Life in the suburban paradise

Life in the suburban paradise

June 18, 2018

Newsletters are the hallmark of suburbia, the reminder that you have moved out of the city and into its middle classes. They might feature a section called Environmental Update, which informs residents that “the wetlands area will be reclaimed this spring and wild flowers planted… .with every effort made to eradicate poison ivy.” Similarly, understanding […]

The why of whys

June 12, 2018

Why did London’s social structure and spatial form develop in the ways which many historians have observed, and not in others? And why, in particular, did slums proliferate in some areas and attractive neighbourhoods in others? What pressures caused transportation networks to assume certain forms and not others? Why was so little done before the […]

Worrying Developments

May 30, 2018

There’s something oddly addictive about worrying. For whatever reason, we like to do it because it’s a habit that none of us can truly shake. It gives us a chance to really burrow down into our own minds and escape from whatever thoughts we might otherwise have. Those might seem like contradictory statements, but think […]

London alone

May 22, 2018

London is a city like none other. If you know it well, you’ll know that to really thrive here, you need to be able to tell the scams from the high value propositions. That might sound like business jargon but you need to understand that almost everything in London is designed to take money from […]

Mounting costs

The city of London has made no attempts to impose a planned network of lines and largely inconsequential attempts from the 1960’s onwards to regulate fares and to force the railway companies to rehouse the working-class families which their lines displaced. It seems as though Parliament was merely a venue for capitalists and landed aristocrats […]

Out of money

It’s not hard to see why so many residents of the capital have found themselves priced out in recent years. Rents went up while the quality of the accommodation remained much the same, or even declined. It was stated in Parliament in 1984: “Since 1944, wages had risen, the taxes in necessaries had been lowered, […]

“It’s RAW”

May 17, 2018

The word “cooking” is one of those linguistic ambiguities that cause so much discussion between the amateur and the enthusiast. Like so many other words before it, it has gained a colloquial use that we all accept as the base truth: cooking is the process of exposing something to heat. It can include boiling, frying, […]

Inacessible characters

May 11, 2018

One of the classic problems in modernist literature is the dilemma of why Woolf has presented Jacob in his manner: inaccessible to the reader and constantly judged by others. He is often noted as one of her most radical and difficult characters, but if he was the culmination of her development, why is this not […]

Islam still suffering in the West

May 4, 2018

When one thinks about the vilification of the Islamic community following 9/11, there is an overriding sense of terror and revulsion, directed not just towards extremists but also towards moderate followers of the religion.  In many ways the rejection of Muslim ideals was a whole scale one, a separation dictated by a mentality of ‘us’ […]

London’s ancient rental ideas

May 2, 2018

A brief exposition of the historical origins of the leasehold system is instructive as it shows why it, and not a freehold system, for instance, was so prevalent during the 19th century, a factor of paramount importance in the evolution of London‘s social and spatial structure. Basically, the leasehold system evolved out of the feudal […]

Authentically fake

April 22, 2018

In today’s consumption driven society it has become custom to buy products not for what they are, but for what they mean, causing so their role to extend far further in our lives than their original function. This notion of wanting more from products has brought about a search amongst consumers for an authenticity in their purchases; […]

EastEnders

The East End was home for all levels of the working class. The better paid skilled workers probably lived in reasonable accommodations by the standards of the time, but the bulk of the workers, particularly the multitudes of casual workers, lived in densely packed, overcrowded, unsanitary rooms and lodging houses for which they paid high   rents. There […]

Urban Life

Does London’s capitalism necessarily leads to urbanisn because the capitalist mode of realizing surplus value necessarily leads to its spatial concentration in cities and towns. The uneven distribution of wealth in society is mirrored by the uneven distribution of wealth over space. This points to the conclusion that the radical theory of urban development must explain […]

Modern Muslims

April 11, 2018

When one thinks about the vilification of the Islamic community following 9/11, there is an overriding sense of terror and revulsion, directed not just towards extremists but also towards moderate followers of the religion. In many ways the rejection of Muslim ideals was a whole scale one, a separation dictated by a mentality of ‘us’ […]

