Sky Blue Black Vinyl Day

The sort of perfect day when no self respecting camera should be left in its bag. Fully charged up we go out, to a feast of colour and record shops.

First to Granby, a social call.
First to Granby, a social call.

But then all visits to Granby these last five years and more have been social visits. Where our conversations with each other have created the future.

A future now bursting into colour.
A future now bursting into colour.
So proud of our newly finished houses.
So proud of our newly finished Community Land Trust houses.
Particularly loving the yellow front door here.
Particularly loving the yellow front door here.

And don’t worry music fans, the Black Vinyl is coming later. Continue reading “Sky Blue Black Vinyl Day”

The Quiet Days

Version 2We’ll come back to this image in a bit and what it might imply, but first let’s get out walking. On my own today, Sarah’s back at her funeral celebrant work.

I love the quiet days when Christmas has gone and today begins so sunny it would be just wrong not to take my camera out for a look round.

Along Ullet Road.
Along Ullet Road.

Where they had their street party just a few weeks ago.

Me - and Cumberland Avenue.
Me – and Cumberland Avenue.

Continue reading “The Quiet Days”

Granby 4 Streets – Open to the Future

This was another of our many big days now. First 5 Community Land Trust Houses  finished and open.DSC07461

And here are some of us who’ve helped this to happen: Joe Halligan, architect from Assemble, Tracey Gore of Steve Biko Housing, Lorna Mackie of the Nationwide Foundation, Eleanor Lee of Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust, Councillor Ann O’Byrne – Deputy Mayor of Liverpool – and me, also of the CLT.

To come and see us in Granby.
In Granby 4 Streets

At our Open Day on Monday 21st September.Open day

Continue reading “Granby 4 Streets – Open to the Future”

The Great Street?

Cairns Street in Granby selected for possible ‘Great Street’ award.Great Street - 1

Unless you’ve been living under a stone or, even worse, not reading my blog posts, you’ll know that Assemble, the Granby 4 Streets architects have been nominated for the Turner Prize for their work with us. What might have escaped your notice is that we’ve also been nominated for something else. The Academy of Urbanism’s ‘Great Street’ award.

This award covers the UK and Ireland and award nominations are made by members of the Academy, not by representatives of the streets themselves. And awards given cover places, neighbourhoods and towns as well as the one for individual streets.

So we didn’t put in for it, but are of course delighted to have been picked. The two other streets up for it are Deptford High Street in London and Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork. And today the Academy of Urbanism judges arrived in Cairns Street to take a look around and meet some of the people we’ve all been working with in the 4 Streets these last few years.

And here they are.
And here they are.
Being welcomed to Cairns Street by Erika Rushton, Chair of the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust.
Being welcomed to Cairns Street by Erika Rushton, Chair of the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust.

Erika talked about the ways local people have been literally ‘repossessing’ these 4 streets over the last few years, amplifying some of the points we’d made in the brochure (above) that we’d prepared for the day. Continue reading “The Great Street?”

Street Market Garden

A good, warm Street Market in Granby today. Full of friends and conversations. So I didn’t take as many photographs as I usually would, too busy talking! Anyway, here they are – minus donkey rides, as they’d already finished for the day before I ambled round with my camera.

All sorts of creatures are here.
All sorts of creatures are here.
Though mostly human.
Though mostly human.
Lots of food.
Lots of food.
Bikes being fixed.
Bikes being fixed.
On a sunny day in Liverpool 8.
On a sunny day in Liverpool 8.

Continue reading “Street Market Garden”

Liverpool Urban Renaissance

A reflection on where we are – and how it all feels at the moment, particularly in Granby.

Renaissance - 1A few weeks ago I wrote emotionally on here about the how tos and joys and frustrations of urban renaissance. Of being involved in bringing new life back to places long condemned to death by the vicissitudes of time and public policies.

“There is no one method. And even when you all make one up and decide what you want to do and how you want to do it to get to where most of you want to go in your place, it will change by the day depending on how you are all feeling:

  • Some days those of you who are ‘good at the detail’ won’t be able to be bothered with ‘all that crap’
  • And those of you who are ‘always able to see the best in everyone’ will sometimes think just the opposite of that and will find you’ve just let everyone know in no uncertain terms.
  • Other days life will happen and the thing you’ve planned, dreamed of and applied for competently and confidently will be knocked back for no good reason you’re going to be able to see that day.
  • Or more than a few of us will have forgotten to put on our superhero suits on the same day and so stand revealed as the fragile, maybe tired and sometimes even lonely human beings we in fact are.

Because that’s all we are and that’s what we are and that’s the whole of what we are. And what’s wrong with that? It’s complicated and we are all of us only learning. But now and then and gradually over time, and all of us together in all of this, we might get somewhere. We might see some improvement.”

