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This is what austerity looks like: a nation surviving on the results of what conservatives privately call “the progressive nonsense” of the Big Society agenda.
In a journey that begins and ends in the capital, but takes in Belfast, Aberdeen, Plymouth and Brighton, Hatherley explores modern Britain’s urban landscape and finds a short-sighted disarray of empty buildings, malls and glass towers. Yet while A New Kind of Bleak anatomizes “broken Britain,” Hatherley also looks to a hopeful future and discovers fragments of what it might look like.
Illustrated by Laura Oldfield Ford, author and artist of Savage Messiah.
“A humanely barbed Nikolaus Pevsner for our times ... This book should be required reading for planners, developers and architects.”
“Hatherley has busily constructed a cult reputation as the angry young man of architectural criticism.”
“Engaging, fearless and startlingly intelligent polemicist.”
“Essential reading for anyone who ever feels their blood start to boil when they hear the word ‘regeneration.’ ”
“Owen Hatherley brings to bear a quizzing eye, venomous wit, supple prose, refusal to curry favour, rejection of received ideas, exhaustive knowledge and all-round bolshiness.”
“Fierce and original.”
“He writes with venom and flare... [It is] refreshing to see politics reintroduced to the architectural debate.”
“[A] bracing antidote to the faux-chumminess of so much British cultural discourse.”
“A timely counterpoint to Britain’s jubilee and Olympics self-congratulation... observed with a precision and fury to force you to open your eyes.”
“Hatherley’s astute and provocative analysis reaches deep into many of the inequalities that exist for the 80 per cent of us who live in urban areas”