Achilles Street: Open Garden Estates 2017

As part of this year’s Open Garden Estates, Achilles Street residents researched the abundance of wildflowers living in and around their estate. The walk they created out of their discovery reveals the beauty found in unlikely places and raises questions about how we value our urban environment and local communities. Overlooked and unappreciated, these plants, like the residents, will be uprooted and discarded in the demolition of the estate.

Sustainability is about the relationship between our communities and the environment in which they live. Estate demolition is as much an attack on our natural environment as on our local communities, unnecessarily releasing huge quantities of embodied carbon and pollutants into our atmosphere, as well as tearing up well established communities that have taken root over generations in the fabric of our city.  Their destruction will leave London impoverished and stripped of its indigenous cultures and resources for the short term gain of non-domiciled and foreign speculation and investment.

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Excalibur: Open Garden Estates 2017

Between 1946 and 1948, in response to the loss of housing during the Blitz and the return of demobilised servicemen and women, 156,623 pre-fabricated homes were built across the UK. Excalibur estate in Catford, comprised of 178 bungalow homes, is one of these. Located in what is now Lewisham, the borough had suffered some of the highest loss of housing from bombs, and these quickly erected homes were initially anticipated to be temporary housing, to be replaced later by council estates. Many of them were, but some have survived into the Twenty-first Century, and contain communities that have lived together since the end of the Second World War. Now they are under attack by councils, housing associations and developers, eager to cash in on the rocketing value of London land.

In 2002 Lewisham Labour council met with residents to propose the stock transfer of their homes to a housing association. In 2004 Savills estate agent, which is advising councils on estate regeneration schemes across London, produced a report saying that none of the existing homes were up to the Decent Homes Standard. In 2005 Lewisham council estimated the cost of refurbishment at £65,000 per home, and argued that it would be too expensive to bring the homes up to this standard. Residents were indignant at the council’s description of their homes as ‘indecent’, and began a campaign to save the estate from privatisation.


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Macintosh Court: Open Garden Estates 2016

Macintosh Court residents and campaigners with Architect Kate Macintosh (second from right), celebrating their victory at Open Garden Estates this weekend with blue plaques of the newly named estate by ASH member Senaka Weeraman.

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269 Leigham Court Road in Streatham is purpose built sheltered housing, with 45 flats that are currently home to 50 residents, all over the age of 60, all on secure tenancies. Despite being designed by architect Kate Macintosh specifically to house elderly people, a duty it has performed since 1975, in January 2013 Lambeth Labour Council suddenly declared the estate ‘unfit for purpose’, told residents that it was too expensive to carry out the repairs and maintenance they had neglected for years, and declared the site was to be ‘sold as cleared land.’ On Monday, 13 June, a meeting was called with residents at 269 Leigham Court Road to announce Lambeth Labour Council’s proposal for the estate.

The Council’s original plans had been to evict all 50 of the current residents, to move them to various sheltered housing complexes around the borough, to demolish the existing 45 homes, and to sell the estate as ‘cleared land’, with new developments being what they euphemistically call ‘other housing’. In preparation for this, the onsite sheltered housing officer was withdrawn, causing one resident we met to have to wait 5 hours for paramedics to turn up following a fall. And the estate gardeners neglected the gardens, leading to the erosion of the topsoil in places, the needless tearing up of bushes without first consulting residents, and the death of the tree in the central square.

There is no talk, even from Lambeth Labour Council, about building new homes for the existing residents. This was a land grab, pure and simple, for this much sort-after corner of Lambeth. We know how vulnerable elderly residents are to the mental and physical stresses of eviction and relocation, not to mention the years of threats and underhand tactics used by councils to terrorise and degrade communities before demolishing their homes. Lambeth Council’s plans for Macintosh Court are nothing less than an attack on the security, dignity, well-being and even the lives of its 50 residents. It reveals not only the ruthlessness of Lambeth Council and the lengths it will go to get its hands on the land our homes are built on, but also the truth behind the so-called regeneration programme it is pursuing on estates across the borough.

