Download Remaking Birmingham: The Visual Culture of Urban by Liam Kennedy PDF

By Liam Kennedy

Town of Birmingham deals a very wealthy case examine on city regeneration because it strives to construct a brand new urban photo. situated among decline and regeneration, the panorama of town and its environs collages previous and new, generating dramatic contrasts - of business and post-industrial urbanisms of crumbling brutalism and awesome flagship advancements, of Victorian housing and various cultural existence - that compound the cultured and socio-economic technique of regeneration. This visually intriguing ebook additionally displays upon and extends present debates approximately public area, cultural zoning and the futures of towns.

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In order to fully realize its potential as a great city, the challenge facing Birmingham is to harness this commercial energy to create a coherent fabric of modern buildings of lasting quality. It is important not only to focus on ‘landmark’ buildings but on the interconnecting tissue of housing, workplaces and schools that define the quality of any city. The problem is that it is much easier to deliver landmarks than to raise the standard of the context; however, while the challenge is complex and difficult, this is no reason for not undertaking it.

26 JOE HOLYOAK Chapter 2 Shopping for the Future The Re-enchantment of Birmingham’s Urban Space Deborah Parsons In the centre of Fedora, that grey stone metropolis, stands a metal building with a crystal globe in every room. Looking into each globe, you see a blue city, the model of a different Fedora. These are the forms the city could have taken if, for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today. (Calvino 1974:34) Birmingham entered the new millennium with a great gash at its centre, a crater of ochre earth and rubble; gaping, raw, expectant.

The remaking of Birmingham depends not only on its built form or its symbolic representation, but on how these interact with the 36 DEBORAH PARSONS everyday practices and self-fashionings of its users. In the meantime Future Systems’ sequinned department store glitters enticingly, promising a ‘new look’ for shopper and city alike. Notes 1 Lewis’s remained a provincial chain until its acquisition of Selfridges in London in 1951. Its Birmingham store closed in 1991, exactly a decade before, in an ironic reversal of fortune, a revitalized Selfridges under the leadership of Vittorio Radice began to expand with spectacular regional stores; first to Manchester in 2001, followed by Birmingham in 2002–3.

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