Feltham Future

What happens when London gets bigger and bigger? What happens when postcard London is further away than Reading? When the familiar landmarks that stand for London are far over the horizon. When London is only a tourist destination and a heritage centre. When the metropolitan centre is clogged with gentrification and history. When metropolitan opportunity is stifled by property prices and specialist cheese shops. When the centre becomes a wickerbasket wielding village fantasy. When the 1920s organisation of the city reverses it polarity. What happens when the sprawling suburbs are home to diversity once associated with metropolitan centre. Will a new bohemia flourish in the suburban landscapes yet to assert their own unique identity. Will Feltham become the new Soho, the new Hampstead, the new Hoxton. Will its incredibly unique yet familiar landscape congeal into something that we could recognise as urban. Juxtaposed with such abandon: Giant sized Heathrow, super long motorway, donkey sanctuaries, 24 hour Tescos, arts and crafts houses, village greens, rotting cargo containers populated by geese, business parks, post war suburban overspill, international hotels with imported landscapes (Marriots Rocky Mountains, the Renaissance's linear Versailles). Local shops include Harrods franchises airside at Heathrow and reconditioned tyres and Halal meat earth-side. Traditional urban planning broke down a long time ago. With so much rich diversity dumped across the landscape it seems inconceivable that nothing will come from it. That some kind of urban alchemy will transform Feltham. Perhaps, learning from gentrification, its not about building things, its about how you think about things.

Posted by sam at May 27, 2004 10:03 PM

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