The forgotten Mile
London; Great Britain
Master thesis at TU Berlin with Björn Mündner
in cooperation with Bold Tendencies art foundation
Peckham, located in the south of London, is currently undergoing transformation from a classic worker and immigrant district to a hotspot of real estate development. The resulting gentrification process has been an instigator for increasing tensions within the community, last erupting during the violent 2011 riots. Located in the middle of this social conflict zone is 'Bold Tendencies', an art foundation that organises exhibitions, concerts and events in an abandoned multi-storey car park. Despite the exceptionally successful initiative that attracted 60,000 visitors in 2012 alone, its survival is not guaranteed on account of city council plans to demolish the car park and redevelop the area. This proposed strategy, developed in cooperation with the art foundation, aims not only to secure the future of the initiative itself but is also intended to serve as a catalyst for inclusive and social responsible development of the whole district. The concept is based on the idea that the roads within the car park are actually an extension of the nearby shopping street itself and therefore it is not an abandoned car park at all but a 1000-metre-long piece of high street containing thousands of square meters of potentially highly profitable properties - the forgotten mile. The unique characteristics of the British lease and freehold systems enable the Bold Tendencies foundation to engage with the real estate market. They gain the ability to invest in cultural, social and public facilities on a large scale and to initiate a natural and dynamic long-term development which reflects the real needs of the local community. In this way the innovative power of informal and precarious development in the city is combined with the financial strength of the free market in order to create a little utopian city within the city.
check out the website for a closer look: www.forgottenmile.com