Fortunately, these eviction plans were thwarted in May 2015 when the estate, following a campaign by residents and their supporters, was given a Grade II listing by Historic England. This protects the exterior walls of the estate from demolition, and the grounds and its gardens from being built on. It does not, however, stop Lambeth Council from gutting the interior and turning the homes into, for instance, luxury apartments, much as is being done in Tower Hamlets with Balfron Tower, and with the same consequences for existing residents.

To the surprise of residents, therefore, at the meeting on 13 June, David Warrell, Lead Commissioner at Lambeth Council, announced that they were no longer intending to demolish the estate. Instead, they would be recommending to Cabinet in July that 269 Leigham Court Road be refurbished as what they call ‘Extra Care Housing’.

For some time now residents have not had 24-hour on-site care. The previous wardens had asked for a pay rise, and Lambeth Council had responded by first withdrawing services, then used this excuse to argue that the estate was no longer ‘fit for purpose’. Under the proposed new category of Extra Care Housing, the estate would have 24-hour onsite care. However, the staff would be provided by a private contractor, care housing being a thriving industry for our ageing population. Rather than a fixed staff that would get to know and be known by residents, care would be provided on a rotational basis by an ever-changing staff. It also raises the question of exactly who would pay for and profit from the redevelopment of the estate.

One of the reasons Lambeth gave for its original plans to demolish the estate was that they could not afford to refurbish the homes and grounds they had neglected to maintain for so many decades while receiving the rent payments to do so. At the meeting, therefore, I asked David Warrell where the money to redevelop the estate as Extra Care Housing was coming from. He wouldn’t say. I asked if the estate was to be redeveloped by Homes for Lambeth, the housing association being set up by real-estate firm Savills to demolish and redevelop six Lambeth Council estates. He categorically rejected this.

It seems reasonable to suspect, therefore, that the famously broke Council, despite having £50 million for a new Town Hall and many millions more for a Garden Bridge, will be entering into a contract with a developer, housing association, care housing business provider, builder, or indeed all of the above. That means the estate, whose current residents have secure council tenancies, will be turned, as the Council are proposing to do with many other council estates, into a housing association, with increased rents, decreased rights, and tenancies changed to yet another newly fashioned category, Lambeth’s ‘assured lifetime tenancy’. That scenario, however, is perhaps the best we can expect from Lambeth Council.

At the meeting residents were handed a consultation form and asked to say what they would like to see done to the estate in terms of refurbishment and changes. The turn around being asked of residents was extremely quick, with the consultation forms due in by 30 June. As you can imagine, after decades of neglect, managed decline and refusal by the Council to keep up maintenance, there was a loud and long response from residents about everything from leaking roofs to uncleared gutters and untrimmed trees. The ugly scaffolding the Council has erected instead of repairing the covered walkway that runs along the middle of the estate is just one example of how they have tried to degrade the estate. The lack of guttering means the land to the side of the walkway has been eroded of topsoil by the rain and the grass worn back to cracked mud.

One might think, therefore, that Lambeth’s proposal to refurbish is a welcome one. Indeed it is. However, I said the raised rents and reduced rights of a housing association is the best we could hope from Lambeth. The worst is very much worse.

Cressingham Gardens estate in Brixton was first put forward for refurbishment seven years ago. After residents obliged the Council with page after page of repair requests and complaints, Lambeth upgraded the refurbishment proposal to a regeneration plan. A few months ago, the Cabinet made its final decision to demolish the estate.

The residents of Macintosh Court, named by residents after more than forty years at Open Garden Estates this weekend, should always remember Lambeth Council’s original plan was to evict them from their homes, demolish those homes, and replace them with luxury apartments. If residents provide them with the reasons for doing so, Lambeth Council may be able to argue that the existing homes are not fit for purpose, as they originally argued, that the cost of refurbishing them to the Extra Care Home standard they have fabricated is prohibitive, and hand the estate over to Homes for Lambeth or another housing association for redevelopment, gutting the interiors and refurbishing them as the originally intended ‘other homes’ for the wealthy investors and middle-class residents the Council is so open about attracting to the borough.

