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Archive for the ‘2006’ Category

London’s Olympic Housing Legacy, an Olympic Housing Expo, The Regeneration Olympic, whose legacy is a wonderful place to live.

“At the centre of this Park will be the river Lea but not the river Lea we see today which is polluted and held between canalised walls. We are going to liberate that river into a new flood plain area. We’re going to remove all the contaminated materials and re-create the river out of the former Lea Valley area.”

Throughout the regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley area the planners will be looking far beyond the Games themselves. For example, The Olympic Village will be turned into housing with the newly built train line linking that community to central London in only seven minutes” London 2012 Press Office 08/11/2004

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We Heart Water

If the country were to bring in an international valuation company to value its assets then one of its most valuable holdings would certainly be its xxxx miles of coastline, lakes, riverside and canal banks. Humans are drawn to the sea and in an increasingly crowded, stressful and fast paced world, views out to oceans, bays, marshlands and mudflats are becoming more valued. Add to that the increasing hassle of air travel and then this national asset must be accumulating in value.

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You may have read in the press, or heard it on the radio, I got an MBE for services to design in last months Queens Birthday Honours List. So tug your forelock, doff your cap and curtsey. My mum is really proud, everyone in the village knows and she’s about to go out and buy a fancy hat for the visit to the Palace. What you may not have heard (unless you come from her birth town where banners outside newsagents declared “Local lass awarded MBE” ) is that my wife of 23 years, my design and business partner of 25 years, the always lovely Gerardine Hemingway was also awarded an MBE. In fact many of you may not have heard of Gerardine, even though she co founded Red or Dead and HemingwayDesign with me, has always headed up the design teams and is probably more creative than yours truly. I accept that she hasn’t got as big a mouth as me and doesn’t always feel comfortable doing media stuff but the main reason is she’s a woman.

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Late last year CABE called for every publicly quoted volume Housebuilder to have a ‘design champion’ at board level with responsibility for delivering design quality. I wasn’t entirely convinced that the result would be swift or positive. Maybe it would be one of those ideas that just drifted. But happily my pessimism was unfounded and the increasing realisation by housebuilders that CABE has an influence on some of their land portfolio resulted, in March this year of the announcement that 6 major housebuilders had appointed “design champions”.

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Ever since I was at John Prescott’s Urban Summit at Brindley Place, Birmingham in late 2002, and was collected by my wife and youngest lad on our way up to visit family up north, I have had a bee in my bonnet about our so called “urban renaissance”. Amongst Birmingham’s regenerated canal district Britain’s National Sea Life centre has been opened. I took my lad in @ 4.30 on a midweek afternoon only to be told it was closing. On asking why, it was explained that there were no families living close by and the centre was only busy at weekends and school hols. Here I was amongst shiny new buildings, landscaping, canals, restaurants and shops and hundreds of new homes. But the whole emphasis was on singles and childless couples. The concept that a child could enjoy the freedom of a city just hadn’t crossed the minds of the planners. (more…)

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