In the first of a series on the changing nature of urban space, academic geographer and gonzo urbanist Bradley L Garrett discusses ‘Pops’ – privately owned public spaces – and asks who our cities are really for
I was recently sent a link to a YouTube video entitled We Too, in which a trespasser sneaks into the under-construction, 34-storey Lexicon skyscraper near the Silicon Roundabout in London, and pitches a tent on the top floor.
In the video, after a good night’s sleep, the interloper unzips the front flap of the shelter and steps into the early-morning air. The city unfolds before him in a stunning vista, suggesting the view that future occupants of the skyscraper will enjoy – or, more likely in London, the view that international investors will use as a selling point when they put the flat back on the market after a few years of not living in it.
Despite multiple objections from politicians, the construction of 'Pops' is continuing to escalate and expand
When space is controlled, we tend to police ourselves, to monitor our behaviour and to limit our interactions
Direct action against the loss of public space would echo the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in 1932
Related: London's public and private spaces – can you spot the difference? Quiz Continue reading...