The former tactics have been used by Lambeth Council at Cressingham Gardens; the latter strategy by Tower Hamlets Council at Balfron Tower.

Residents should never forget that it is they, and their campaign for their homes, that got the estate listed, and which forced Lambeth Council to change their original plans to evict residents and demolish their homes. But it would be naïve of us to think the same Council has now abandoned its plans for this much sought-after patch of green land in Streatham.

I said that the best we could hope for from Lambeth Council was the raised rents and reduced rights of a housing association, and the extra care homes of a private contractor. That doesn’t mean residents should accept the best the Council has to offer, which is very much less than they currently have.

It is essential to the future of Macintosh Court and its residents that they continue to campaign not only for the continued preservation of the exterior of the estate, but also:

  1. For the refurbishment of the estate’s interiors for residents’ needs;
  2. For the continued residency of existing residents on the estate;
  3. For the same tenure and security existing residents currently enjoy; and
  4. For the quality of 24-hour care existing and future residents deserve.

To this end, ASH strongly recommends that when filling out the consultation forms for Lambeth Council, in addition to listing the much-needed repairs and maintenance of the homes and their grounds, residents also stress:

  1. How fit for purpose as sheltered housing for the elderly the estate is;
  2. How well-designed it is for the needs of current residents; and 
  3. How much individual residents rely on the long-standing and strong community that has grown together over many years on Macintosh Court for their peace of mind, their emotional support, their health and well-being, for comradeship and solidarity.

A great victory over greed and money has been won. This weekend was a celebration of what has been achieved by the residents of Macintosh Court. Their bravery and their willingness to fight is an example to us all. We salute you! But the campaign is not over. As Kate Macintosh, the architect of Macintosh Court, said on Sunday: ‘This is not the end of the campaign. This is the beginning.’

ASH will continue to support you in your fight for homes, security, care and dignity.

Long live the Macintosh Court community!

Architects for Social Housing

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Deirdre Shaw, the resilient resident who, with one hand holding her walking stick and the other gripping her pen, has led the campaign to save the sheltered housing at Macintosh Court.

Open Garden Estates 2016

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Open Garden Estates is an initiative by Architects for Social Housing (ASH), a collective working to save London council estates under threat of demolition from Government housing policy, the Mayor’s building programme, local authority estate regeneration schemes and property developers.

Last year, Open Garden Estates was hosted by three council estates: Cressingham Gardens, designed by Ted Hollamby; Central Hill, by Rosemary Stjernstedt; and Knight’s Walk, by George Finch. All three estates are under threat of demolition by Lambeth Labour Council.

This year, over the weekend of 18-19 June, ASH is exporting Open Garden Estates across London, and a dozen estates have signed up, including Macintosh Court, Silchester and Lancaster West, Somerstown, Old Tidemill Gardens and Crossfields, Alton East and West, Ravensbury Grove, Warwick Road, Granville and Edmundsbury estates.

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Architects for Social Housing: Open Garden Estates

Over the weekend of 13-14 June of this year, three Lambeth housing estates earmarked for regeneration, Cressingham Gardens, Central Hill and Knight’s Walk, hosted Open Garden Estates, an event organised by Architects for Social Housing (ASH). Founded by architect Geraldine Dening in order to respond architecturally to London’s housing crisis, ASH is a collective of architects, urban designers, engineers, planners, academics, theatre directors, photographers, writers and housing activists operating with developing ideas under set principles. First among these is the conviction that infill, build-over and refurbishment are more sustainable solutions to London’s housing needs than the demolition of the city’s council estates – enabling the continued existence of the communities they house. ASH offers support, advice and expertise to residents who feel their interests are not being represented by local councils or housing associations during the regeneration process. ASH’s primary responsibility is to existing residents – tenants and leaseholders alike; but it is also committed to finding viable alternatives to developer-led regeneration – alternatives that are in the interests of the wider London community.

