Street Talks 12: Private space, public space: "Ground Control" with Anne Minton

It's hard to believe, but the Movement for Liveable London and their monthly night of Street Talks are already a year old.  In 12 short months we've heard about everything; from a potted history of London transport history, to how Copenhagen got their cycle paths; from how children are the canaries in the coal mine of liveability, to how to design successful shared space.  The archive of previous Street Talks is available to watch again here, and makes for excellent lunch time entertainment.

Next Tuesday, the 6th of March, author and journalist Anna Minton takes the mic at Street Talks to discuss who controls the ground we act our lives out on, following the publication of her book "Ground Control; Fear and happiness in the 21st Century City".  With the increase of business improvement districts, shopping malls and gated communities to what extent can public space run by private interests - with their own rules about what you can and can't do - still be called "public"?  Who has the right to say which streets you can and can't walk down, with whom, and at what time?

Anyone who has ever used the vanishing cycle superhighway 3 which evaporates in to a puff of tiny squares which end in a security barrier across the road at East India Dock has encountered private "public" space.  If you've ever been told to get off your bike by the "InMidTown Rangers" (private security in Holborn) then you've come across the foot soldiers of these quasi public spaces.  If you've ever felt uneasy having your every move tracked by the private police on the Canary Wharf estate - and wondered what is being done with those images - then Minton's talk will resonate. Has there been a significant enough debate about these forces at work in our cities, are people aware of the issues, indeed, do they even care when coupled with increased surveillance and security we can have clean shopping centres?

Join us on Tuesday to hear from Minton and how the control of our streetscape as an emerging issue could effect us not just as cyclists, but our every move in the city.

Street Talks 12 takes place in the upstairs bar of The Yorksire Grey pub, 2 Theobalds Road, which is open from 6PM with the talk starting at 7PM.

Further reading from the ibikelondon archives:  Are BIDs bad for bicycles?

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Andy in Germany said...

That picture was giving me the creeps and I couldn't understand why.

Then it dawned on me:

Pass this point and you'll be watched, filmed, and potentially reported on for anything the people in control don't like. It's disturbingly similar...

ibikelondon said...

Eek! The similarities are scary. Cycling through the barrier is even worse - you have to wait for the man (or woman) inside the hut to open and close the barrier for you, but as the windows are mirrored glass you can't tell if someone is inside or not or if the barrier is automatic. Either way, you have to stop every time. It's creepy in the extreme.