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Old January 21st, 2015, 12:25 AM   #12601
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Mr Bricks I was referring to your singling people out on here and ridiculing their view, a little respect of people views wouldn't go a miss. As to the topic being discussed, I have to agree with SE9 historically London has failed to build enough homes to match the rate of population growth. Furthermore, the rise of house prices has squeezed low income families out of buying the simplest of homes.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 12:25 AM   #12602
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Originally Posted by Infinite Jest View Post
It's not a problem which be can fixed, though. It's caused by global trends and that's the price London pays for being a global city.
Yes it can be fixed but nobody wants to fix it. Build more and prioritise people that actually live and work here instead of those that just want to park their cash in a shiny new apartment complex.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 01:28 AM   #12603
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Glengall Quay | Isle of Dogs E14

London forum thread: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1773823

Official website: http://www.glengallquay.co.uk/



Project facts
  • Address: Glengall Quay, Millharbour, London E14
  • Developer: Tameric
  • Architect: O'Mahony Pike
  • Height: 145m
  • Floors: 45

Plans for Glengall Quay have been submitted for approval. The planning application can be viewed here.











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Old January 21st, 2015, 03:03 AM   #12604
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Despite the sarcastic ridicule of my previous post about the McDonalds, I do think there is an aspect of truth to the "regeneration/gentrification = sanitisation / loss of unique character" arguments.

I don't think construction/development plays quite the part in the process that some people on here seem to think though. The notion seems to be in the air that architecturally valuable buildings or socially successful communities are being demolished so as to build shiny but bland new stuff - this is far from the truth. The vast majority of the shiny but bland new stuff is replacing hideous post-war buildings in poor condition and/or of poor initial design, or replacing nothing at all (brownfield). I dare say that getting permission to demolish a historical building in 21st century UK is harder than it has been almost anywhere, any time in history.

Furthermore, it cannot reasonably be argued (imo - many do argue it, of course!) that the new buildings are detrimental to London's unique character by inherent virtue of being new and architecturally ill-filling. London has no consistent architectural identity except the lack of one. The Neo-Classicists, Georgians, Victorians, Edwardians, Modernists, Brutalists, Structural Expressionists have all come and run amok in their respective heydays. There is no masterplan or coherence to disrupt. Why shouldn't todays wave run amok (within fairly our stringent limits) accordingly?

Likewise, it's can't seriously be argued that catering to the super-rich is out of character for here. It was the capital of the empire, it's hosted the global super-rich of the day for a long time now.

So it's hard for me to see how most of the buildings posted in this thread could be said to directly contribute to a loss of London character... And yet, as I said at the start, there are some aspects of this notion that have been troubling me, and I don't think can be brushed aside with a blind optimism that all development is all good.

No doubt the above linked piece on the topic has its flaws and no doubt that people arguing against regeneration of crappy areas can easily stray into unsustainable, unlikeable 'poor tourism' logic. But there is a valid concern in here. As above, we don't have to fear the physical destruction of classic old London neighbourhoods - nobody's knocking down the Victorian terraced houses. On the contrary, they're going for millions. Built for the working class masses, now out of the price range of even highly paid middle class.

So if the latter group settle for a small flat in zone n+1 instead of the victorian terrace they might have aspired to just a few decades ago, the cleaner who would have aspired to that flat is pushed out in turn, etc.

It seems to me that this can't be good news in the long run. It doesn't seem like rocket science to suggest that big cities' heightening cultural output stems from social diversity, and a monocultural city of socioeconomic elites isn't vibrant... to put it bluntly, a city with no poor people doesn't invent punk or grime.

As the area gets pricey, small local business owners get priced out, major chains take over. We won't see another Carnaby St or Savile Row, or Big Apple Records or SEX, if every street hosts only the same Pret and Gap.

So, yes, of course there's a real issue around house-building and housing costs, and a real debate ensuing about the negative effects of pricing 'ordinary people' (let alone the proverbial "poor but 'vibrant' artist") out of their city, constantly discussed on the london forums.