From Housing Estate to Brownfield Land

Open Garden Estates was part of ASH’s ongoing attempt to banish the myths of council estates disseminated in the media. Invited by ASH to visit Cressingham Gardens on the border of Brixton’s Brockwell Park, a journalist from The Independent on Sunday expressed her surprise at its green spaces and strong community when she expected, she said, ‘discarded syringes’. It is this pervasive image of housing estates as concrete jungles, as ‘notorious’ and ‘doomed’ sink estates, where living conditions are ‘scandalous’ and ‘chronically bad’, that is at the heart of the proposal, in the recently published Adonis report, to rebrand all existing housing estates in Greater London as ‘brownfield land.’[1]

This term is used in urban planning to describe former industrial land, often contaminated by hazardous waste or pollution, that requires ‘cleaning up’ before being used for new developments. Greenwich Peninsula, once the site of the largest gasworks in Europe, is an example of such a site currently being redeveloped by the Hong Kong investment company Knight Dragon. In the Adonis report, however, the contaminants that require cleaning up are the hundreds of thousands of Londoners that currently live on what it estimates are the 3,500 housing estates in Greater London.

When employed to describe their mostly working-class residents, already demonised by a concerted campaign in our media and entertainment industries, this language of waste and pollution has dark parallels with the discourse of degeneracy and disease employed in ethnic cleansing. It is not hyperbole to describe these plans as ‘social cleansing’. 50,000 London families, upwards of 150,000 people, have been forcibly deported from their boroughs in the past three years: some to outer boroughs, most out of the city altogether, to Manchester, Bradford, Hastings, Pembrokeshire, Dover and Plymouth, all to make way for up-market developments far beyond the pockets of the local communities.[2]

Housing Policy and the Adonis Report

The Adonis report, produced for the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), was sponsored by the Peabody Trust, one of the housing associations to which the report recommends councils transferring their ‘stock’; so its claims for ‘independence’ are as creditable as its description of planned new developments as ‘affordable.’ It sets out very clearly what will potentially mean the demolition of every housing estate in Greater London. Yet in a report inundated with arguments about the prohibitive cost of refurbishment against the financial viability of redevelopment, not once does it mention how many hundreds of thousands of Londoners will be evicted and made homeless by its socially and architecturally regressive dream of ‘City Villages’.

If we are to judge by the speech Brandon Lewis gave to the London Real Estate Forum following his appointment as Minister of State for Housing and Planning, these proposals have already been taken on board.[3] Behind his concern for tackling, as he put it, ‘the deprivation that blights the lives of residents in these estates’, the Minister plans an unprecedented land grab for his backers and financiers in the building industry. The terminology, justifications and tactics expressed in his speech are drawn lock, stock and eviction notice from the Adonis Report, showing that the latter’s suggestion that London’s housing estates be recategorised as brownfield land will shortly become government policy – if it isn’t already. The Chancellor’s emergency budget outlined his intentions to introduce stronger compulsory purchase powers over brownfield land, as well as devolving planning powers to the London Mayor.

And yet, who has heard about it? The mainstream press won’t touch the truth about estate regeneration. With the occasional exceptions, when housing is raised in the press it is in order to reinforce in the minds of readers the presiding image of run-down sink estates as havens of crime and anti-social behaviour that has little in common with the strong communities that live there. If some council estates require refurbishment, it’s because they have been systematically run down by the withdrawal of essential maintenance by councils and housing associations over many years. Yet even this is not a genuine reason to recategorise people’s existing homes as brownfield land, as there is no intention of replacing them with new homes their current tenants could possibly afford. The stereotype is false not only in its description of council estates but also in its use to further a very different agenda to the one in whose service it is being employed.

