Visions Kate from Camden

Kate from Camden

To improve all public space by ensuring:
  • that it works at a human scale
  • with transparent frontages – working shop fronts and at least 60% of residential frontages glass better for those inside and better for those on the street who feel like they live in a more welcoming environment (think the proportion of glass in 18th century terraces). Yes, it means double glazing to get modern environmental standards, but the visual and social impact is also vital.
  • very limited access for HGVs and reduced capacity for all motor vehicles because they reduce use of our streets and pavements by individuals
  • remove street clutter including most road signage, forcing drivers to drive more carefully
  • replace modern high level street lighting which creates motorway style illumination with lower poles and lighting of the pavements and vertical frontages, making it pleasanter and safer for walkers while reducing the ease of driving for motor vehicles. The cost can be covered by replacing with LED.
  • remove advertising hoardings which cheapen public spaces (only the rich live without advertising, said John Berger) and because designed to create a sense of unease – to be resolved by purchasing the product in question – exacerbates stress, particularly for those suffering from mental health issues
  • more greenery ie protection for trees, even in the face of big developers who want them gone and increasing space for them on pavement build-outs, so also nudging motor vehicles to drive more slowly
  • doors on to the street – so residents are connected with what goes on around them
  • windows on the street, and commercial buildings right on the pavement, but residential buildings set back to make them feel more protected
  • repeated pattern and scales down street frontages – because harmony is more soothing and pleasing to live with
  • street properties, not estates, with blind tenure, so no-one knows whether you own, private or social rent
  • local ownership – yes, this is contrary to the political mindset of the past 100 years but Maynard Keynes said art and ideas should be international, and everything else local. If we ban foreign ownership, suddenly we re-set the prices of property and availability
  • as a corollary, all property to be owned by individuals, not companies which can hide ownership, whether offshore or UK
  • a new scale of council tax and those properties which do not pay to be forfeit within nine months of the failure (not one property in One Hyde Park pays, and the sum due would be completed outweighed by the cost of tracking down those who might owe it – this is inequitable in the extreme). Similarly those who leave their property in severe disrepair (see Bishop’s Avenue in North London) should similarly face forfeiture if they do not take serious remedial action within a month of notification. We can’t have a city which desperately needs housing permitting offshore operations to squat much needed land and property for no greater purpose than their own ego.