But overall I don't fear for the "loss of London's character" in the long run. These things run in cycles and tend to be self-regulating. There's too much history here for the place to permanently stagnate into a hypothetical plastic Dubai-on-Thames. Tbh I'm just surprised I haven't read more pieces proclaiming Feltham the new Peckham yet.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 12:59 PM   #12605
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Old January 21st, 2015, 01:03 PM   #12606
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Originally Posted by stevekeiretsu View Post
As the area gets pricey, small local business owners get priced out, major chains take over. We won't see another Carnaby St or Savile Row, or Big Apple Records or SEX, if every street hosts only the same Pret and Gap.

So, yes, of course there's a real issue around house-building and housing costs, and a real debate ensuing about the negative effects of pricing 'ordinary people' (let alone the proverbial "poor but 'vibrant' artist") out of their city, constantly discussed on the london forums.
That's pretty much the point to me. Even though economic forces drive all this, I feel that those shiny new developments, which could be located anywhere in the world given their international aseptic feeling, are in fact contributing to make London lose its peculiar image.

I mean, it's not just by demolishing historic buildings that we change our cities. That said, I agree that demolishing those old estates (probably the lowest point in architecture so far) is right. I just don't agree with the explicit pricing out of regular people from the inner city.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 01:34 PM   #12607
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The "Inner City" is just getting wider that's all. Its a growing city! What do you expect to happen exactly in a capitalist economy? There are plenty of conservation laws and quirky business protection laws at a local planning level in place. What exactly is your peculiar image of London? A Pet Shop Boy video from 1985?

I read this in Time Out last night, made me laugh, reminding me of this debate and the potential pitfalls of an expanding core grinding up against those static residential rings, as I agree that a city if it is growing needs to be flexible in all its areas to capture the energy of those displaced ....

http://now-here-this.timeout.com/201...london-shitty/

Giles Coren: ‘They are determined to keep London shitty’

Quote:
There’s a derelict underground public convenience down my way that has recently been turned into a bar, to shrieks of hysterical opposition from the neighbours.

That’s right. A place which even in its heyday was no more than a terrifying subterranean piss cave full of drug addicts and sex pests, and which for the last 20 years has not even been that, has been turned by a nice young man into a safe, clean place for eating and drinking, and the local bourgeoisie are going postal.

I know, because I have seen their objection letters. Seen the names on the petition that went to the council. And it’s the same purse-lipped, clench-arsed curtain-twitchers who object to everything round here. And it’ll be the same round you. Anybody who tries to do anything fun or modern or funky in residential London, however dirty and desperate for renewal the district, first has to face the same phalanx of middle-aged, middle-class dinosaurs who are determined to keep London shitty.

‘Save our loos!’ cried the letters to the council. ‘We don’t need another bar, there are already two in the area. What we need is toilets!’

As if the toilets were open anyway. As if anybody apart from tramps used them when they were. As if these correspondents would dream of peeling down their saggy corduroys and parking their pampered arses on anything but clean, warm, private porcelain, close to a ready supply of quilted Andrex and old Polly Toynbee columns cut from the Guardian and hung within easy reach on a piece of organic string.

They were the same when a brilliant pizza/chicken mini-chain opened on a tricky industrial site which had seen three previous enterprises fail. This one, because its owner had a track record of success, encountered opposition on the basis that ‘It will be noisy’ and ‘It will make parking difficult’. In short, local residents were happy with a business being there as long as it was failing, but a really good restaurant was not to be borne. For success is what the English cannot bear.

A great new independent butcher opened on the high street and everyone objected because it would threaten the long-established, not very good butcher round the corner. That’s right, England, let’s keep good businesses away so that bad ones may thrive!

Then they objected to a new fishmonger because ‘It’s expensive! They have lobsters!’ Yeah, storm the barricades, man. Kill the rich. Except they also sell whiting at £6/kilo which could feed your family healthily for a handful of shrapnel. A fear of real food is what that is, from a privileged populace grown weak and stupid on supermarket ready meals.

They objected to the opening of an ethical, progressive Mexican restaurant over the tube station on the grounds that it would displace a raggedy roadside greengrocer whose fume-kippered unseasonal produce my snob neighbours would never dream of eating. They just like the thought of people less well off than themselves scoffing that rubbish, so they can keep on looking down at them for it.

Hell, they even had a sit-in against the renovation of a filthy pedestrian rail bridge because, presumably, it wasn’t fair on the rust, moss and broken bricks which had made their home there.

You ask, ‘Who are these people, with their faux-concern for the downtrodden, their temperance, their objection to good food, lively young people and thriving business?’

