Musings and reflections on Leeds city centre – housing, consumerism and ‘narrowing the gap’ #2

In my last post, I made the connection between my 2011 collaborative drawing project Dwelling: a visual gazetteer, which included my own drawing of Skyline Apartments on Duke Street, and the new Victoria Gate shopping centre on Eastgate/Duke Street, sited opposite Skyline Appartments.

This project brought nine visual artists based in Leeds together to reflect on Leeds as a contemporary cityscape – specifically in relation to its new city centre living dwellings.

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R0016733 - 600

Sarah S R0016730 - 600

At the time I was fascinated by the rapidly changing skyline in Leeds, the number of new development and refurbishments, and wondered who was living in these flats and what changes were taking place to the make-up of the city centre, socially, culturally, architecturally. However I didn’t have any real understanding of how the development of buildings takes place, nor what the politics of regeneration were/are at the time (something the MSC in Urban Regeneration and Development has given me).

Five years later the topic of housing is still an extremely hot one in the UK. The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has recently launched its #Planning4People campaign, with its four themes of:
• Making planning work
• Planning for housing in new and renewed communities
• Planning for a better society
• Planning for climate-resilient communities

From my perspective this planning focused campaign rightly positions housing and social and environmental justice on an equal footing. I look forward to getting involved, and bringing cultural and creative perspectives to the discussion and activity.

Images from Dwelling 1. By Garry Barker, 2. By Cath Brooke, 3. By Sarah Spanton

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About waymarkingthesketchbook

Sarah Spanton is director of arts organisation Waymarking - www.waymarking.org.uk
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