Saturday, April 29, 2017

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

It seems it's not only music venues up and down the land that are under threat of closure due to opposition from people who have knowingly moved into their vicinity. Owners of flats in the swanky Neo Bankside development in London are up in arms about the Tate Modern's viewing platform - the creation of which was actively supported by the developers of the flats - because it makes life in the glass-walled flats like living in a "goldfish bowl". You honestly couldn't make it up.

Did these fuckwits seriously expect to be able to enjoy the views afforded to them by both the design of their flats and the prominence and height of their location, without realising that those same factors would enable others to see them too? As the Tate's Nick Serota has said (in slightly more diplomatic terms), buy a pair of curtains and shut the fuck up.

The author of the Guardian's article on the subject, Oliver Wainwright, doesn't specifically mention by name the agent of change principle that, if introduced in the UK, would prevent such ridiculous claims. However, he does identify the legal case responsible for creating the current "law of nuisance" (in which a couple who knowingly moved next door to a racing track took legal action over the noise levels).

He also succinctly summarises the whole sorry situation: "Countless pubs and music venues across the country are under threat for similar reasons as the national obsession with protecting house prices threatens to turn lively urban areas into lifeless dormitory towns. In aggressively trying to safeguard the value of their assets, incoming residents are relentlessly lobotomising the cities they want to call home, ironing out the edgy 'vibrancy' on which they were sold their dream of urban living. Everything from cultural venues to manufacturing sites are increasingly vulnerable to retroactive nimbyism, because in UK law there is no provision to protect something that is already there from what comes after."

Things surely have to change.

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