As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.
Brian Friel’s play Translations (1980) reveals, however, the
creation of these maps in the early part of the nineteenthcentury saw the introduction of many misleading place names. Surveying parties were sent out under
the leadership of officers in the Royal Engineers, to take stock of the empire’s
Hibernian real estate. But many of the names they came up with were either inept
attempts to translate the Irish names’ meanings or transliterations of their sound
into English orthography – as understood by cartographers who generally knew
no Gaelic. The overall effect was
and bodhrán – which appear strange to them.
I play the Irish tenor banjo, a four-stringed, fretted instrument tuned like
the violin and played with a plectrum. Hardly the most traditional of instruments in an Irish context, the banjo probably developed from instruments of
African origin. The tuning, frets, and method of playing with a plectrum are
all examples of cultural development over the course of about three centuries
in both America and Ireland. In the nineteenthcentury, the popularity of the
banjo grew through minstrel shows on both sides of the Atlantic. I
and Fall of Council Housing
(London: Verso, 2018).
Privatisation and the death of public housing
5 K. Razzall, S. Moralioglu and N. Menzies, ‘The 21st floor’, BBC News
website, 28 September 2017, at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/
idt-sh/Grenfell_21st_floor (accessed 13 October 2018).
6 F. Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (New
York: Cosimo Classics, 2008 ), p. 27.
7 S. Ewen, ‘The problem of fire in nineteenthcentury British cities: the
case of Glasgow’, Proceedings of the
associated with appropriating identity in Eurocentric
colonial projects. This part of European history dates back to the so-called ‘Age
of Discovery’ in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when empires, although
couched in rhetoric of exploration and discovery, adopted maps as agents of power
and control. In Ireland, the Ordnance Survey, which was conducted by the British
military in the mid-nineteenthcentury from 1824 to 1846, exemplifies the tensions surrounding cartographic projects in colonised zones.The Ordnance Survey
mapping project attempted to, in part
from Britain and France that looked at towns like Bath and Vichy (Gesler, 2003;
Mackaman, 1998; Porter, 1990). Ireland too has a spa history between 1700
and the late nineteenthcentury based on towns such as Lisdoonvarna, Lucan,
Mallow and Swanlinbar (Foley, 2010; Kelly, 2009). Several of these towns subsequently developed new identities as hydropathic centres where the earlier
natural curative mineral springs were reinvented via more commercial forms
of water-based therapies and treatments (Foley, 2010; O’Leary, 2000). In many
ways, a mix of these two
possibility for the market to be depicted
as an external sphere within which individuals privately engage in business.
The state is thus legitimated as an actor that stands apart from the market and
intervenes in order to ‘harness’ private initiative to the ‘pull’ of the international market. As Polanyi has it: ‘economic liberals must and will unhesitatingly call for the intervention of the state in order to establish it (the market
system), and once established, to maintain it’ (1957: 149). This nineteenthcentury liberal construction of the market as simultaneously
per cent of the production is offered to the ‘municipal social grocery’1 as a response to the impacts of the debt crisis on poverty and income
(Anthopoulou et al., 2015; 2018).
Thus, both types of initiatives play a substantial role in urban poverty and food
Switzerland: urban densification and open green space management
In comparison to Greece, urban gardening in Switzerland in the form of
allotment/family gardens has a longer tradition that dates back to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and contextually coincides with the development