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Old December 14th, 2012, 02:47 PM   #461
Loathing
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Originally Posted by PadArch View Post
Very true. London for instance is mostly a very well integrated city. There are pockets of rich and poor ghettos but for the majority of people they are living side by side, going to the same schools etc. the school I went to for example was extremely diverse. Far more diverse probably than any school anywhere else in the world, and that's no exaggeration. Londoners live together rich and poor. Yes there are small ghettos of rich and poor but overall it's extremely mixed.
Exactly. I remember my prep school class had one black kid, one half black, one Korean, two Japanese, one Russian, two French, one Polish, one Greek, and about 5 white British people. And this was a private prep school in suburban London.

I also can't remember a time in even my youngest childhood when I couldn't use chopsticks. And I'm confident I'd sampled & enjoyed every major cuisine of the world by the age of about 8.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 10:58 PM   #462
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I feel that the overwhelming majority of people I meet there are conning themselves into thinking everything they have is better than it is. They do not know what they are missing so they are happy with the little they have and believe it is enough due to the self congratulatory and complacent concensus.
So now Swedes are poor? To me it sounds like you have met some modest people who don't need to fill up their lives with unnecessary things. Is that really a bad thing?


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Things like single glazing are meaningless. My house in London is single glazed but it's not much warmer in my double glazed apartment in sweden. All new housing in britain has double glazing. So what. Its not as cold and people here dont value having tropical temperatures indoors throughout winter. My father for instance wants the indoor temperature to be 16 C ideally. London is on average around 10 degrees warmer outside over the cold months. And I often am outdoors over winter in London, whereas in sweden it is uncomfortable to be outdoors for more than 10 minutes unless I wear 2 coats.
You probably don't like winter because you aren't a northerner and that's fine. If you have proper cloths you can be out four hours walking, skiing, playing ice hockey etc. I have never been so cold in my whole life as I was during winter in Madrid. Their houses are often old and crappy (sometimes without heating completely) so you are constantly cold. Had the same problem when I stayed in Strasbourg. Never have this problem in Helsinki.

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Quality of life is what you make of it and comfort is only a relatively minor factor in quality of life or happiness in my opinion. I know a lot of comfortable swedes but a lot of them are depressed. Not because of the weather but because of the mediocrity of their existence. When you value comfort so highly you can never take risks, never be courageous because you are too scared to lose your precious comfort and don't know how to cope without it. In short, comfort is overrated.
To me housing is important, I don't consider it to be excess comfort to live in a proper apartment/house. I do agree with you that people in the Nordic countries have a tendency to be less willing to take risks.

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Originally Posted by CalumCookable
The notion that this is the norm in the UK is simply beyond belief.
Of course it is not the norm. There are just over a thousand such developments in the entire country. However, 25 years ago this was unheard of, and how many will there be after another 25 years?

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Originally Posted by Loathing
This is hysterical and completely untrue. I know you Scandinavians have a reputation for being comically left-wing and out of touch with the real world.
Or maybe you are the one who has been brainwashed? You should come live in Scandinavia, people here are just as right-wing, greedy and eager to own every new gadget there is than anywhere else. The only difference is that people here, whether right-wing or left-wing, usually still value social justice and believe in a welfare society. Things are beginning to change though, and soon the number of poor and homeless people will rise drastically I'm sure, it already has. Our right-wing government is talking about how we can't afford anything anymore and how we need to privatize and deregulate etc and the results have been catastrophic of course. It's basically thatcherism knocking on our doors. In Sweden they deregulated the housing marked and created a more terrible housing crisis than the one in Britain.

