By Owen Hatherley
An anatomy of failed-state Britain, by way of the writer of A consultant to the recent Ruins of significant Britain.
In A consultant to the recent Ruins of significant Britain, Owen Hatherley skewered New Labour’s architectural legacy in all its witless swagger. Now, within the yr of the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, he units out to explain what the Coalition’s altogether diversified method of fiscal mismanagement and civic irresponsibility is doing to the areas 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, in terms of the eerie urbanism of the Welsh valleys and the much-mocked splendour of modernist Coventry. all over open air the factitious Southeast, the development has stopped in cities and towns, which languish as they look forward to the subsequent bout of self-defeating austerity.
Hatherley writes with unrivalled aggression in regards to the disarray of recent Britain, and but this continues to be a publication approximately chances remembered, approximately not likely successes in the course of possible inexorable failure. For in addition to trash, historic and glossy, Hatherley reveals symptoms of the hopeful state Britain as soon as was once and tricks of what it may well become.
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Additional resources for A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban Britain
For over a week, Trent Park became a ‘Transversal Space’, which is to say a Free University, with speeches and actions taking place inside the usual University spaces. The thing with Middlesex, and what made it so unlike occupations at SOAS or LSE, is that the place is already the model of the neoliberal university – totally dispersed, totally atomized, with no particular Traditions of Glorious Rebellion. If, as Mark Fisher argued in his book Capitalist Realism, the 2006 student protests over employment laws in France were easily presented as conservative attempts to retain privileges, Middlesex, and the protests of winter 2010, are the exact opposite – rather, they are what happens when an already neoliberalized student body tries to politicize itself.
The advertisements for Middlesex courses at nearby tube stations are a literal facialization of the neoliberal student as a series of demands, alternately hedonistic and utilitarian, and always grimly conformist. Headed by ‘I want to be more employable’, it continues thus: ‘I want to be the best. I want to do my own thing. I want to excel. I want to go to the gym. I want to study business law. I want to see West End shows. ’ For over a week, Trent Park became a ‘Transversal Space’, which is to say a Free University, with speeches and actions taking place inside the usual University spaces.
Their use of space is equally fearless. The first major explosion around the programme of drastic education cuts – well before the trebling of fees was announced – was at the University of Middlesex in April 2010. The coalition’s aggressively philistine and class-driven rhetoric was amply foreshadowed here, in the closing of the college’s most xxxix a new kind of ble a k successful programme: its Continental Philosophy department, a programme encouraging critical thinking which was clearly considered surplus to requirements at an ex-Polytechnic orienting itself towards Business, or lucrative overseas campuses in Dubai and Mauritius, spreading itself to the ‘emerging economies’ like any architectural firm.
A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban Britain by Owen Hatherley