PRP, the architectural practice chosen by Lambeth for the redevelopment of the Ted Hollamby-designed Central Hill estate, adopted this tactic when they began their supposed consultation with residents by publishing a photograph on Twitter of a walkway at night with the exclamation: ‘Would you walk down this alleyway!’ The article on Open Garden Estates for The Independent on Sunday was cut in half on publication, presumably by an editor scared of the potential financial implications to London’s property-owning classes. And a version of this article, commissioned by the Architects’ Journal in response to the Adonis report, was so cut by its editors, who removed all reference to the political motivations behind its proposal, that ASH was forced to withdraw it from publication.

Estate Regeneration and the Dismantling of the State

First some lies. In the Newspeak of our Orwellian times, ‘regeneration’ means redevelopment. This was confirmed by Matthew Barnett, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Housing, when at a meeting with residents of Knight’s Walk he defined regeneration as ‘building to a high density in order to have more homes for council rent to address the housing crisis.’ However, the redevelopment of housing estates is not driven by the desire to address the housing needs of people on council waiting lists, as is repeatedly put forward by councils, and not only Lambeth’s, unable to provide even projected figures for how many new homes at social rent will be generated from the ruins of the current council homes. Contrary to what residents are told by politicians, borough councils, housing associations and the architectural practices in their employ, the last thing on the minds of property developers is re-housing tenants on council rental rates – not when the land their homes sit on is some of the most valuable in the world.

Nor is the choice to demolish existing estates driven by the punitive costs of refurbishment – not when the eviction, demolition and redevelopment of the Heygate and Aylesbury estates, both models of ‘regeneration’, will cost many times more than they would have to refurbish and maintain. The Six Acres estate in Finsbury Park, built at the same time as the Heygate and Aylesbury by the same contractors using the same system, was refurbished by Islington Council in 2012 at a cost of around £10,000 per dwelling. This is many times less than the projected £60,000 per dwelling Southwark Council is spending on emptying, demolishing and redeveloping the Aylesbury estate.[4] So, what is driving estate regeneration?

Our belief at ASH is this. In addition to the enormous economic incentives for property developers, housing associations and financial investors eager to profit from London’s exorbitant land values, the policy of demolishing London’s housing estates is also the keystone in this government’s crusade to dismantle the welfare state built by Labour after the Second World War. It is clear that the Tories want to erase everything the housing estates of the 1960s and 1970s stood for – the NHS, state benefits, pensions and education, publicly owned utilities, transport and industry – everything, in fact, that might remind the people of Britain that there is another social contract than the one currently being forced upon us. To this end, not only must the greatest source of working-class housing in London be reduced to rubble and their often significantly lower quality replacements priced at a level few Londoners – let alone working class Londoners – will be able to afford, but the very concept of council housing must become impossible to imagine again. These plans, which are already a reality, to evict an entire class of people will see the greatest change to the topography and demographics of London in generations.

Given the uniform adoption of this neo-liberal agenda by all parliamentary parties, it is hardly surprising that the largest assault on social housing is being pursued by Labour councils; or that the architect of this policy, the Labour Peer Lord Adonis, was himself raised on a Camden council estate. In 1979 the Czech novelist Milan Kundera wrote: ‘The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting’. It is vital to the living future of London and Londoners that we remember a vision of social housing whose planned erasure from the cityscape is the blank canvas of memory on which the housing commodities of the present are being built. So, what can architects do?

Architects for Social Housing

Speaking of Dawson’s Heights, the extraordinary estate she designed in Dulwich in the mid-1960s, Kate Macintosh, who spoke at Open Garden Estates, said: ‘Central to all housing design is the balance between the expression of the individual dwelling and the cohesion and integration of the entire group.’[5] This vision of architecture as social model rather than financial asset is more than ever relevant today, when architects have so readily yielded their agency to property developers, financiers and politicians. It is time for architects to defend London’s council estates and learn from their vision of the role of architecture in society. It’s time for architects to choose whose side they are on.

ASH operates on three levels of activity: architecture, propaganda and community.