Well, they are ladies and gents of a certain age, who for most of their lives lived in a London of closed boozers, awful food, stinky communal pissoirs, graffitied public buildings, incipient sexism and racism, and danger on every corner. And they are just so jealous about the great things their children’s generation are doing to this city that they want to nip progress in the bud by objecting to damn near everything. They want to turn the clocks back to a time that they somehow perceive as having been more ‘real’, because it was their own miserable reality growing up, and they want it to be ours.

It makes me furious. So furious, in fact, that I have a good mind to dash off a strongly worded letter to the council.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 01:52 PM   #12608
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stravinsky View Post
That's pretty much the point to me. Even though economic forces drive all this, I feel that those shiny new developments, which could be located anywhere in the world given their international aseptic feeling, are in fact contributing to make London lose its peculiar image.

I mean, it's not just by demolishing historic buildings that we change our cities. That said, I agree that demolishing those old estates (probably the lowest point in architecture so far) is right. I just don't agree with the explicit pricing out of regular people from the inner city.
These new, high profile developments aren't making London lose its image. Just as the mass of poorly planned, poorly built concrete estates in the 70s ("which could be located anywhere in the world") didn't lose London its image either.

By that argument, Canary Wharf should have remained derelict former dock. Greenwich Peninsula should have remained derelict former gasworks. The Ferrier Estate have remained a decaying estate. Nine Elms should have remained as sheds and warehouses and so on.

No-one is happy when people are priced out of areas. However, blaming "shiny new developments" (instead of challenging council/government policy with respect to housebuilding etc) is weak.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 02:32 PM   #12609
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SE9 View Post
These new, high profile developments aren't making London lose its image. Just as the mass of poorly planned, poorly built concrete estates in the 70s ("which could be located anywhere in the world") didn't lose London its image either.

By that argument, Canary Wharf should have remained derelict former dock. Greenwich Peninsula should have remained derelict former gasworks. The Ferrier Estate have remained a decaying estate. Nine Elms should have remained as sheds and warehouses and so on.

No-one is happy when people are priced out of areas. However, blaming "shiny new developments" (instead of challenging council/government policy with respect to housebuilding etc) is weak.
Of course it's not the fault of the developers, which just lawfully maximize their profit. A social mix should be mandated by the authorities.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 03:00 PM   #12610
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The concrete estates of the 1970s didn't do social damage to London?

As built structures, they did more social damage to London than anything else in the 20th or 21st century thus far. The concentration of poverty, poor build quality, poor permeability, facilitation of crime, drug dealing and so on plagued them. One only has to look at where London's most notorious street gangs, drug cartels, crime hotspots, disenfranchisement and so on are. It's extremely telling that these estates are being demolished a mere 30-40 years after they were completed.
You are right, but let's not forget what predated those estates: Victorian slums. Modernization and the rise of the welfare state during the golden age of capitalism raised the working class out of poverty and despair. Heating, electricity and plumbing was offered to people who had previously lived in overcrowded and slummish houses. We should not underestimate the role played by these estates in the vast improvement of living standards throughout London.

Still, in many aspects the estates failed. From the point of view of planning and architecture they were disasters. Old beautiful buildings and communities were wrecked to create windswept and isolated housing complexes that turned their back on the city. I agree that most of these estates need to be demolished and replaced by denser and more attractive neighbourhoods. However, that doesn't mean these new developments are immune to criticism. Whereas the old estates tried to serve the poor, newer developments tend to ignore or criminalize them. Which is unacceptable.

Quote:
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London, Inner London and Central London today are all much improved from how things were 10, 20 or 30 years ago. If we're talking vibrancy, safety, cosmopolitanism, cultural offerings, attractions, dining, cleanliness, diversions, transport and so on, it hasn't been better than now. If you think London in 2015 is boring, I shudder to think what you'd make of London in the 90s, let alone the 80s.
Indeed you are right about all those things. What I'm trying to get at is that there is a flipside to this that some people seem to ignore. From what I've read the music and nightlife scene was vastly better in the 90s (true for other cities as well). 'Normal' people could afford a flat in central London. A more cosmopolitan London also means a more American London where traditional pubs and independent cafés get replaced by starbucks and kentucky fried chicken restaurants. As quirky shops, hidden back alleys and historic buildings have to give way to international chains cities tend to become more boring.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 04:07 PM   #12611
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The argument that the old estates tried to serve the poor, newer developments dont is completely wrong.

