Matthew Gandy

urban flux


Matthew Gandy . more: writings

It is striking how fear and disdain for the urban poor remains so powerful today through the proliferation of gated communities and the clearing away of informal settlements. In India, for example, the war on the poor has become one of the dominant elements of environmental demands to ‘clean up’ cities and remove ‘encroachers and polluters’. Whether in London or Mumbai, a vast army of cheap labour is needed to allow the urban economy to function, yet the rich increasingly prefer not to mix with these people. Many architects and planners acquiesce in these processes, seemingly willing to transform cities into playgrounds for the wealthy where professional ethics is subsumed by the cult of celebrity, realestate speculation and a new homogeneity in urban life...
The growing market for exclusive properties has led to a spate of new schemes such as a planned luxury housing project overlooking Hyde Park in central London designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners that includes penthouse flats to be offered at over £80 million. These flats – the most expensive ever constructed in the UK – may feature bulletproof glass, specially purified air and ‘panic rooms’ to protect against intruders.

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