with style

We could do with a few more critics like Jonathan Glancey.

The debate over quality, or lack of it, in the development of mass housing in sweeping tracts of southern England has been fuelled by Cabe, the government’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. Its chief executive, Richard Simmons, wrote in the Guardian: “Our challenge is to create the kind of neighbourhoods that people will want to live in. This is not a question of aesthetics or style.”

Oh yes it is. I would have thought that Simmons’s job was to champion the way buildings and the “built environment” look. However, as he was referring to new housing estates, or “sustainable communities” in New Labour-speak, in the Thames Gateway, a tragic fiction of a non-place in the profitable making, I suppose we must learn to forgive him.

For this stretch of sopping, strangely beautiful land along the banks of the Thames has become the dumping ground of crass new housing for poor people, many of them migrants, employed to clean up the costly messes we make in our homes, offices and public lavatories, and to stick expensive tickets on the windscreens of our cars. This is a no-go area for such trivial things as aesthetics, civility or style.

Taken from a brilliant article in The Guardian (found via ArchNewsNow)

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