1) We propose architectural alternatives to estate demolition through designs for infill, build-over and refurbishment. The plans being drawn up by ASH for Knight’s Walk, Cressingham Gardens and Central Hill, designed in consultation with residents, are examples of such proposals.

2) We disseminate information that aims to counter negative perceptions about social housing in the minds of the public and relevant interest groups using a variety of means, including protest. The protest and accompanying manifesto with Fight4Aylesbury at the recent AJ120 Awards was an example of such an action.[6]

3) We support estate communities in their resistance to the demolition of their homes by working with residents, offering ideas and information from a reservoir of knowledge and tactics pooled from similar campaigns. Open Garden Estates was an example of such an initiative.

Open Garden Estates

The form taken by each Open Garden event was particular to the estate that hosted it, reflecting the character of the community that lives there and their campaign to save their homes:

Cressingham Gardens, in Brixton, held Tenants and Residents Association-guided tours of the communal gardens, while ASH facilitated a workshop with residents on the potential redevelopment of blocks of flats that have stood empty and bricked up for sixteen years.

Save Central Hill Community, in Crystal Palace, held a barbeque on the slopes that surround their sports and playground facilities, a grass amphitheatre on which over a hundred residents and visitors discussed their campaign between guided tours of the estate’s communal green spaces and private gardens, all of which had been especially opened for the weekend.

Hands off Knight’s Walk, a much smaller estate in Kennington, opened several of its unique interior courtyard-gardens to the public for guided tours that culminated with a talk delivered by Kate Macintosh, who was celebrating the recent listing of Leigham Court Road.[7]

The success of Open Garden Estates should be measured not only by the number of people who visited the individual estates, but also by how the respective communities made the event their own and employed it to galvanise residents in the struggle to save their homes. By both these measures, Open Garden Estates was a success.

ASH intends to pursue this and other initiatives with estates facing the threat of demolition across London, and to target architectural practices that collude in the social cleansing of the communities they house. We welcome those of you who reject this role to join us and help in finding a solution to the housing needs of Londoners.

Solutions to a ‘Crisis’

Two long, sustained and informative articles about London’s housing ‘crisis’ have been published recently: Oliver Wainwright’s ‘Revealed: how developers exploit flawed planning system to minimise affordable housing’,[8] and Rowan Moore’s ‘London: the city that ate itself’.[9] Both are well-argued and fairly objective investigations into what they are united in depicting as the inexorable economic logic and political causes of the current situation. However, in neither article will one find more than the slightest hint towards solutions to the problems they spend the remainder of their many pages analysing. Far from compelling outrage and a willingness to combat these forces in the reader, it might be argued that these articles serve precisely what they claim to be exposing, by painting what is contingent as somehow given, irreversible and unchallengeable.

This, it bears being repeated, is precisely the function of ideology: to make existing economic and social relations seem part of the natural order of things. But there is nothing natural, necessary, inexorable, irreversible or unchallengeable about what the property barons, politicians and investors feeding at the housing table are doing to our city. London’s housing ‘crisis’ is not a result of abstract faceless economic forces: it has been carefully prepared and legislated over a number of years to serve the interests and fill the pockets of those who benefit from it. If by ‘crisis’ we mean something that is out of our control, then there is no housing ‘crisis’. There is – in actuality rather than in the ideology of our society – a class war being waged through housing, and so far it is all going to plan. The so-called ‘crisis’ is well in hand. The sooner liberals with an unshakeable faith in democracy, market forces, common sense, human decency and all the other illusions of their political class wake up to this reality, the sooner we can start coming up with ways to fight back.

We can start by stopping doing what these articles perhaps unwittingly perpetuate, which is analysing this so-called crisis in the terms put forward by those that created it – of profit-incentives and market forces, deregulation and financial viability – as if this were the ground we should be fighting on. It isn’t. An enemy that is free to choose his own ground has already won half the battle. We need to start putting forward our own terms, choosing our own ground, rather than fighting for the scraps our masters let fall from their table. Only then will we be in a position to win this war. Then we need to get out there and win it.

