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Title: Make public : performing public housing in regenerating east London
Author: Roberts, D. J.
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the history and future of two east London housing estates undergoing regeneration; Samuel House, a 1935-8 London County Council neo-Georgian perimeter block on the Haggerston West Estate demolished in 2014; and Balfron Tower, a 1965-7 Brutalist high-rise on the Brownfield Estate designed by Ernö Goldfinger and facing refurbishment and privatisation in 2016. To ‘make public’ expresses a demand and an aspiration; materially – to protect and extend public housing provision at a time when austerity measures are dismantling it in ideal and form [Phillips and Erdemci, 2012]; procedurally – to make visible problematic processes of urban change that are increasingly hidden from public view under the pervasive metaphor of regeneration [Campkin, 2013]; and methodologically – to make public the act of research through long-term collaborations with residents and other practitioners, using archival research and socially-engaged performance practice that reveals spatial changes and their affects on social relations [Harvie, 2013]. The thesis draws on the idea of ‘multiple publics’ to re-conceptualise a constructive approach to public housing and to evaluate the ethic of ‘making public’ [Fraser, 1990]. It works between architecture and performance to forge new connections with the research of Forty, Rendell, Schneider and Roms, and choreograph relationships between buildings, texts and residents through critical acts of writing, dramaturgy and re-enactment. The practice is conducted through performative workshops that open a social, discursive and imaginative space for residents to re-enact the histories of each estate and build collective knowledge and experience. This collaborative work is shared with wider publics through a feature-length artist’s film, site-specific performance, and six-week exhibition, and is documented in the thesis as two acts, comprising scenes interspersed with reflective essays. The evidence gathered is fed into formal and legislative frameworks with the aim of influencing housing policy: at Samuel House, a redesigned housing survey and at Balfron Tower, a listing upgrade nomination and online archive.
Supervisor: Rendell, J. ; Campkin, B. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available