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What happens when ruination overtakes regeneration? Following on from A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, Owen Hatherley investigates the fate of British cities in the desolate new world of savage public-sector cuts, when government funds are withdrawn and the Welfare State abdicates. He explores the urban consequences of what Conservatives privately call the “progressive nonsense” of the Big Society and “the localism agenda,” the putative replacement of the state with charity and voluntarism; and he casts an eye over the last great Blairite schemes limping to completion, from London’s Shard to the site of the 2012 Olympics. Crisscrossing Britain from Aberdeen to Plymouth, from Croydon to Belfast, A New Kind of Bleak finds a landscape left to rot—and discovers strange and potentially radical things growing in the wasteland.
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About the Author
New Statesman. He blogs on political aesthetics at nastybrutalistandshort.blogspot.com.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Will There Still Be Building, in the Dark Times? xi
The Thames Gateway: One of the Dark Places of the Earth 1
Teesside: Infantilized Hercules 37
Preston: Nothing Great but Man 59
Barrow-In-Furness: Diving for Pearls 81
The Metropolitan Country of the West Midlands: The Patchwork Explains, the Land Is Unchanged 91
Briston: The Tyranny of Structurelessness 133
Brighton and Hove: On Parade 149
Croydon: Zone 5 Strategy 163
Plymouth: Fables of the Reconstruction 177
Oxford: Quadrangle and Banlieue 191
Leicester: Another Middle England 209
Lincoln: Between Two Cathedrals 225
The Vallelys: I Am a Pioneer, They Call Me Primitive 235
Edinburgh: Capital (It Fails Us Now) 249
Aberdeen: Where the Money Went 273
From Govan to Cumbernauld: Was the Solution Worse than the Problem? 285
Belfast: We are not Going Away 311
The City of London: The Beginning is Nigh 333
Index of Places 377