As the former Finance Minister for Greece, Yanis Varoufakis, said about the ongoing attempts by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, three of the most powerful unelected institutions in the world, to bring down a democratically elected radical left government through imposing austerity measures even harsher than those being imposed on the people of Britain, ‘This is not an economic crisis. This is a political crisis.’[10]

Simon Elmer
Architects for Social Housing

NOTES

[1]. Andrew Adonis and Bill Davies, eds. City Villages: More homes, better communities (24 March, 2015) http://www.ippr.org/publications/city-villages-more-homes-better-communities.

[2]. Daniel Douglas, The Independent (29 April, 2015). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/over-50000-families-shipped-out-of-london-in-the-past-three-years-due-to-welfare-cuts-and-soaring-rents-10213854.html.

[3]. ‘Brandon Lewis speaks at the London Real Estate Forum’ (12 June, 2015) https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/brandon-lewis-speaks-at-the-london-real-estate-forum.

[4]. ‘Aylesbury Estate – Facts and Figures’, Better Elephant (6 February, 2015) http://betterelephant.org/blog/2015/02/06/aylesbury-estate-facts-and-figures/.

[5]. Kate Macintosh, ‘Dawson’s Heights’, Utopia London (2010) http://www.utopialondon.com/dawsons-heights.

[6]. Colin Marrs, ‘Architects under Attack’, The Architects’ Journal (12 June, 2015) http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/architects-under-attack-why-the-profession-stands-accused-of-social-cleansing/8684530.article.

[7]. Kate Macintosh, ‘Public wealth is being transferred to the pockets of property speculators’, The Architects’ Journal (23 June, 2015) http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/public-wealth-is-being-transferred-to-the-pockets-of-property-speculators/8685170.article?blocktitle=Comment-&-analysis&contentID=7001

[8]. Oliver Wainwright, ‘Revealed’, The Guardian (25 June, 2015), http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/jun/25/london-developers-viability-planning-affordable-social-housing-regeneration-oliver-wainwright;

[9]. Rowan Moore, ‘London’, The Observer (28 June, 2015), http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/28/london-the-city-that-ate-itself-rowan-moore.

[10]. Guy Johnson, ‘Varoufakis says he will quit if Greeks vote “yes”’, Bloomberg Business (2 July, 2015) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-07-02/varoufakis-says-he-will-quit-if-greeks-vote-yes-.

Reprinted in: Open Democracy – Architects for Social Housing: fighting a political ‘crisis’

Cressingham Gardens: Pilot workshop on open spaces

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Over the weekend of 13-14 June, as part of Open Garden Estates, ASH undertook a pilot workshop at Cressingham Gardens run by Georgie and Emily from Attic. This was focused on Cressingham’s extensive green spaces and gave us a chance to be briefed by residents and members of the Save Cressingham Gardens campaign, and begin talking with others about important parts and issues on the estate as well as understanding their own involvement with the campaign.

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During the afternoon older kids experimented with photographing (above), filming and recording various parts of Cressingham, and ASH were given a tour by a resident of 9 years in his electric wheelchair to plot out potential new access routes.

The last part of the workshop was a frantic but very enjoyable drawing session with the very youngest residents, maybe not a ‘consultation’ in itself,  but sessions like this are are hugely valuable in understanding dynamics, how residents use the estate currently, and most simply in providing an activity for kids, over which parents can talk, discuss resisting demolition, learn more about the campaign if they were new to the community or in one case just meet their neighbours for the first time.

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Central Hill: Open Garden Estates

Central Hill participated in Open Garden Estates on the 13th June, hosting walking tours of the estate, a barbecue, Marxist puppet show, seed planting and plenty of discussion!

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The walking tours were very popular, with approximately 100 people talking part on the tours. ASH exhibited some of the posters they had been working on relating to Lambeth’s policies and housing issues.

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ASH member Senaka Weeraman presented blue plaques he had made for Ted Hollamby and Rosemary Sternstadt, architects of the estate.

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