It's worth looking at some of the context for the Byker Wall project.
Probably the most important single work that shaped the thinking of
urban planners at that time was 'Family and Kinship in East
London' (1957) By Michael Young and Peter Willmott, (I think it was
published by Penguin) It told of the social dislocation and loss of
community when a whole neighbourhood (Bethnal Green), living in post
war slums, was relocated to an outer suburb. Add to that the works by
Christopher Alexander on things like redesigning an indian village
and other communities, plus the design methods thinking of the time,
and you have an interesting mix. The political background also saw a
resurgence of British socialism through labour governments at local
and national level. There were strong pressures to get grass roots
involvement in the political process. They were interesting times.
BTW, I lived in the North East—Newcastle, Sunderland, and Durham—for
ten years from 1965 to 1975, so I saw a lot of this as it was
happening. As I said, interesting times.
Professor David Sless BA MSc FRSA
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