Azara Blog: Supercity of the North

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Date published: 2005/01/20

The BBC says:

A vision of a northern England in which people could live in Hull, commute to Liverpool, shop in Leeds and go out in Manchester in one day has gone on show.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott mooted the idea of a "super city" stretching from coast to coast along the M62 in February 2004.

Architect Will Alsop has now unveiled his idea of how the 80-mile long, 15-mile wide conurbation would look.
Mr Alsop's vision includes innovative solutions to urban sprawl such as extending Liverpool into the sea by erecting buildings on stilts up to a mile from the coast.

He also proposes transforming the South Yorkshire town of Barnsley by modelling it on a Tuscan hill village, complete with its own walls.

Other ideas, such as Stack - a vertical "village" where 5,000 people can live, work, worship and play - offers a twist on the skyscraper solution to population increase.

Mr Prescott has said he sees a northern super city as a potential rival to London's economic power and size.

Nicknamed "Prezzagrad", it would be similar to the USA's heavily populated east coast which stretches from Boston through New York to Washington.

Interesting that a "solution" to urban sprawl is to make it even bigger, including extending it into the sea. Interesting that living in Hull (on the east coast of England), working in Liverpool (on the west coast) and spending leisure time in Manchester and Leeds (in the middle) is considered to be a lifestyle we should be aiming for, with its crazy high energy consumption and hours of travel. Interesting that one building is deemed to make a "village".

These people are taking the piss. Barnsley as a Tuscan hill village?? Barnsley is in Yorkshire, not Italy, perhaps someone should inform Alsop. He did a reasonable library in Peckham several years ago. But his ideas about urban planning are dreadful (he had an awful series on television several months ago spouting similar stuff) and unfortunately this is the way the urban planning elite treat the citizens of the UK. The proposals are even worse than the garbage inflicted on the country in the 1960s. (Go to the BBC website to see the photos.) Fortunately these proposals will never get off the ground, they are far too impractical and would be far too expensive.

All very amusing for the chattering classes. But let's give some time and money to people with sensible rather than crackpot ideas for urban planning.

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