The New Ruins

Date and time
Monday 28th February 2011
6 pm (GMT)

G07  Exhibition Room, Pearson Building, UCL

The New Ruins

Owen Hatherley

Matthew Gandy

Owen will talk about urbanism in the Blair/Brown era and the attempt at
achieving social democratic goals using quasi-Thatcherite means. Public
building increased, but tied to PFI and PPP; much housing was built, but in a radically circumscribed and architecturally dubious manner. The curious neoliberal dirigisme of New Labour, its fetish for the grand scheme, meant that the crash left several pet projects – Pathfinder housing ‘renewal’, inner city retail schemes – unfinished or cancelled, leaving huge swathes of dereliction across British cities. In a context where even these measures are considered overly profligate, ‘statist’ and left-wing by the coalition government, is there anything to be salvaged from New Labour urbanism?’

Owen Hatherley is a journalist and researcher in Political Aesthetics at
Birkbeck College, London. He has written for Architecture Today, Building Design, Cabinet, Frieze, Icon, the Guardian, the New Statesman and The Wire, and has had academic articles published in Collapse, Historical Materialism, the New Left Review and Radical Philosophy. His work appears in the edited anthologies Mark E Smith and The Fall – Art, Music and Politics and The Resistible Demise of Michael Jackson. He is the author of Militant Modernism (Zero, 2009), A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain (Verso, 2010) and the forthcoming Uncommon – An Essay on Pulp (Zero, 2011).