- Tentacles In Suburbia
- Tentacle Tuesday: Convoluted Critters – Who's Out There?
- Art in Review; 'The New City: Sub/Urbia in Recent Photography'
- Spies of suburbia - Telegraph
Later, much smaller tracts of land, for the purpose of rounding-off the site and giving access to existing highways, were purchased from the same landlords over the course of the next five years. Until the s visits to the area on which the estate was constructed, known locally as the 'Seven Fields', often provided a weekend outing for the people of Lewisham.
Tentacles In Suburbia
Homesteads and farmland under the cultivation were still to be seen until , and the official guide to the metropolitan borough of Lewisham in that same year refers to Southend Village, at the western edge of the site, as a community which still boasted 'the survival of past rural glories'. At this time London extended only as far as Catford and Lee Green to the north of the site, although the area surrounding Grove Park Station to the east was relatively populated. Not a town or city in sight, these havens of "executive" cul-de-sac housing are, supposedly, the stuff of our dreams.
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One day, in the not too distant future, we will have covered the southern half of England and other over-stretched pockets of Britain with new suburbs. Critics of suburbia date from William Cobbett , author of Rural Rides.
Tentacle Tuesday: Convoluted Critters – Who's Out There?
As early as the s he declared, riding west from London, that "all Middlesex is ugly", a sprawl of "showy, tea-garden-like houses". Mounting criticism spawned the "garden city" movement in late Victorian England, from which the new towns of the s emerged: Stevenage, Crawley, Harlow and, from the late 60s, Milton Keynes, although this Buckinghamshire new town was as much inspired by Los Angeles as it was by Welwyn Garden City. All these were more suburbia with civic ambition than towns in the traditional sense - densely drawn and gathered around medieval church, town hall and market square.
In , in reaction to Milton Keynes, Hubert de Cronin Hastings, editorial director of the Architectural Review, published Civilia, a book that showed how it would be possible to build a contemporary version of an Italian hill town on a waste tip near Nuneaton. The idea was to demonstrate how even the land-gobbling Brits could build cities that were ecologically sound and a delight to live in. Civilia, largely ignored at the time, was an idea that came a little too early, perhaps, in a Britain obsessed with new cars and suburban-style development.
Hastings and his designer, Kenneth Browne, created an imaginary hill town in the form of collages of contemporary buildings. He pays homage to an idea that might yet save us from ourselves as we give the countryside we say we love over to the suburbia we truly cherish. It could work. Most people who get the chance to visit an Italian hill town will fall for it as readily as Romeo fell for Juliet. Delightful and ever-varied sequences of piazzas, churches, fountains, steps, Api Vespa vans , simple rendered housing, sudden flourishes of lavish Baroque, snoozing dogs, blinds rolling up and down, the clapping of pigeons' wings, windows crammed with edible treats, elderly people being treated with respect, and the dull clang of solitary church bells Several new hill towns built on wasteland are surely preferable to countless thousands of acres smothered by suburbia.
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Art in Review; 'The New City: Sub/Urbia in Recent Photography'
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Spies of suburbia - Telegraph
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