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By Owen Hatherley

An anatomy of failed-state Britain, by means of the writer of A consultant to the hot Ruins of significant Britain.

In A advisor to the hot Ruins of serious Britain, Owen Hatherley skewered New Labour’s architectural legacy in all its witless swagger. Now, within the 12 months of the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, he units out to explain what the Coalition’s altogether varied method of financial mismanagement and civic irresponsibility is doing to the locations the place the British dwell.

In a trip that starts and results in the capital, Hatherley takes us from Plymouth and Brighton to Belfast and Aberdeen, when it comes to the eerie urbanism of the Welsh valleys and the much-mocked splendour of modernist Coventry. in every single place outdoors the synthetic Southeast, the construction has stopped in cities and towns, which languish as they stay up for the following bout of self-defeating austerity.

Hatherley writes with unrivalled aggression concerning the disarray of recent Britain, and but this is still a publication approximately percentages remembered, approximately not going successes in the middle of possible inexorable failure. For in addition to trash, historical and smooth, Hatherley reveals indicators of the hopeful kingdom Britain as soon as used to be and tricks of what it may become.
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Extra resources for A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban Britain

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The purpose of this seemed pretty opaque until students started erecting the tents on the space – several small ones to sleep in, and one large marquee, which was then draped with political banners, ranging xli a new kind of ble a k from direct slogans, oblique pronouncements and at one point, some art-historical point-making, with banners adapting imagery from Paul McCarthy and others. The Middlesex protests ended in a partial victory, with the Philosophy Department and most of its students being taken on by (the equally suburban ex-Poly) Kingston University.

Partly that’s because of the way that many of the factories have become exhibits of themselves – one enormous shed houses various big lumps of metal as permanent, open ornaments, though it’s the thuggishly powerful steel frame that catches the eye. Industrial wreckage – cranes, presses, guns, scattered about at random – is more a feature of the space than sententious public art, which is right and good. The architecture is more complete, more vivid, than at Woolwich. But what makes it interesting, almost exciting even, is that there are things actually 5 a new kind of ble a k being built here as well.

The cost has risen over fivefold, and is hence a matter of some controversy. When I looked at the construction site of the Elbphilharmonie, rather than high-rent high-spec apartments for millionaires, I could see ads for bedsits, aimed at the building workers who are erecting this enormously complex edifice. They are at least going cheap, although the rate ‘per person/night’ implies that they aren’t supposed to stay there very long. Many are in both German and Polish, so readable by the workers from New Europe who are actually building the place.

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