Public space intervention - 12pm Sat 13th Feb 2016 - Potters Field Park (next to City Hall)
mark at tlio.org.uk
Fri Feb 12 22:28:49 GMT 2016
Public space intervention - Space Probe Alpha
Midday, Saturday 13th February 2016 - Potters Field Park (next to City Hall),
Tooley Street, Southwark, SE1 2AA London, United Kingdom
Taken from facebook page:
Dear Space Agents,
Thank you for all your support and participation over 2015. With 2016 upon us,
the time has come for our first public space intervention (i.e. Space Probe!).
On 13th February, please join us in Potters Field Park (next to City Hall on the
South Bank) for an eventful afternoon. Will Self, Anna Minton, Bradley L
Garrett, Sian Berry, Daniel Raven-Ellison, Mark Thomas and others will help to
organise a series of activities that will challenge the transfer of public space
into private hands around London.
We need everyone possible out for this intervention so PLEASE SHARE this event
in any way you can. We look forward to seeing you there and making history
through the first of many interventions that will aim to protect our public
The following is written by Bradley L. Garrett
(Author of ‘Explore Everything: Place-hacking the City’)
We are losing our cities. The land grab taking place around us is a subtle, soft
play, where the dirty work takes place behind a veneer of affable brand
management, swanky ‘starchitecture’ and a general sensation that our dear old
town, whether it be Bristol, Boston or Bangkok, is stepping up as a ‘global
city’. We are expected to be proud.
In London, the first time we went through such dramatic landscape convulsions,
in the 19th century, we were left with public infrastructure – sewers,
electricity tunnels, transport – that served the populace for 150 years. The
next architectural spasm was when we re-housed the population bombed out during
Today, we find ourselves once again hemmed in by construction machinery on all
sides, but the new city being built, contra to those times past, is not for us.
There are 263 higher-than-20-storey buildings currently planned for London and
nobody seems to know who will be able to afford to live in them. Council blocks
are being ripped down across the capital and in a number of boroughs rents have
doubled since 2008, causing a mass exodus of long-term communities to the
furthest branches of the public transport network and beyond. Where communities
are ripped asunder, private issues become public issues. But where to air them?
One of the subsidiary effects of the rampant redevelopment of the city is that
when the construction dust settles, often we find that open-air public spaces
once maintained by civil bodies have been quietly passed into the hands of
corporations as part of austerity-driven buyouts. In these ‘new’ spaces, our
public rights are severely curtailed by corporate land management policies,
policed by aggressive security guards in florescent vests, and monitored by the
swiveling eyes of dome cameras tracking our every transgression. Photography is
banned. Loitering is banned. Protest is banned. The public realm becomes space
fit only for consumption; all other activities are rendered subversive, deviant,
Where the councils still hold the deed, they are often bullied by developers
into ramming through draconian legislation such as Public Space Protection
Orders meant to ‘tidy-up the city’ in anticipation of regeneration. These orders
criminalise busking, street drinking, rough sleeping, dog-walking and, of
course, gathering. People gathering in public space are a threat to corporate
power – they might talk to each other, ask questions, demand explanations.
Our cities will likely have a financial future as places for tourism and
exchange, places where the rich will park their money in speculative real estate
and artists will make a fortune churning out even more speculative crappy public
art. What is in question here is whether our cities have a cultural future as
citizens are increasingly pushed to the margins. Perhaps the only viable option
left to such a disempowered populace is direct action. In 1932 over 400 people
trespassed onto a moorland plateau called Kinder Scout to contest the closure of
public access by landed gentry. Corporate closures today, swathed they might be
in seductive sales-speak, are no less violent in their closure of public space
and must be fought with similar verve.
It is time for our urban rambler moment; it is time to reclaim our cities.
The time has come for our first public space intervention. On 13th February,
please join us in Potters Field Park (next to City Hall on the South Bank) for
an eventful afternoon. Will Self, Anna Minton, Bradley L Garrett, Sian Berry,
Daniel Raven-Ellison, Mark Thomas and others will help to organise a series of
activities that will challenge the transfer of public space into private hands
We look forward to seeing you there and making history through the first of many
interventions that will aim to protect our public spaces.
More information about the Diggers350