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Originally Posted by Loathing
The "growing income gap" is a manipulation of statistics that doesn't mean anything intrinsically. (Statistics are warped by super-rich; super-rich mostly come from abroad; they have little impact (arguably slightly +ve) on London and the quality of life here.)
I'm not witnessing this growing segregation: there are more non-white people in parliament than ever, more non-white and state-schooled people at Oxbridge than ever, more non-white people at the top of major firms than ever; the same applies to women.
I don't know anyone who lives in a gated community; I imagine they're populated by people with anxiety disorders or paranoia; those pictures above certainly don't look like the abodes of the wealthy to me; the wealthiest people I know of live in terraced houses from Mayfair to Chelsea.
There are no notable problems of privatization of public space in London.
Corporations certainly aren't taking over my life. Honestly, with some of these remarks I think you're mistaking Britain for the USA, when the two nations couldn't be more different.
Welfare services are not being dismantled by the government. The most important services have been ring-fenced. The spending cuts that are happening are part of a debt-reduction plan that should allow us to spend more on welfare in the future.
You can believe what you want of course. The Conservatives are basically anti-welfare and Labour does not appear to be much better either. Both Finland and Britain are going down the path of the US which would be an utter disaster. When I'm talking about about segregation I mean mostly social segregation and the fact that since the neoliberalization of society in the 1980s corporations are getting more and more power while in many countries living standards are declining. The privatization of public space means putting squares, streets, bridges etc in the hand of private developers and corporations which can if they like deny "unwanted" people, from photographers to protestors, access to these places, basically shutting down parts of the city.

http://www.independent.co.uk/propert...es-581318.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/ju...d-public-space
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Old December 14th, 2012, 11:04 PM   #463
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i'm kind of in the middle of you and 'loathing'. clearly there are problems with social welfare, and the results it is having are needlessly cruel. it would be naive to deny this. it's interesting to hear you speak of problems in sweden along these lines, as it isn't normally an angle we hear of.

where i depart from you, is that i struggle to think of a handful of gated developments nearby, and not one of the examples you posted is of an upmarket community.

and i have single glazing - and no problems from it. double glazing would look repulsive in my building.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 11:13 PM   #464
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Here's a well known gated community:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=252509
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Old December 14th, 2012, 11:15 PM   #465
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I still don't see what this has to do with density

Maybe a new thread, with a poll: "Which European country most closely resembles the Third World?"

?
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Old December 14th, 2012, 11:22 PM   #466
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In Helsinki we also have a housing crisis, mostly because supply can't meet demand as the city is growing rapidly. However, the reason we have a housing shortage is because the city planning authorities are so afraid things will spire out of control if they deregulate. The positive side of a strictly regulated planning system is that it prevents speculating, the emergence of gated communities, privatisation of public space and it also keeps the city socially mixed and the inner city a place for everyone to live in. The downside is that developers aren't allowed to simply buy up land from the city and build apartment buildings everywhere simply because it doesn't fit into the greater city plan. Hence a housing shortage, high rents and prices. To tackle this problem the city is now selling apartments to people for subsidised prices through the hitas-system, when all they really should do is give developers a bit more room to maneuver.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 11:42 PM   #467
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Bricks
Here's a well known gated community:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=252509
Wow...One development, which has a bar on the top floor which is open to anyone?

Anymore for anymore?....
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Old December 14th, 2012, 11:44 PM   #468
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Originally Posted by Mr Bricks View Post
Here's a well known gated community:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=252509
On the ball as ever Mr Bricks - Your knowledge on London is unsurpassed.

So your saying a development you can walk right round is a gated community (you might want to upgrade your google earth ). If you mean the general public can't wander between floors and you need to use an intercom or pass code to get into the building then what does that make every single council block in the area that has the exact same intercoms/pass code systems to keep people out.

Damn those poor people keeping them rich people out there buildings- the world has gone to hell!!!
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Old December 15th, 2012, 12:01 AM   #469
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I don't see the problem with gated communities to begin with, as long as they're only residential.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 12:13 PM   #470
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Originally Posted by Ebeneezer_Goode
I don't see the problem with gated communities to begin with, as long as they're only residential.
I can see big social problems with gated communities, the problem is the fountain of knowledge Mr Bricks doesn't know a thing about London and goes around making assumptions.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 05:16 PM   #471
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Since when did apartment block = gated community?

As for welfare, I don't deny this country has welfare problems. But I do deny that increasing short-term spending on welfare, by way of debt, is the magic solution. This current Government isn't cutting the NHS, which is by far the most important and unequivocally beneficial welfare service. To say the Government is "dismantling" welfare systems is a gross misrepresentation of the truth. This country has a soft Liberal Progressive government that is very well suited to the nation's position as a world-leader. I know that Scandinavian countries have been quite successful with strong Liberal Left policy but, as others have mentioned countless times, Scandinavians have pretty much zero stake in the wider world. Which is a big difference.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 07:38 PM   #472
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^Only Sweden is ranked as the fifth most influential country in the world when it comes to soft power. Considering how small the Nordic countries are we are doing extremely well in the world.

