Monday, April 10, 2006

Tart Poo

Hana on Tart Poo.

"Stifling bureaucracy and lack of infrastructure are making the redevelopment of the Thames Gateway and Greater Manchester unsustainable..."

Hana commented on an earlier post of mine that she thought that it was too late to involve the people that will be living in the proposed Thames Gateway developments in its design.

While I lack her obvious experience on this, I really can't see why the housing and the neighbourhoods planned around the Olympics infrastructure can't be tweaked at this stage? I understand that there is scant navel-gazing time for the exact infrastructure around the events; But surely the way to ensure that the areas are a bit more sustainable would be to do something - after all the development is planned over a twenty-year period.


1 comment:

HL said...

Hello again!

well...Let's straighten up a couple of things. I don't think it is too late at all to get the communities in most of the Thames Gateway (all 80,000 hectares, lets remember) contributing to the decision-making and planning process. I do in the Olympics zone and the core areas around it (Stratford City, probably and sadly for me Bromley-by-Bow, Canning Town and Leamouth) where athletes will need to be housed, tourists and sponsors put in hotels, all the poor people hidden behind Potemkin facades, etc...

I do think that in the other areas which haven't yet been parcelled off to developers (and actually, most of it already has) there are some real opportunities. Especially in areas like Thurrock (where we did a project) and Kent. London is more difficult.

My current attitude is that 'consultation' is the wrong way to do it; that's a reactive process that doesn't actually involve local people in being creative, only in saying 'yes' or 'no' to questionaires. Rather we advocate (and practice) a form of sensitized local engagement on all sorts of levels that we call creative characterisation or mapping - a fine grain analysis of the area through not only its physical and environmental characteristics but also through actually talking to people on the street. While still being able to work mostly within the usual processes of professional masterplanning etc, because my experience in this area is that trying to turn the world upside down doesn't work.

A wider scale attempt to get the public involved in visioning the future requires political will and money and time that isn't going to happen, which is why we take this more back-door approach to listening to local people. The process is snowballing and going forward, and attempts to campaign to stop it just aren't going to work - the people who live in the Gateway don't have the time or energy, and aren't actually threatened enough but what's happening (after all, one of the aims is to make their lives better too). I would just like to see better planning and masterplanning that is more sensitized and respectful, as well as more realistic about the infrastructural needs that the report I blogged brought up.