diamond geezer

 Monday, May 11, 2015

Suppose you have a peninsula-ful of flats to sell, and no community to speak of. That's the issue at North Greenwich, where a forest of new apartments are planned, and people need to be persuaded to stump up for one. You'd think that'd be no issue, what with a shortage of housing in London and no end of potential buyers abroad. But you won't keep prices high if your estate isn't firmly rooted, and the developers have recognised that even the O2 has insufficient communal foundations. So they've built a tiny art gallery in their marketing pavilion, they have plans for a 'village hall' that's really a cafe and gym, and yesterday they held their first Urban Village Fete.

They didn't ask the Parish Council to organise this May Fair, because there isn't one, so they got Wayne Hemingway in instead. He took the newly opened parkland to the south of Meridian Square and filled it with stalls, and made the hardstanding by the marketing pavilion somewhere actually worth visiting. You need a maypole at a May Fair, and this event had a hip multicultural troupe complete with fiddlers and human beatbox, who were both lively and excellent. Less usual features were an eco-village and DJ booth, the latter with Gilles Peterson drafted in, although a stall dishing out noodles is certainly par for the course at urban events these days. A variety of child-friendly activities were bursting out all over, ensuring that the place looked good to families with deep pockets. And Richard DeDomenici turned up fresh from the Boring Conference with his swivel chair, inviting passers-by to sit in it and see how many revolutions they could manage in one spin. Bald and besuited Mark, once he'd put down his marketing brochure, managed three spins before friction took over, whereas Johan later managed a hugely impressive 19.

But the main focus of the Fete was purchase and consumption, this of course with a Wayne-inspired designer focus. Down one path was a Design Market, down another a 'curated market featuring the best of British design', and elsewhere a horticultural quarter including an urban gardening design specialist. This echoes the developers' key marketing strategy of focusing on the stylish internal design of their new apartments, be that by Conran or Tom Dixon, because it's important to plant subliminal ideas in potential purchasers' minds. I'd be surprised if most of the day's visitors lounging in the wild flower meadows are ever going to stump up and buy, they probably came simply to enjoy the fun, of which there was plenty. But it'd only have taken a couple of apartment sales to pay for yesterday's Fete, and embedding a long-term communal buzz here in North Greenwich would probably earn rather more than that.



Elsewhere there are increasing signs that the remediation of the North Greenwich is finally tipping over from post-industrial to residential. Fifteen metal masts are rising on demolished land to the west of the main road, these presumably the beginnings of cranes that will eventually form the Brickfields neighbourhood. And at the northern tip the new multi-storey Marriott hotel is nearly complete, its bland facade in regrettable contrast to the iconic spikes of the Dome behind. But then the intention of Labour's millennial tent was always to act as a catalyst for the development of the peninsula, and fifteen years later that growth spurt has finally arrived. Just be aware that what looks like culture hereabouts has been parachuted in by the developers, and don't move in expecting a genuine community to build in its wake.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream