Guy Mannes-Abbott

Guy Mannes-AbbottGuy Mannes-Abbott is a North Walworth resident and an author whose work often performs in visual art contexts, including his critically-acclaimed In Ramallah, Running (London 2012), contributory texts for e-flux journal’s Supercommunity project (Venice Biennale 2015/Verso 2017), End Note(s) (Rotterdam/Hong Kong 2015) and a short story for Drone Fiction (Dubai 2013). He contributed essays to WdW Review Vol.1 (Rotterdam 2017), Future Imperfect (Berlin 2016), The Gulf: High Culture, Hard Labor (New York 2015), collaborated with the Bombay-based CAMP on The Country of the Blind, and Other Stories (Folkestone Triennial 2011), and wrote the introduction to Mourid Barghouti’s Midnight & Other Poems (2008). He once taught theory at the AA School of Architecture, London, and his cultural criticism has been published widely in The Independent, The GuardianNew Statesman, Bidoun, Third Text, Architectural Review, Camera Austria, Middle East Monitor, etc. He is a core member of the Gulf Labour Coalition, editorial advisor for Divan (Sydney), and a Green Party candidate in local elections 2018. Twitter_bird_logo_2012.svg.png

Latest articles by Guy Mannes-Abbott

Heygate_demolition.jpegWe all know the answer to “Opportunity for Whom?” Disregard for existing communities has been the keynote of the Elephant & Castle Opportunity Area. The Mayor’s new London Plan has big ambitions, in particular the target of 65,000 new homes a year, delivered mainly through additional Opportunity Areas across the city. But they will fail unless London stops ignoring or actively displacing existing communities in so-called regenerations, and instead puts them first. A formal recognition of Existing Communities would include a Right to Community, with clear definitions of community and a set of subsidiary rights, including to clean air.

This is an opportunity for change: combining big principles, clear entitlements, and a guerilla localism to bring the benefits of development home.

Elephant Park construction site: Photo by Guy Mannes-AbbottNorth Walworth has been subjected to years of “regeneration”, resulting in very scarce public benefits but staggering profits for Lendlease. The next phase of “regeneration” at the Shopping Centre only acknowledged the existing traders and community after the offshore developers submitted their planning application. Is there really no alternative?

3041120_Trafalgar-Place---Elephant-and-Castle_PressImage_Thomas-_Etchells_5.jpgWriter and North Walworth resident Guy Mannes Abbott writes in The Architecture Review...

Typically, the RIBA’s Stirling Prize shortlist leavens starry spectacles with a socially minded gesture or two. In a thin year for the former, the list still obliged with the flawed spectacularity of Herzog & de Meuron’s Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford. In contrast, the ‘housing crisis’ generated a lot of noise but few homes again, so a ‘flagship’ housing scheme designed by dRMM for the Elephant and Castle’s ‘regeneration’ ticked a misleading box.

[Read full article on The Architecture Review website...]

News featuring Guy Mannes-Abbott

In December, property developers Delancey put in an application to demolish Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and London College of Communication. Councillors on Southwark Council’s Planning Committee refused to approve the plan, yet accommodated an eleventh-hour promise from Delancey to make an improved offer. This means the committee will hear the proposal again this month.

Shopping Centre doors closed during trading hours

Meanwhile, the Shopping Centre is being run down, conveniently bolstering the claimed 'need' for demolition. Certain entrances are now being closed during trading hours (right). Empty units are no longer available for re-let, enhancing a 'ghost town' feel. Escalators have been left broken for long periods. Pedestrian access has been unsatisfactory since removal of subways. Yet the building is structurally sound and could be imaginatively refurbished, re-landscaped and re-clad. This would avoid nine years of environmental destruction, intense construction noise, degraded local shopping and leisure facilities, and enormous disruption to nearby residents' home delivery access.

Measuring_tube.jpgWalworth’s air contains levels of a harmful pollutant which greatly exceed European and World Health Organisation standards, shows new research by Southwark Green Party.

Laboratory analysis of air samples taken by local Green parliamentary candidate John Tyson last autumn found nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels at Bricklayers Arms (where New Kent Road, Old Kent Road and Tower Bridge Road meet) were nearly double the EU limit. Studies have shown that excessive NO2 worsens shortness of breath, coughing and lung inflammation, particularly for people with asthma.

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