Privatising / privatisation of public spaces

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  • Privatisation of London's public spaces is, of course, nothing new. We've had numerous developments featuring thoroughfares that, while accessible to the public, are actually privately owned. In former centuries, this included fairly innocent developments like shopping arcades, as well as less innocent ones like gated estates (still going strong and being newly created hundreds of years later) then expanded during the 20th century to American-style shopping malls, and around the turn of the century and in the 21st century has increasingly meant developments on land assembled from smaller plots that property companies purchased over long timescales, in some cases decades, and turned into developments like MORE London.

    It is actually not in the interest of private property companies to then close such developments completely to the public by creating impermeable blocks; commercial activity is generated by accessibility to active commercial frontages. An area like Soho is a good example of this. Hence, thoroughfares that maximise availability of frontages are typically created in such developments. These feature their own 'rules', which usually differ from those in publicly-owned spaces. For instance, cycling is prohibited across MORE London.

    More recently we've had the outrageous 'Garden Bridge' proposals and evident malfeasance by persons in authority and/or public office connected with it. This thread, however, was prompted by this:

    standard.co.uk/news/london/ch­ristian-candys-plans-to-turn-road-outsid­e-his-200m-mansion-into-a-garden-are-blo­cked-a3340896.html

  • more prosaically - this:

    themall.co.uk/media/396887/16­0331_1061-_walthamstow-consultation-boar­ds-final-draft_v20.pdf

    ok, selborne walk is not great as it is however recent developments such as the Solum partnership that saw a rather ugly travelodge spring up by the station have failed to provide significant improvements to public spaces.

    what about some meaningful tree planting? what about some proper landscaping? all we've got so far is a bloody wind tunnel outside the station.

    waiting to see if this one is any better.

  • Ah, so this is meant to be plonked on top of Walthamstow Town Square Gardens, demolishing some of the existing mall and adding new build to it?

    While I don't necessarily object to mixed-use development, I think tower blocks exercise a negative influence on the ambience of public spaces.

    You can see how pdfs like that don't tell the whole story--I find it difficult to get a handle on what the elements are supposed to be from it. It doesn't tell any of the history, e.g. what land deals there were.

    It appears as if the land hasn't been sold yet? I find it deeply problematic if planning applications for public land go in and are later followed by a land sale. Is that the case here?

  • It's not at all clear - apparently they haven't even made a planning application yet. It seems that the strategy is to publicise the plans first and then negotiate with the council.

    The proposals talk about 2000 new homes; TfL better be thinking about how to increase capacity at walthamstow central. They have already removed the barriers at the top of the escalators but ultimately will need to create a new exit - perhaps at the london end of the platforms which could emerge somewhere in the vicinity of the proposed development.

  • It's not at all clear - apparently they haven't even made a planning application yet. It seems that the strategy is to publicise the plans first and then negotiate with the council.

    That's what I thought, but I was wondering whether there had already been an understanding with the council that they would be willing to sell the land. This happens sometimes and is currently 'legitimised' by London's ridiculous housebuilding targets.

  • I do agree that it all needs to be carefully considered but large private development does seem to be able to deliver things that small-scale development would find impossible - for example all the lovely car-free space at King's Cross.

    As for tower blocks - if the choice if between super high density neighbourhoods (which you can walk or bike around) or losing more green space to expand the depressing suburbs then I'm all for tower blocks.

    The more good homes, jobs, shops and attractions there are inside the circle line the more people will feel like living here rather than commuting in and blocking up the roads.

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Privatising / privatisation of public spaces

Posted by Avatar for Oliver Schick @Oliver Schick

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