Then since writing that I’ve been relatively quiet on this blog, because life has turned out to be exactly as described above.

But we are, as they say ‘getting there.’ Continue reading “Liverpool Urban Renaissance”

Street of the Year? Cairns Street in Granby.

 

Granby resident Hazel Tilley being interviewd about the Street of the Year nomination by Jessica Robbins of BBC Radio Merseyside.
Granby resident Hazel Tilley being interviewd about the Street of the Year nomination by Jessica Robbins of BBC Radio Merseyside.

Good news today in this press release issued jointly by Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust and Liverpool City Council

Cairns Street in Granby, this week.
Cairns Street in Granby, this week.

Coming soon after Granby 4 Streets architects Assemble being nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize for their work in Granby is the news that one of the 4 Streets, Cairns Street, has now been nominated as one of the streets up for the ‘Street of the Year’ award.

This award is given by the Academy of Urbanism, covering the UK and Ireland and award nominations are made by members of the Academy, not by representatives of the streets themselves. Awards given cover places, neighbourhoods and towns as well as the one for individual streets.

Cairns Street resident Hazel Tilley, part of the Community Land Trust currently working with other partners in the City to renovate the 150 formerly empty houses in the four remaining original Granby streets says:

‘I’m delighted that Cairns Street has been nominated for this, which is not to take anything away from the good work being done in the other three Granby streets. But if this recognition helps with what we’re all trying to do here, and I think it will, then I’m all for it.’

Continue reading “Street of the Year? Cairns Street in Granby.”

Granby 4 Streets: Telling the Story

Since the news about our architects Assemble and the Turner Prize we’ve been getting a lot of requests from the media and other organisations to tell the story of what we’re doing in Granby Four Streets. Including a presentation and follow up discussion I’ve just done at a conference in Stoke. This was the 2015 annual conference of ‘Creative People and Places’ an initiative of the Arts Council.

As the presentation is all prepared anyway I thought it would be a good idea to put it on here and at the beginning of ‘The Story of Granby 4 Streets’ as a quick summary of where we’re all up to at the moment.

Here then are the Four Streets, the last four of the original Granby, Liverpool 8 streets to be still standing.

Ducie Street
Ducie Street
Jermyn Street.
Jermyn Street.
Cairns Street.
Cairns Street.
Beaconsfield Street.
Beaconsfield Street.

By early 2011 when the community around here asked me if I could come and help with their work on these streets there were something like 50 of the houses being lived in and 150 empty. Continue reading “Granby 4 Streets: Telling the Story”

Sunshiny Day in Granby

Cairns Street Liverpool 8, 16th May 2015.
Cairns Street Liverpool 8, 16th May 2015.

Early evening of the Saturday after the news about the Turner Prize broke things have calmed down in Granby. After a week of television cameras, radio microphones and general media attention. All welcomed by all of us but nevertheless a relief today to walk around the quiet weekend streets.

In Beaconsfield Street.
In Beaconsfield Street.
Plus Dane well on with this row of houses now.
Plus Dane well on with this row of houses now.

Continue reading “Sunshiny Day in Granby”

Granby 4 Streets and the Turner Prize

Assemble at Granby 4 Streets Market, in the yellow jackets.
Assemble at Granby 4 Streets Market, in the yellow jackets.

The news has just broken that Assemble, the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust architects, are one of the four nominations for this year’s Turner Prize, principally for their work in Granby.

“In an age when anything can be art, why not have a housing estate?” asked judge Alistair Hudson, when pressed about the inclusion of the London-based collective Assemble.”

The Guardian goes on to say:

Assemble represent a first for the Turner prize: currently comprising 18 designers and architects under 30, they are a loose collective who make direct interventions. The primary project they are nominated for is their collaboration with residents of the Granby Four Streets area of Toxteth in Liverpool.

 

The red-brick terraced estate had fallen into disrepair until four years ago when, inspired by the guerrilla gardening movement, residents began taking the situation into their own hands by setting up a community land trust. From there, they invited Assemble to help improve the houses and neighbourhood. “This was people on the ground, bringing artists in, to make the world better,” says Hudson.

Another Assemble project is the Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock, east Glasgow: a rethinking of what a playground is and one that allows children to embrace both their creative and destructive sides.

All 18 share a studio in east London and accepted the nomination only after a group meeting. “They don’t occupy the realm of the single genius, solitary artist,” said Hudson. “This is collective activity working in society.”

Assemble, Granby residents and the fireplaces.
Assemble, Granby residents and the fireplaces.

Continue reading “Granby 4 Streets and the Turner Prize”