Nye Bevan Commons 4

4. New Commons

The disappeared towers of Socialism's high modernity - Ambergate Court, Bakewell Court, Norbury Court, Repton Court - return to create a hypothetical working space for the commons for the 21st century. They straddle across the river Lea as they fall back to the marshes.

 

Here along the river, they create imaginary bridges across the rift. On the east bank, we have the history of our Commons heritage in the marshes. The marshes are designated as Common land but vulnerable to legislation changes in the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics with the Lea valley blown open to finance capital and large scale globalised speculation.

On the west bank, we have the remnants of our public sector housing, as a legacy of socialist welfare state planning now outsourced to new forms of management.
Inbetween is the river Lea.

 

Within this small locus, the landscape mediates between 3 different conceptions of land: that of land as private property, land as publicly owned estate, and the notion of the Commons. These are fundamentally different conceptions of the spaces we inhabit and each has its own problematic of accountability and management, of access and participation. The inter-relation between the value of these three notions will determine the social and ecological constitution of our city in the future. The site of a Nye Bevan Commons then becomes the prototypical working space in the broader context of the sustainable city.