A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban Britain

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Verso Books, Jul 31, 2012 - Political Science - 434 pages
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In A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, Owen Hatherley skewered New Labour’s architectural legacy in all its witless swagger. Now, in the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, he sets out to describe what the Coalition’s altogether different approach to economic mismanagement and civic irresponsibility is doing to the places where the British live.

In a journey that begins and ends in the capital, Hatherley takes us from Plymouth and Brighton to Belfast and Aberdeen, by way of the eerie urbanism of the Welsh valleys and the much-mocked splendour of modernist Coventry. Everywhere outside the unreal Southeast, the building has stopped in towns and cities, which languish as they wait for the next bout of self-defeating austerity.

Hatherley writes with unrivalled aggression about the disarray of modern Britain, and yet this remains a book about possibilities remembered, about unlikely successes in the midst of seemingly inexorable failure. For as well as trash, ancient and modern, Hatherley finds signs of the hopeful country Britain once was and hints of what it might become.
 

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User Review  - Ma_Washigeri - LibraryThing

I don't often give 5 stars. This one gets it for a number of reasons. First it was written recently and I love the raw feel that comes because the writer is living in the same world and same ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
xi
OXFORD
xliv
THE THAMES GATEWAY
1
TEESSIDE
37
PRESTON
59
BARROWINFURNESS
81
BRISTOL
133
BRIGHTON AND HOVE
149
Quadrangle and Banlieue
191
LEICESTER
204
LINCOLN
225
EDINBURGH
249
Where the Money Went
273
BELFAST
311
THE CITY OF LONDON
333
Acknowledgements
363

CROYDON
163
PLYMOUTH
177

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About the author (2012)

Owen Hatherley is the author of the acclaimed Militant Modernism, a defense of the modernist movement, and A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain. He writes regularly on the political aesthetics of architecture, urbanism and popular culture for a variety of publications, including Building Design, Frieze, the Guardian and the New Statesman. He blogs on political aesthetics at nastybrutalistandshort.blogspot.com.

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