3 October 2009
GROUND CONTROL - fear and happiness in the XXIst century city - Anna Minton
Britons are increasingly aware of living in a society plagued by fear and unhappiness. Could our towns and cities be the cause? GROUND CONTROL is an in-depth and passionate exploration of the state of Britain today, revealing how the market place has taken control from the local electorate. Now, untested urban planning has transformed not only our cities, but the very nature of public space, of citizenship and of trust.
More property is being built in Britain than at any time since WW2 - from high security gated apartment developments, gleaming business districts and plazas, to homogeneous city centres. However, Anna Minton argues that this 'regeneration' actually has a negative impact on our lives, because it is the result of private companies wresting control away from local government, creating spaces designed for profit and watched over by CCTV.
From Liverpool to Manchester, London to Newcastle, more and more streets owned by private companies with the sole aim of making money and homes are left to deliberately fall into dereliction so the land can be bought cheaply, imposing skyscrapers and fortress-like developments which not only provide physical barriers but engineer fear and mistrust. Yet there is another way. Offering some surprising solutions, Anna Minton argues for an alternative, continental approach that celebrates a socially cohesive and shared public space and will reinvigorate our civic engagement.