Vienna – Ugly architecture?

Vienna turns away from it’s past, from it’s involvement in the war. Nazi watch towers looms over a park, with signage telling the viewer what the structure once was, barely visible. The face it puts forward is of Mozart, coffee houses, intelligent conversation. It is by it’s not recognising and actively reflecting on – and learning from – its past that today, a right wing government sits in place: we have looped back round. The introduction to the provocatively named Ugly Architecture tour, led by Eugene Quinn of Space and Place Vienna (I arrived late and there was a section…

Friends of Parks

Through a new role on the committee of Friends of Central Parks I found myself in attendance of a conference hosted by Friends of Haringey Lordship Recreation ground on the topic of Community Empowerment. The session was funded through Nesta’s initiative Rethinking Parks, which is supporting 8 projects (this being one) to develop “the most promising and innovative operating models for parks.” The contextual backdrop to this funding stream being widespread cuts to parks funding by local government (facing cuts by Central Government) and increasing threat of closure, to privatising forces. Rethinking Parks is about giving time, space and budget…

Local History Wander

Central Park Wanders. A series of themed monthly wanders around Central Park, led by a new person each month who has a specialism or passion on a particular topic or activity. The year’s line up looks like bird spotting, meditation, yoga, tree identification, local history and more. The second of the wanders, led by local history expert Hazel Perry, was focused on the history of the park. What did we learn? Central Park and some the immediately surrounding streets (Huntly, Park Street, Broadway) was developed by the Peterborough Land Company in 1876, built to house the middle classes.  Later on,…

Belgrade Waterfront Redevelopment

Blog post from 2017 written for a former blog, Wandering in Cities Belgrade Waterfront Redevelopment: to get the development through has seen the government has side step countless laws and regulations, and for which there has been zero consultation with the local community. Seen as part of Serbia’s bid to achieve a global-city status and appeal to ‘the elite’, the scheme has been initiated through a partnership made between the Serbian government and Eagle Hills, a leading Abu Dhabi-based private investment and development company, focused on the creation of new city hubs in high-growth international markets.   The development is set to encroach upon…

Arriving into the Hague

Blog post from 2017 written for Wandering in Cities I arrived into the Hague for the first time via bike. The cycle path we had taken from our point of origin, Leiden was almost entirely comprised of forest terrain. The path shrouded in dense trees and greenery, with speckles of sunshine breaking through to line the path. so beautiful you couldn’t imagine that you were accumulating miles at the same time. I wasn’t responsible for navigating our route and this meant I had little idea of the route we were taking. I was enjoying being a sheep.   Through signage along…

Amsterdam Zuid station

Blog post from 2017 written for Wandering in Cities Passing through Amsterdam Zuid station to catch the train to Leiden and I am captured by the interiors of the station – the walls of which are sporadically adorn with images of birds. Everything has an element of the unique in the Netherlands. Any social housing block, train station, public square has an original, identifying feature. An external, visual offering that marks out a place, and says to me: we are here. That tells of the people and place that exist beyond the concrete. Perhaps I lack the knowledge and cultural…

The Ducks of Oxford Business Park

Blog post from 2017 written for a former blog, Wandering in Cities Awhile back I lived in Oxford and took up adhoc agency work to make money whilst I submitted applications for things. Most of the work that came up was in offices in the Oxford Business Park, originally established purely for the BMW factories. I was immediately captivated at how utterly sterile the site was. The office blocks and entrances identical to one another, spare the simplistic plaques at the front telling you of the business residing within. Sterile roundabouts, sterile parking lots, sterile entrances and exits.Roads lined with…