Half of you seem to miss the point entirely in thinking this is some display of "who knows the most about London". This is a discussion about urbanity and politics where London has been used simply as an example, and it is quite clear that some of you need to study a bit more before opening your mouths. Otherwise this will go nowhere.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 09:08 PM   #473
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^Only Sweden is ranked as the fifth most influential country in the world when it comes to soft power.
And Britain the first. The problem is soft power is no where near as effective or influential as coercive, hard power.

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Half of you seem to miss the point entirely in thinking this is some display of "who knows the most about London".
No, we understand your points, the problem is they're often built on information that isn't accurate.
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Old December 15th, 2012, 09:12 PM   #474
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Half of you seem to miss the point entirely in thinking this is some display of "who knows the most about London". This is a discussion about urbanity and politics where London has been used simply as an example, and it is quite clear that some of you need to study a bit more before opening your mouths. Otherwise this will go nowhere.
If you want a discussion about urbanity and politics then I suggest you start one on the Finland forum as the whole point of using something as an example is that the person actually knows anything about the subject they are holding up as an example. We all know you no absolute jack shit about London yet post as though you are some sort of expert on London. The ignorance of your posts are astounding yet when challenged you totally ignore the valid criticism and wave it away by accuser the poster as ignorant themselves.It is very strange behaviour.

Considering you are now holding the Finnish lifestyle as such a high benchmark you spend an incredibly unhealthy amount of time stuck in front of screen flying through London and posting about a City you know very little about. Hardly a ringing endorsement for your argument that now is it.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 12:01 PM   #475
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Originally Posted by Ebeneezer_Goode View Post
And Britain the first. The problem is soft power is no where near as effective or influential as coercive, hard power.
It was never part of the Nordic agenda to send our armies across the globe in order to bend others to our will. And you are quite right that none of the Nordic countries have the military strength to do so. Thankfully.

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No, we understand your points, the problem is they're often built on information that isn't accurate.
Please tell me where I went wrong? At least I know something about London, whereas most people here seem to base their opinion about the Nordic countries on what they've heard ie. "It is known/It is said that in Scandinavia bla bla".

@london lad you have Londoners joining this forum who hardly know anything about the development of this city, and most Londoners don't give a toss about such things, so yes I probably know more about the history and development of London that the average Londoner. However, I never said and I will never say I know this city as I haven't lived there. See the difference? I love history, urbanity and cities so I study them a lot and London is one of my favorites, why is that so difficult for you to understand?

I simply commented on a picture that had nothing to do with London, Helsinki or anything we're talking about now. My comment was then followed my a massive attack on me by Langur, all I did was defend myself. Then, instead of telling Langur to fuck off for attacking me and derailing the thread I get blamed. If you don't want foreigners coming to the UK section just say so instead of pretending I've done something to deserve this shit storm.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 01:18 PM   #476
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Bricksie you're more than welcome to air your opinions here, Londoner or nay. I just don't understand why you go for these platitudes and bromides that unfairly misrepresent London. It's axiomatic that people are greedy and, especially in massive cities like London, this causes great deal of inequality. But a few cynical articles, that manipulate statistics to favour the author's cynicism and ulterior motives, do little to represent the incredible progress that London has made and continues to make. And to suggest that this Government is rending and shredding the social fabric of London and the wider country, is just political vitriol and absolute nonsense.

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It was never part of the Nordic agenda to send our armies across the globe in order to bend others to our will. And you are quite right that none of the Nordic countries have the military strength to do so. Thankfully.
Oh please. Military campaigns do not = hard power. And soft power is a joke, really. South Korea gets heaps of soft power points for manufacturing crappy K-pop songs. Power my arse. (I bet Sweden & Norway get heaps for the Nobel Prize - of which the peace & literature components have become a complete joke.) And also, I don't know which list you're looking at, but I cannot see how the USA wouldn't top both soft & hard power lists for pretty much the last century.

