Embrace me when I’m walking: some personal notes in non-jargon

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SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP
After being in school benches for a couple of days and listening to a dozen people saying that Bromley-by-Bow is the most deprived area in the UK, I went out for a walk in Bromley-by-Bow. Because I couldn’t confirm or deny what was said. Because I wanted to see it myself.Because I have always been attracted to deprived areas.To swap jeans in a butcher shop downtown Joburg.To walk and eat in Belsunce, Marseille.Parts of New Orleans.Real-life scarcities, daily scarcities. I had great expectations. And Bromley-by-Bow showed its sad side that rainy day. Sad houses, sad shops, sad people walking by, sad cars on wet streets. A sad breakfast with beans swimming down Stroudley Walk.Poor whites gambling their bits of money at Ladbrokes.Women with burkas and tender but discrete eyes walking out the beauty salon.A post office with an ATM, a vegetable shop, some women wearing plastic bags with whatever. No real British English but English as a mix of many tongues. Something beautiful. And it actually wasn’t too bad at all; despite the rain Bromley-by-Bow actually looked alright that rainy afternoon. No beggars, no hustlers, no streetwalkers, no kids scraping for food. People with families and houses and yes, possibly poor and with hard lives in bad working and housing circumstances, but it didn’t seem to be too bad…
Architecture & Planning in Times of Scarcity : Reclaiming the Possibility of Making. 3rd AESOP European Urban Summer School 2012, Manchester
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