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SOCIAL

DESTRUCTION

When SOCIAL areas are DESTROYED by a lack of care


SOCIAL

DESTRUCTION

Social Destruction is a strong topic that can be discussed in the society. Its all about places that will be normally social, being destroyed. To be social is good as it helps the publics: health, stress and confidence. However places like this can be destroyed easily and this is a problem. If social areas are being destroyed, it will destroy sociable aspects. For us to keep social areas, sociable we need to take care and work on projects. Projects can be a good way to bring social life back into areas which were built for that purpose. Projects such as party in the park, picnic days and childrens fun day out. Also doing sporting/exercising events can also help out, for example: football, baseball, cricket, running, jogging, cycling. Building development can also benefit social areas. By building more sociable things, can draw out different kind of people to the area. Bringing different people of race, sex and interest, is a wonderful way of making an area social community. Demolition is the tearing-down of buildings and other structures. Demolition contrasts with deconstruction, which involves taking a building apart while carefully preserving valuable elements for re-use. For small buildings, such as houses, that are only two or three stories high, demolition is a rather simple process. The building is pulled down either manually or mechanically using large hydraulic equipment: elevated work platforms, cranes, excavators or bulldozers. Larger buildings may require the use of a wrecking ball.


THE DEFINITION OF SOCIAL: Living together in communities. Relating to human society and its modes of organization and enjoying the company of others; sociable.

THE DEFINITION OF DESTRUCTION: The act of destroying. The condition of having been destroyed.


SOCIAL

DESTRUCTION

The result is anxiety and opposition from the residents of two threatened estates, even though they have been promised new, replacement homes within the project area and that they won’t have to be “decanted” elsewhere while these are being built. The residents’ associations aspire to owning and running the

estates themselves, along the lines of the successful Walterton and Elgin Community Homes in Westminster, but the council’s now former leader Stephen Greenhalgh. No such scheme should even be scribbled on an architect’s napkin if it doesn’t put those residents first. No property developer with eyes on a profitable prize should be allowed to set foot in a town hall unless it can be

used to further that goal. All that “community” stuff it, of course, is easier said than done. It requires time, effort and commitment on the part of the planning authority concerned - initially the borough - including the councillors who represent the areas concerned. Such dilemmas must be faced, and there is no universal template for resolving them. But as the LSE’s Anne Power has remarked, the way things are just now every brick of social housing is precious. And I liked what commenter Calmeilles wrote the other week: that regeneration should be for the building, sounds about right to me.


Still, that’s the nature of the city, of participation, of democracy and of London’s ever-shifting demographic landscape. It’s all rather untidy. Untidiness makes work and sometimes crystalises tensions, as the exercise of those new neighbourhood planning powers has been demonstrating in another part of Hackney and in Bermondsey. Maybe those powers have been badly defined and are at risk of being misused by selfish, unrepresentative interests. But that wouldn’t change the fact that local insights and local strengths should be bedrock factors guiding any programme of regeneration, especially if homes, shops and familiar facilities and are being earmarked for demolition in the name of improving the lives of those who inhabit and use them.

Localism is a concept adopted by Conservatives, yet David Cameron’s favourite council, Hammersmith and Fulham, has taken the opposite approach towards the planned redevelopment of the Earls Court area to the one Dobson describes. Easy alternative options are hard to find. The recent Create Streets report, published by Policy Exchange, argued strongly that London’s high-rise social housing should be replaced with traditional streets, citing studies that find most people prefer them and adding that no present high-rise resident should be made to move. It’s an appealing thought in many ways, but demolition makes moving elsewhere unavoidable in most cases. Even if it isn’t far geographically, the psychological distance can be great.


SOCIAL

DESTRUCTION

The line between localism and nimbyism is thin to non-existent in London as elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean a London neighbourhood’s people aren’t good judges of what’s best for them. They, after all, live, work, learn, laugh, cry and die in them. They, after all, have the most pressing interest in any changes to the use of the land they occupy and know. That is often particularly so of those in the greatest danger of losing out from regeneration schemes – usually the residents and small businesses with the least wealth and power. What defines a “community” anyway? My home in Hackney of 21 years suddenly lies within a “neighbourhood area” for

which a “neighbourhood forum” is drawing up a “neighbourhood plan” that may give the community, as mapped by particular members of it, more influence over borough planning decisions, thanks to provisions in the Localism Act. The forum’s very admirable aim is to see the benefits of recent, visibly rapid, gentrification shared and its ill-effects mitigated, but residents’ post-it note contributions to a recent workshop spanned a wide spectrum of opinion: “too many hipster shops that serve no purpose to local people”; “less pizza, more Japanese food;” “shops should be serving locals,” one contributor declared; “we are all locals!” came the riposte.


“Intelligence without wisdom brings destruction.”


SOCIAL

DESTRUCTION

“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back?” W. Clement Stone


SOCIAL

DESTRUCTION

This doesn’t mean that every postwar or inter-war estate is a glorious success to be preserved in its current form forever more - far from it. Too many critics of regeneration orthodoxy weaken their own case by failing to acknowledge this, sometimes rallying round symbolic lost causes to the exclusion of all other considerations, including the wider community. Neither do they take on board the cost to boroughs (and hence to its residents) of maintaining those estates that were badly designed. It needs to be admitted that plenty of estate residents aren’t happy with where they live, and reject alternatives largely because they feel safer with the devil they know. Even in the case of Earls Court a significant minority of residents have indicated that they are receptive to the council’s redevelopment plans. None of this stuff is simple to resolve. But doing so in the right way is surely more likely if a borough’s first instinct is not to dissemble or dictate but to devolve. London’s boroughs and London’s mayor should also recognize the full social and economic costs of knocking estates, perhaps noting, en route, that many are actually quite socially mixed in any case. Easy alternative options are hard to find. The recent Create Streets report, published by Policy Exchange, argued strongly that London’s high-rise social housing should be replaced with traditional streets, citing studies that

find most people prefer them and adding that no present high-rise resident should be made to move. It’s an appealing thought in many ways, but demolition makes moving elsewhere unavoidable in most cases. Even if it isn’t far geographically, the psychological distance can be great. The “decanting” of households means their relocation to a home another household needs, and possibly being there unwillingly for years. “Right to return” promises seem to have a way of not being kept. In these days of council borrowing constraints and “affordable rent” who would meet the cost of providing like-for-like low cost replacement homes? Dismantling housing deemed unfit or “failed” by planners and politicians who don’t inhabit it has a way of producing unintended, undesirable consequences, whatever type of housing it is. And it should never, ever be done without the solid consent of the majority of people living there. It can argued that such an insistence has drawbacks – that comprehensive redevelopments enable more homes of various kinds to be built at greater densities, and that, far from being just for “the rich,” (as some opponents of demolition automatically allege) many of these could be rented by people on average London incomes who are, after all, among the many victims of the capital’s ludicrous housing crisis.


SOCIAL

DESTRUCTION

Take better CARE of SOCIAL areas


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