Thursday, 26 February 2009

Fleet footed

Inspired by walking and accessibility in the locale, and with a new interest in Living Streets and eco-hydrology, I was searching for information about the path of the River Fleet which runs somewhere beneath London next to my flat.

The excerpt from Homann's map of circa 1705 shows the Fleet running past where I sit, at that time in a field, and St Chad's Well must have been nearby, where now there is a café. Here, in 1772, a thousand people were reported to have 'drunk the waters' in a week.

I am planning a walk on 26 April, to remember Mary Wollstonecraft and to contemplate the underground Fleet (and personally perhaps even to remember the Derbal Yerrigan, the Danube, the Mur and the Tuul) in the wider context of River//Cities.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

connect culture Kings Cross

Eleanor Lisney of Connect Culture, Denise Stephens of Enabled by Design, and I met to review Eleanor's Beauchamp House independent apartment living project. We discussed adaptible live-work spaces, kitchens and thresholds, and more specifically, processes of developing a design brief and work contract, and working with building contractors, among other topics.

After meeting at the Travelodge, we visited my own first floor flat, and although we found it partly wheelchair accessible, the WC is not. Most of the Euston Road restaurants and cafés between Birkenhead and St Chad Streets, where we considered eating, were barred, with 150mm high steps at the entrances - the only exception was a kebab shop.

follow the apartment project here
more on accessibility on Tour Watch

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Rapid Urbanisation

After reading about work on urbanisation in the city of Lodz (Malgorzata Hanzl et al), I am encouraged to extend my researches on peri-urbanism in Ulaanbaatar. While Lodz, as part of Europe, appears likely to enjoy a higher level of investment than Ulaanbaatar, students there also have an understanding of European urban architectures and master-planning which might not be appropriate in rapidly urbanising Mongolia.

I spoke to Monika Dzięgielewska-Geitz in Lodz in February, and learned about her work with cultural creatives and the 'restoration economy'. Monika's recent work with eco-hydrology in urban regeneration inspired me to think of the River Fleet and its place in the River//Cities network, which connects with some of my current ideas for an ecological history walk in Kings Cross, and perhaps one day in Ulaanbaatar.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

connect culture

I travelled to Coventry to measure and assess a dwelling, with connect culture's Eleanor Lisney, so that we can consider its adaptation for independent living. We reviewed thresholds, such as to the balcony, the kitchen, living room and the ensuite bathroom to the main bedroom.

The ensuite would be opened up as a wet room. The kitchen and main living area seem to have good potential as ann entertaining area. One idea - to make the balcony more accessible - was to raise the floor level inside. We also looked at ready-made furniture options nearby, at the only city centre Ikea store I have seen.

Sunday, 1 February 2009


Having just returned from Euston railway station on a bicycle errand this morning, I was listening to BBC's Bicycle Diaries. Episode two is about livelihoods generated from bicycles in Kampala. One man was using bicycle parts to build wheelchairs, (like Amarbat) which the programme says, are in great demand there. (Negus 2004) Another man had a mobile telephone stall, another an icecream and groundnut business, each mounted on converted bicycles or tricycles.

It reminded me of our family's Christmas gift support to Re-cycle: Bicycle Aid, an organisation working with bicycle ambulances, -deliveries, -school runs and other grass-roots transport development through 'bicycle aid' in Africa. Other episodes of the BBC programme cover Parisian shared bicyles (1) and newspaper delivery cycles in Delhi (3), the latter reminded me of my past jobs. Another BBC programme covers the decline in work for London's cycle couriers.

bicycle-wheelchair tandem
folding wheel