Friday, 13 June 2014

Generosity is the antidote

Bob Hoskins dies and his advice to his daughter is to be generous in life, as you can’t take it with you when you go.

Chris Huhne writes a piece in The Guardian about how the selfish  model – dog eat dog greed – of capitalism is worse for everyone.

Thomas Piketty’s book on the failings of capitalism and the need for a more considerate, egalitarian model for society and prosperity, is a runaway bestseller….

The case for generosity and inclusivity is badly needed at a time when, certainly in London, it feels like the city is being plundered by the very wealthy and the greedy with no thought for the cost to the rest of humanity. Vast status symbols of vanity and one-upmanship, like the Shard, designed only for the obscenely affluent to lord it over the multitudes of have-nots, are shooting up across our skylines. The most offensive of all is the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building which looms over its neighbours like a particularly loud and boorish drinks party guest, with no sense of style (and probably severe halitosis), who stands far too close to you and won’t get the hint. For owners Land Securities, this top heavy design is all about maximising views for their top floor inhabitants, no matter how much they ruin the skyline for those of us who have always enjoyed the courtly dance being played out between the ancient and modern geometries of the city – a more considerate architectural conversation which evolved when it seemed some rules of moderation applied. Badly needed homes are being constructed in Battersea, Deptford and Bankside and sold off in seconds to the highest bidder from Malaysia, Shanghai or Sharjah before anyone who actually lives and works in this city can get a look in. 

An inspiring conversation between ancient and modern - the London skyline pre Walkie-Talkie building
This blog is here to celebrate a more socially sustainable and intelligent use of design, from the creation of spaces that express and enhance the culture and connections of those who live or work there, to the thoughtful integration of new buildings into old communities in ways that help celebrate the past and work towards a more connected present - and future. It’s also a way to highlight some of the really innovative thinking in how we design and consume, knowing that we need to consume less and design more carefully (banish built-in obsolescence, encourage re-use, recycling and adaptation) in order to bring our economies and eco-system into something resembling balance.

No comments:

Post a Comment