Post War estates were built to house everyone in the population with the majority working/blue collar and middle classes. Having a council flat was an aspiration up to the late 70's. They were never meant to solely house the poor which is what has happened to most council estates from the 80's onwards as government policies as to who council was for changed. Its one reason why a lot of estates fell into a cycle of sink estates and deprivation.

What is happening now, as has been pointed out countless times are private developers are doing what they have always done and sell for the market rate ( this is largely defined by the usual demand V supply theory of to many people chasing to few goods).The main reason prices in London are going through the roof is the simple equation of adding 100k people to London's population ( as has been the case for at least the last decade) and then dividing it with, at the most optimistic 20,000 units built per year. Adding in this massive disparity between Supply and demand is the projection 100k will be added every year until at least 2030 with only 20k being built and it doesn't take a genius to work out what will happen to prices and why there is a lot more 'shiny' new developments being built. Funnyily enough, those agenda driven opinion writers choose to ignore this simple fact and blame everything but.

Again most of these 'shiny new ' developments are replacing pretty dire post war buildings, long neglected brown field sites and low grade industrial estates. Unless thats your thing no massive loss of character is being lost at all.

Public house building since the 80's has collapsed, where as private developers do have to provide affordable housing or an off site payment they do try as hard as they can to get around it. What is needed is a counterbalance to private development with a massive increase in public housing building. Councils are being held back by central government who won't allow them to borrow to build. Where they have done , they have to do so with private developers .Sometimes some local tenants are displaced but the aim to redevelop badly run down and inefficient council estates for greater density with a more mixed community rather than a monoculture. Councils need to ensure those displaced are adequately provided for and its when it goes wrong that certain parts of the media pipe out which makes it sound like its the norm when the opposite is the case.

For a city like London to go from something like 7m in 2000 to potentially 10m by 2030 within the same borders is inevitably going to change the city and be challenging. For those that know what 19070/80's and even 1990's London was like the change has been remarkable and vastly for the better.
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Old January 21st, 2015, 11:42 PM   #12612
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I like that.
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 12:17 AM   #12613
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Originally Posted by Mr Bricks View Post
What I'm trying to get at is that there is a flipside to this that some people seem to ignore. From what I've read the music and nightlife scene was vastly better in the 90s (true for other cities as well).
This really depends on your taste and what kind of nightlife you enjoy. Personally I thought the '90s were terrible for music, and today London has so many fantastic live music venues it's insane to complain.

Quote:
'Normal' people could afford a flat in central London.
That is simply not true of the 1990s. It is true that before the '80s central London was significantly less expensive, but that's more a function of the fact that central London was filthy and had serious crime problems, and rich people aspired to suburbia.

Quote:
A more cosmopolitan London also means a more American London where traditional pubs and independent cafés get replaced by starbucks and kentucky fried chicken restaurants. As quirky shops, hidden back alleys and historic buildings have to give way to international chains cities tend to become more boring.
I see minimal evidence of this. KFC and Starbucks are both struggling in London, with the number of outlets reducing rather than increasing. Of course London does have the full range of international brands, but places like Soho offer a concentration of independent and unique businesses like almost nowhere else in the world.
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 02:22 AM   #12614
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I wasn't even born in the early 1980s, but from having had access to extensive archival pics of London, I cannot possibly agree that the city was better. At all.

Cheaper in certain central areas? Sure.

But more dangerous, more derelict, more dirty.

Isn't it interesting how the perspectives of a place being "edgy" or "gritty" are always on healthy young-ish males?

It is inevitable to conclude many areas of London I can easily walk around today would be off-limits to me, had I been born three decades earlier.

Women are often left out entirely when people write about how great and awesome area full of low-level thugs were!

It is like some people long for dangerous areas, because they are cheap, and then the "wrong" people (those too afraid of the dangers) would just stay away.

Disgusting train of thought.

This worshiping of a "lost working-class street culture and grit" is as off-putting as the flashy outdated ostentation of noveau-riches of Keningston.