Last edited by Loathing; December 16th, 2012 at 01:30 PM.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 03:35 PM   #477
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Personally I usually enjoy mr bricks contributions and consider him no less welcome than myself or anyone else. I also hope he doesn't take anything I say personally since usually consider my own style of argument to merely match his own flippancy.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 05:22 PM   #478
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Bricksie you're more than welcome to air your opinions here, Londoner or nay. I just don't understand why you go for these platitudes and bromides that unfairly misrepresent London. It's axiomatic that people are greedy and, especially in massive cities like London, this causes great deal of inequality. But a few cynical articles, that manipulate statistics to favour the author's cynicism and ulterior motives, do little to represent the incredible progress that London has made and continues to make. And to suggest that this Government is rending and shredding the social fabric of London and the wider country, is just political vitriol and absolute nonsense.
It is in the nature of all people to be greedy? Now I've heard it all. Anyway, I might have presented my case in an unclear way, I never used those articles to back up my claims, I just wanted to quickly find and provide some sort of sources. I study urbanity at uni etc, I don't want to come across as some amateur.

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Oh please. Military campaigns do not = hard power. And soft power is a joke, really. South Korea gets heaps of soft power points for manufacturing crappy K-pop songs. Power my arse. (I bet Sweden & Norway get heaps for the Nobel Prize - of which the peace & literature components have become a complete joke.) And also, I don't know which list you're looking at, but I cannot see how the USA wouldn't top both soft & hard power lists for pretty much the last century.
Wiki: "Hard power is the use of military and economic means to influence the behavior or interests of other political bodies". As the Nordic countries are doing very well economically I think "we" lag behind only when it comes to military power. To be honest I wouldn't want the Finnish government to spend
too much on our armed forces, a well organized and strong defence is sufficient. Unlike Britain we don't have any far away regions (like the Falkland Islands) we need to protect.

Sweden exports a lot of music and the fact that almost every home in the western world is furnished with IKEA furniture give the Swedes a lot of influence, among other things. Rankings change from year to year ans this year Britain knocked the US from the top spot, I believe largely thanks to the Olympic Games, Royal Wedding, Queens Jubilee, James Bond etc.

I might also add that I know the limitations of my own country. Many things we do well, other we lack. Finland does not have the long history, rich culture and great architecture of Britain for example. That doesn't change the fact that since the 80s Britain has in many ways become an unregulated banker's paradise, and British cities reflect this, naturally.

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Originally Posted by PadArch View Post
Personally I usually enjoy mr bricks contributions and consider him no less welcome than myself or anyone else. I also hope he doesn't take anything I say personally since usually consider my own style of argument to merely match his own flippancy.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 08:04 PM   #479
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I'm not really sure what point you're trying to make. What I was trying to point out is that Britain has not only much more hard power than the Nordic countries, but much more responsibility on the global level. The Commonwealth alone is the largest organization of its kind on earth, and Britain has responsibilities and commitments far beyond it. Britain was still giving 100s of £ms to India as aid and amity, until very recently, for example. If you think the only thing that makes Britain a more influential hard power than the Nordic countries is military spending and a few campaigns in the Falklands and the Middle East, then you're wrong.

The reason this is relevant is that I don't think Nordic ideology/politics are suited to a great power / superpower, or any country that is genuinely plugged into the world at large. If you think selling cheap, bad furniture to the world is an example of international influence then... you get the idea; same applies to shitty music.

As well as the Nordic countries function, they are not a model for countries like Britain. A few ideas of urban planning may be exportable, but the ideology simply doesn't work here.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 11:52 PM   #480
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I think that's a bit unfair, the point is that Scandinavian furniture is generally hugely influential all around the world, and not just ikea. For their size Sweden and Finland in particular currently punch above their weight in terms of ideas they bring to the rest of the world. I don't think anyone would dispute that loathing. And I certainly do think their are things that countries like Britain can learn from other places all over the world, as we always have done, Scandinavia included.

But! And this is a big but coming back to the original topic: It is a chronic problem of urban planning and architecture to try and imitate or copy places out of context without fully appreciating that those ideas may only work in that specific place. That is why I don't like people trying to turn London into Barcelona. We have plenty of things that already work in London and have an appropriate density in many areas. No need to drive for European models. It is a mistake to try and overwrite the small pockets that have been referred to in this thread because often those are real communities who will simply be displaced by redevelopment.

However, I do not disagree that density in London can and should increase within reason but I insist it must be in line with transport provision. Also there is plenty of unused empty land for redevelopment or crumbling stock to replace before we think about replacing functioning housing that uphold communities, simply because it doesn't fit a European model of density!

Last edited by PadArch; December 17th, 2012 at 12:04 AM.
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