Sunday, 10 October 2010

Park Hill: It is what it is ...



I am currently getting to grips with Park Hill in Sheffield, preparing a talk for SUAS in December. After eight years of observing it from the tram platform, and an absence of four years, I cannot say I've grown any fonder. I am still suspicious, despite the self-laudatory rhetoric to the contrary, that such mass scale housing schemes were a form of class war by other means. It's lasting value might prove to be as a chilling totem of the mechanistic provision of the welfare state (for its original aspirations) and, in its current reconfiguration, as the supreme folly of new labour's urban regeneration policies. But then at least they had a policy ...


Its pleasures seem largely to be aesthetic, a certain yearning for the spartan muscularity common to many branches of British social life from the public schools onwards. This is probably why I find it repellant despite decades of being told to admire it, normally by people whose social origins would prevent them from ever needing to live there.


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