And we then had the issues of ethnic gangs much more racist than today against "outsiders"...
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 05:39 AM   #12615
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@Roaming Girl: Very fair comments, and it was more of a man's world in the past. Today's urban environment is much more woman friendly, no question. That said, districts and streets can have their ups and downs, and while today's London overall is a better, cleaner, healthier and perhaps safer environment than in the past, at the same time some areas and places have lost a lot of character or have been totally destroyed, and that is sad.

My friends and I discuss how our old local high street called Boundary Road in West Hove/Portslade. This used to be a regular shopping street with a Woolworth's, Co-Op store, Tesco's, bakers, butchers, greengrocers, many small clothing and shoe shops, banks, post office, etc. plus a few surprisingly large antique stores at one end. Today, while some stores keep going, it is a shadow of its former self, the department stores have closed, most small stores have gone, and the street is full of charity shops, pound stores etc Progress has not been kind to Boundary Road or this kind of local shopping street, even though all property prices in the surrounding areas have rocketed. So much prosperity for some, yet the local shopping street looks as if its in the midst of a 30s style depression.

Pubs: In the past decades so many have changed hands (much due to the government in the 80s onward forcing the sale of pubs from tied brewery ownership to hospitality/restaurant companies) and been renovated to become refitted practically as generic family restaurants, but without their old decor, elements or even names that once gave them so much local significance. Brighton and Hove used to be full of really great pubs, each different and yet wonderful, but today few survive which retain their wonderful character as I remember them in the late 70s and 80s. Today's younger generation have little real idea of what has been lost in this regard. The beers though have generally improved, but I miss many of these old pubs. I question why new owners spent small fortunes stripping out so much of their character and leaving behind so much banal decor.
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 12:50 PM   #12616
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There are a lot of incredibly ignorant forumers posting in this thread*. I know you're not one of them, but many seem to think that if a street is "cleaned up" and a new shiny glass building is constructed the area is instantly improved. There is very little understanding of social and historic context around here.

*Fine example right here:
Well you are fully entitled to have the opinion that I'm ignorant.

However, you cannot tell me how I should feel about my own City. Especially {with all due respect} when you do not live here.
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 01:33 PM   #12617
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I think SE9 and London Lad summed up the debate brilliantly.
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 02:36 PM   #12618
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It is like some people long for dangerous areas, because they are cheap, and then the "wrong" people (those too afraid of the dangers) would just stay away.
Good points. I think the problem with this idolisation of ‘gritty’ areas is that gritty means a very particular thing.

It means shitty and dangerous enough that it’s cheap, but not so shitty and dangerous that it’s really shitty and dangerous. That magic sweet spot where it’s just decent enough for our proverbial poor-but-‘vibrant’ artist to move in, but not decent enough that they can’t afford it. The trouble is, that ‘sweet spot’ is necessarily only something that exists transiently. An area passes through the sweet spot as it’s in the process of getting better.

That’s the problem with people lamenting Dalston of 2005, or whatever. They think Dalston 2015 is too gentrified, but Dalston 1995 was just poor and dangerous, you wouldn’t have had the 2005 version without it being on a trajectory towards the 2015 version. Some people seem to think they can gentrify “just enough” to reach that spot and then freeze it, and I’m not sure that’s possible, or has ever really happened anywhere.

Like I said, the cycles are self-regulating and self-influencing, the minute an area is the perfect level of gritty it becomes cool, and when it becomes cool, it becomes expensive. You can’t preserve the cool-and-cheap in amber, unless you implemented some bizarre set of laws to completely eliminate the effect of market forces, and even then I don’t see how it would really be possible.
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 03:10 PM   #12619
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The trouble with all of this is nowhere is 'de-gentrifying'; everything is on the trajectory of upwards, and forcing people who can't afford that further and further out, resulting in a hollowed out centre where only the rich can afford.

Why were these areas like Dalston 1995 cheap in the first place? Because they were a result of being on the wrong side of town, of not being attractive places to live because they had nothing there. Will we ever see a cycle where the industry that left the buzzy East end Docklands of yesteryear causing it to become a backwater, ripe for redevelopment, happen again anywhere in London? Will one day the City and Canary Wharf become derelict areas if the finance industry goes the way of the dockers? Otherwise you're going to get to a point where there is nothing left to gentrify and regenerate, and then what happens?
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Old January 22nd, 2015, 07:17 PM   #12620
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