Thursday, August 30, 2007

Parisian Preservation of Urban Creativity

"All the cities all over in Europe are starting to look the same. London, Berlin they're going to have the same streets with the same shops.

"Culture is a very important thing to create integration, to create a higher quality of life."

Over the next three years, any commercial building that comes up for sale in this area will only be offered up to those who want to start things like bookshops or arty cinemas. Big businesses, even those offering to pay high rents, will not be allowed to infiltrate.
-- Paris rallies against consumerism

"Infiltration" is a great way of putting it, even if it's hard to hide a 3-storey Starbucks. Familiar logos spring up in shop windows over weekends, weaving their way into your monoculture view of the world so fast that you can't even remember what was there 48 hours ago. London Road has its own Costa now. Travelodges for the caffeine-weary. Pattern-matching morphine for those needing respite after their fill of the new and different. Independence is now a tourist attraction, a mine of creation to be caged and commoditised.

Paris perhaps gets the link between happiness and creativity. For some reason, the UK links happiness to consumption. The New England Quarter claims 20,000 square feet of "small business" space, but 25,000 for Sainsbury's (not including car park space?). And guess which one's open.


Nick said...

Hi scribe. I don't know why I like this site but I do. In my reader. Praps one day it'll make sense.

Scribe said...

Ta Nick. If it starts to make sense, then either I'm doing something wrong, or you need to take some time out... ;)