Getting Casual Work

March 29, 2018

As the London casual labour market shows, it is an important part of the intricate system of incentives and controls which keep the overall economic system going. Howard Wachtel cites four   reasons for this: “First, extreme wage and income inequality is necessary to induce workers to perform alienating work for external rather than internal rewards….Second, […]

Post Brexit Britain

March 26, 2018

With any change of the economic foundation, the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed. In considering such transformations, a distinction should always be made between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophic–in […]

Cheap Trains For All

It is interesting to note that, contrary to the expectations of advocates of cheap trains in the 19th century, that the advent of cheap travel did not lead to a breaking-down of the social-class homogeneity of residential areas, outlined in Chapter 3. Rather, the clear class distinctions which existed between different areas of Victorian London, […]

Otterbein again

March 9, 2018

Baltimore’s Otterbein offers a different conceptualization of the new central city neighborhood, for two reasons. One is that it was never an empty site or the location of an obsolete industrial land-use. Another is that it represents the adaptive reuse of older city elements existing on site and used as assets to guide new in-fill […]

Humbling the city

March 5, 2018

Modern culture has served to humble the city into a sort of exotic and backward, poor relative of the prosperous mainstream culture that flourishes in the malls, and the supermarkets, and on the fields of countless little league games. Worse still, it cuts the urban culture’s poorest off from larger society, and creates in the […]

London revinvented

In the past century, obviously, the suburbs of major cities like London have expanded to include people who earlier would have been considered non-middle class, such as blue collar workers and salespersons. Whether this increase in real terms is derived from America’s immigrant background and of the various incarnations of the American dream, is probably […]

London – Capital of Culture

March 2, 2018

London, as a rule has never been an industrialised town and, other than in the harbour, there was little work for unskilled labour so the spectre of poverty was ever-present, especially among the black people. In spite of the lack of natural resources, the economic conditions in the town improved over time and a few […]

Identity Politics

February 21, 2018

Certain strands within the women’s movement, on both sides of the Atlantic, have blazed the trail of identity politics. Cultural feminism (bom of identity politics) has emphasized the essential link between the way women think and act and the fact of their sex—which, in turn, separates them from men. Its theorists speak of forging a […]

Consumerism consumes another

February 6, 2018

In today’s consumption driven society it has become custom to buy products not for what they are, but for what they mean, causing so their role to extend far further in our lives than their original function. This notion of wanting more from products has brought about a search amongst consumers for an authenticity in their purchases; […]

100 years on

January 25, 2018

With the publishing of a new, stunningly comprehensive book of WW1 poetry by one of the world’s biggest poetry houses, we take a look at one of the most interesting works in it and look back on its cultural impact, 100 years later. The first World War shook the grand ideals and paragons, long embedded […]

The Ginger Pig

January 23, 2018

This week marks the start of a news series as we delve into the deep and enchanting world of London’s culinary scene and bring you the very finest picks from this varied cavalcade of excellent.   A few years ago, very few people had heard of the Ginger Pig but now having them appear on […]

London chef serves bacteria

January 17, 2018

Ethical eating and sustainability are already predicted to be red hot in 2017, and fine dining has a great online presence when it’s presented in the right way. The two are combined in this feature on Virgilio Martinez and his restaurants, which take farm to table to a whole new level of obsessive exploration. Martinez’s […]

Being Better

January 5, 2018

Sustainability is fast becoming one of the key issues of the 21st century, not just in terms of food but in every aspect of life. The huge amount of waste and emissions society currently produces has been heavily linked to climate change, and to significant damage being done to the planet itself. Though we have […]

London to host groundbreaking event

October 27, 2017

  With the news that a major e-Sports event is coming to London for the first time, we look back at the history of the game.   DotA had already existed in an embryonic state for several years prior to this, arguably finding its roots in the popular Aeon of Strife custom map for Starcraft. […]

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