In superheated London, where stratospheric land values beget accordingly bloated developments – authorities are allowing planning policies to be continually flouted, affordable housing quotas to be waived, height limits breached, the interests of residents endlessly trampled. Places are becoming ever meaner and more divided, as public assets are relentlessly sold off, entire council estates flattened to make room for silos of luxury safe-deposit boxes in the sky. We are replacing homes with investment units, to be sold overseas and never inhabited, substituting community for vacancy. The more we build, the more our cities are emptied, producing dead swathes of zombie town where the lights might never even be switched on.The Guardian's architecture and design critic Oliver Wainright discusses housing development policy in London and the new city it is ushering in. [more inside]
In seven minutes, you can see the evolution of London, as seen in its road network, from the Roman port city of Londonium through the Anglo-Saxon, Tudor, Stuart, Early Georgian and Late Georgian, Early Victorian and Late Victorian, Early 20th Century and Postwar London, set to the scale of the 600 square miles of modern London, though the original city core is a very dense square mile. [more inside]
Crossbones Graveyard (YT) is a disused graveyard in Southwark, London. Lying outside the old city walls, it became the last resting place for 15,000 paupers and prostitutes (the latter known as the 'Winchester Geese' because they were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester). The history of Crossbones is being rediscovered by local playwright John Constable, and is becoming a place of pilgrimage to remember the outcasts in London society (audio/slide). A ritual is held there every Halloween.
Boudicca (also known as Boadicea) was the queen of the Celtic Iceni tribe in eastern Britain in 60 AD. As recorded by Tacitus and Cassius Dio, she led a brutal revolt against the Romans and razed London and Southwark. There's a famous statue of her at Westminster Bridge, and Masterpiece Theatre has produced a new historical drama about her, Warrior Queen.
Southwark Council is planning Europe's tallest skyscraper for the middle of London. The 66 floor London Bridge Tower certainly looks impressive, and it's 'Extra White Glass' is expected to make the top of the tower "disappear into the sky" and change colour with the weather. But does London really need a 1000ft glass shard?