There’s an interesting blog on the Daily Post’s website by
Peter Elson concerning a book by Anna Minton that looks at the built environment in the UK, taking in a look at Liverpool One and its effects in Liverpool.
GROUND Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty First Century investigates ownership of various projects around the city, most notably the mass demolition of houses down Edge Lane and Liverpool One.
These projects are funded and owned by private money and the potential ramifications of leaving town planning to people for whom the bottom line is the, er, bottom line.
There are clear pros and cons to these huge investments of private cash into the city, but the clear danger is in building estates that pander to commercial needs, rather than the needs of society.
Minton outlines the disconnect between local people and the architecture that is taking the place of the city’s heritage and history.
“It’s not bad that it poured lots of money into Liverpool, but why do the streets have to be private for good shopping?“This is a shopping centre model to get as many people in to spend as much as possible. It’s not about those in England’s poorest city.“What were public spaces are now there to be bought, sold and spun.”
In some ways it’s easy to write off concerns like this as rather wet liberal whingeing, but the quotes in the article seem to reveal the very real alienation that local people feel towards these huge projects. Could these buildings actually be creating fear and distrust?
Liverpool One’s very obvious effect on other retail areas of the city is another current problem, but the long-term effects of this corporate-driven urban planing may only be known when it is far too late to do anything about it.