A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys through Urban Britain
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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aesthetics architects architecture Barrow Belfast Birmingham Blackbird Leys Blairite Bluewater brick bridge Brighton Bristol Britain British Brutalist building Building Design Partnership built Bus Station café car park Cathedral central city centre city’s civic cladding completely concrete contemporary corner council estates council housing Coventry create Croydon Cumbernauld derelict designed East East Croydon station Edinburgh elegant entirely façade factories feel Glasgow glass Gothic green industrial inside Labour landscape least London look low-rise metropolitan Middlesbrough Midlands modernism modernist nearby neoliberal office blocks ofit ofthe pedestrian piece post-war Preston Preston Bus Station pubs railway recent red-brick redevelopment retail riots road Robin Hood Gardens roof scheme sculpture seems sheds shopping centre shopping mall skyline social sort space street structure tenements terraces Thames Gateway there’s things tion tower blocks town centre Town Hall town’s underpass urban Urban Splash Victorian walk walkways working-class Zone