Oliver Wainwright: Sell-out Cities – How London was trampled by developers
London has sold out. Across the capital, property developers are transforming entire swaths of the city into exclusive private enclaves, where homes are conceived not as places to live but as assets for unbridled financial speculation. As the state has progressively retreated, and council housing has become all but extinct, the provision of affordable housing has fallen on the market to deliver – a challenge it is clearly incapable of meeting. In the last decade alone, London has lost 8,000 social rented homes. In two years' time, there will be a million fewer affordable homes across the country than there were in 1980, while the population will have increased by seven million in the same period. At the same time, the planning system has been utterly bulldozed: once predicted on ensuring the best use of land, it has become a system solely about safeguarding the profits of developers.
In this lecture, Oliver Wainwright will unpick the forces that are making the city a meaner and more divided place, as public assets are relentlessly sold off and entire council estates flattened to make room for silos of luxury safe-deposit boxes in the sky. Across the city, policies are continually flouted, affordable housing quotas waived, height limits breached and the interests of residents endlessly trampled, as our streets are bullied by ever more bloated developments. From the slippery spreadsheets of “viability assessments” to the exploitation of planning loopholes, Wainwright will shine a light on the darker sides of how the city gets made – and ask what alternatives we might offer.
Respondent is Ewald Engelen, Professor of Financial Geography at the University of Amsterdam, columnist at Follow the Money and affiliated with the Sustainable Finance Lab in Utrecht.
Oliver Wainwright is the architecture and design critic of the Guardian. He trained as an architect at the University of Cambridge and the Royal College of Art, and worked in a number of practices – including OMA in Rotterdam and muf in London – and on strategic planning issues at the Architecture and Urbanism Unit of the Greater London Authority, under Richard Rogers and Ken Livingstone. He has written extensively on architecture and design for a wide range of international publications, from Building Design and the Architects' Journal, to Icon, Domus and De Architect. He has been a judge for international architectural awards, for the RIBA and AAI, served as curatorial advisor to the Architecture Foundation, and is a regular visiting critic and lecturer at a number of architecture schools.
FRIDAY 17 JUNE
Time: 5.30 - 7 p.m.
Location: Fenixloods II, Paul Nijghkade 19, Rotterdam
Admission fee: none, provided you can produce a valid exhibition ticket.
A reservation in advance is highly recommendable and can be made here.
Every Friday afternoon, a Next Talk will take place in the auditorium of THE NEXT ECONOMY-exhibition. Radical and provocative ideas for the future of the city are given a platform. International speakers stimulate and intensify the debate about the Next Economy.
Quick bite after a Next Talk? Tasty vegetarian soups are served with bread, beer, wine and water until 10 p.m. at Gallery Robert van Oosterom. Gallery Robert van Oosterom is situated at the ground floor of the Fenixloods II, next to the IABR–2016.