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The fate of London’s post-war neighborhoods: Lansbury Estate and the plans for Barking Riverside en

In the years of WWII, the term “neighborhood” gained a specific meaning. The necessary reconstruction of London after WWII and the introduction of welfare state ideas in British society led to the construction of several post-war neighborhoods within London, that should provide “decent housing and plenty of space to play and rest for everybody”.

In the 1980s, due to a spread of neoliberal ideas during the rule of Margaret Thatcher, the concept of this neighborhood as a balanced and planned unit of living, working and playing became unpopular. A time of private ownership followed, or – in Margaret Thatcher’s words – “the right to buy” started ruling over the housing market.

Today, in the midst of real estate speculation and housing shortages, London is growing fast. The government seeks to tackle these problems by opening up new development areas, either by transforming existing housing developments (e.g. Heygate Estate) or by starting new developments on former industrial areas – such as the development of Barking Riverside.

This development is again called “a neighborhood” and it will be erected in the east of London, on the former site of powerplants.

This tour therefore explores the origins of the post-war neighborhood idea as realized in Lansbury and it will try to answer the question, to which extent the original ideals of a balanced neighborhood can again be found in the plans for Barking Riverside.

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