much of the city, it remains unfinished and unused, with it’s location unknown to most locals and with the RP20 entrance fee to the gardens likely to prevent it being enjoyed by all levels of society.

It does boast one feature that the London Eye doesn’t – a VIP pod equipped (as rumour has it) with a minibar and a television. In case the view from the top proves underwhelming.

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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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Waiting for Godot: The Silwood Diaries

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At this month’s Residents Meeting (5th May), the rolling issue of the Pocket Park was raised. The park (sans grass) has been opened, and then closed, on and off for the last 6 to 12 months, and as it is the only source of outside space provided for young people on the Silwood as part of one of London & Quadrant’s Section 106 contracts, there is rising concern by parents.

‘Health and Safety’ issues were cited as the primary reason by L & Q officials at the meeting, however the nature of these health and safety issues were unable to be clarified when enquiries were made. Silwood Video Group members were told simply that there are ‘more repairs that need to be done to the park. This has been passed back to the contractor. As soon as these repairs are done, the park will be opened.’ It is unlikely that L &Q would be unaware of specific problems (if there were any), and seeing as children climbing over the gates in order to access the park (as they habitually do) presents greater health and safety risks, such an answer has not assuaged the residents’ questions, or annoyance.

Let’s hope that Godot, in the form of the golden key to the Pocket Park, decides to turn up soon…

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The Good. The Bad. And Section 106.

Sil Workshop 28-07-05

Spectacle, having established the Silwood Video Group, have been an active presence on the Silwood Estate since 2001, and in nearly 10 years of voluntary film-workshops and attendance at Residents’ Meetings, we have seen the landscape of this slice of South-East London change, and change as a result of regeneration.

Since 2005 at the Residents’ Forum Meetings, which are now held quarterly, the residents have asked to see the business plans for development and to have access to details of Section 106, which was declared a ‘non-public document’ by the London & Quadrant NIT Manager on the Silwood. The statement was later retracted, but the Section 106 document, to date, has not been made available to residents.

Tower Homes, the commercial wing of London & Quadrant, won the planning permission rights to the land in the Silwood area, on which they intended to build luxury apartments. By law, this makes them accountable to Section 106 Agreement of the Town and Country Planning Act (1990), which states that if development is agreed upon, for example, Lewisham Council awarding planning permission to Tower Homes, then the new landowners must provide resources that are of benefit to the community that will be affected by the development. In the case of the Silwood, London & Quadrant was entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the re-provision of community facilities, play areas/ parks, and youth centres on the Estate, which were demolished as a result of the regeneration process. The Lewington Centre was then built as a replacement for the former community centre and the Cyber Centre under Section 106.

Residents are currently being asked to pay relatively steep rates in order to use their new Centre, but the bone of contention lies in the fact that, according to the ‘Regeneration Project Initiation Document’, freely available from Lewisham Council, London & Quadrant allocated a fund of £2 million in order to meet their Section 106 obligations. On top of this, despite the claim of London & Quadrant representatives at Residents’ Meetings on the Silwood that these rates are essential to their business plan and the long-term running of the Lewington Centre, their business plan for 2009 shows that they have made a profit in the region of £120, 000. So why do they seem so unwilling to invest in fully rebuilding the local infrastructure?

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Silwood Land for Silwood Residents?

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As part of the continued regeneration of the Silwood Estate, an application has been submitted by London & Quadrant Housing Association for planning permission on vacant land that residents wanted to be used to provide play areas for their children. After a series of quarterly meetings in which residents were unable to obtain information from L & Q representatives as to status of the Lewisham Council-owned land, it has become apparent that the housing trust themselves have made a bid for it. According to Planning Application DC/09/73169/X , L & Q are seeking permission to build tower blocks ‘ranging from 2 storeys… to 6 storeys’ in the area north of Silwood Street. Residents have requested that this issue be raised at the next Silwood Community Meeting.

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