Rent Control Paradox No 1

Undoubtedly the first of many seemingly paradoxical issues concerning the difficulty (ie the monied establishment of whom Rent Control would affect the most in a negative sense) to even implementing Rent Control (RC) and thus a refusal at the first hurdle.

This post is a reply to question that I had no time to answer at the end of a presentation on the basic background of the present housing model and why unregulated private purchase and rents are now completely market led under the finasialation of the mortgage debt market and the now commodified living space, we call home.

The question is an obvious first hurdle to even thinking about an introduction of private RC,

Slightly paraphrased question from my classmate Mark;

“How are you going to get an acceptance from small private landlords let alone institutions” ?

My answer which has come from several ideas that I have been working on for a few years that I recorded as an end goal based on a fantasy Beveridge 2.0 report, including the ‘five giants’ ( think the 5 elephants in the room) as of a consequence of a 21st century established neoliberal society, namely the UK.
Very broad, but the main point being how do you convince that the stick of RC will benefit the nervous middle (50-90 percentile) and suspicious asset wealthy (top 10%).

According to the behavioral economist Kahneman we all suffer a greater bias towards loss (known as ‘loss aversion’) than gain, namely, ie it plays on our minds. At first this seems a good thing, as being over cautious must be good, as common sense would say that being attuned on a financial decision is wise, but alas this can in some circumstance lead to poor judgment, as shown in the gambler chasing the initial debt, whilst being blind to the option of just accepting a loss and walking away (Kahneman 2011). An AI algorithm would of course weigh up the odds and take the initial loss, if the odds stated were the best course of action to its overall long term gain.
Humans struggle with this due the emotion of the initial loss, we all do it as a fast thinking reaction.

So with this in mind to counter the loss we need a greater gain, thus in this report I figured four carrots to the one stick, this is so important to creating societal jewels (ie NHS) that can be justified to the majority over the small minority of our natural self seeking to a short term initial loss ( and we will see in the paper all benefit long term, again the NHS).

Though it should be stated that any welfare fiscal spending cannot show a direct profit by its very nature it’s once, twice, thrice removed and the measurement of GDP growth is only seen as a generation is cared and educated from birth to grave, kept healthy, has food, shelter, warmth and no fear of retirement so as to concentrate on producing the measurable wealth.

Not all can be commodified for direct profit, but what can should be able to produce unhindered by welfare concerns. Thus, “No Apron Strings

Yes, it’s a bit uptiopian, but so was male and female emancipation, free university, health and safety in the workplace, the 5 day week, paid holidays within PAYE etc.


Using the Park to fill a need

Conceptual sketch of connection

Mood Board

 Precedent Images


1;1000 plan

Using the Grounds to become a cross roads for desire lines (i.e.the shortest routes from A to B) that people will use. Connecting the various areas within TW, both past and present.
In particular the new shopping centre, with a bridge going directly (at an elevated level) to the park (with the bonus of underground parking being covered by the park). 
This allows for retail, in particular the lunch time crowd to gather at the upper part of the park (see below). Circulation is important for choices and uses of the space. So, a short term stay in the upper park or a longer more relaxed exploration of the grounds. A return visit to a memorable spot, a concert, a visit to the restaurant at the top of the grounds, ice skating in the winter with the bonus of a nice hot brew from the cafe.

Circulation Plan

So we have got the people in the park, now for them to move around, explore
and discover what the park has to offer.

A big issue with parks is the simplistic view of what they should be. Too many Councils still hold onto the old Victorian view of a place to parade on a Sunday.
A park must function within the context that it resides. So in this a case, the fact that its in the middle of a busy town. So easy access for the brief and regular visiting crowd of lunch timers. Therefore,  Provide food, somewhere to sit, to people watch (the most common sport in the world), to meet, (especially at a corner or a junction i.e. a place) and finally provide water, to watch and interact with.
None of this should be assumed to work, so the study below produced in 1980 in New York by the famous (or should be) Mr Holly Whyte will enlighten if the concept of place making is new to you. 

All Town Planners, Urban Designers, Landscape Architects and Architects must and should watch this before undertaking ANY Project concerning public space.

From a previous blog

Its about People………..Stupid

I have been going on about this study along with a book titled ‘A Visual Approach To Park Design’ by Albert J Rutledge. Chicago city started an organisation called ‘Project for Public spaces’ which was inspired by Fred Kent one of Whyte’s assistants on the project below.  A massive resource of idea’s that I wished I looked into further before compiling the document ( I skimmed the edges as lack of TIME like all of us). If i have a passion its making places that effect peoples lifes for the better on a daily basis. Which I realise Parks are one of them. Can you imagine Calverley becoming ‘A Place’ again? Sod the fancy stuff, get the basics right…..See below.
So here is the video in question. Made in 1980 (when most of you less than a twinkling in somebody’s eye ), but still relevant. Like good music if the quality is there then its timeless. Thus this research video. An hour long, but totally fascinating. Applies to both parks, the low traffic flow of TW thus need to attract, and the high traffic of Jubilee, need to retain.
I would be interested on your thoughts.
For me, it was the answer to the big question, Why should anybody visit my park, or to put it another way, how do I make my park ‘A Place’ rather than a field?

On the third viewing (…sad I know) the point of ratio of human space. Too wide and the distance will not be to scale, and narrowness in not necessarily a deterrent. To finish, a quote from the great man himself,

“I end then in praise of small spaces. The multiplier effect is tremendous. It is not just the number of people using them, but the larger number who pass by and enjoy them vicariously, or even the larger number who feel better about the city center for knowledge of them. For a city, such places are priceless, whatever the cost. They are built of a set of basics and they are right in front of our noses. If we will look.” ‘William H.(Holly) Whyte (1917-1999)’

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation, 1980.

The Park

Within the Space

1:500 plan
Please click on the image to enlarge, due to A1 and Blogspot reducing the file size it is not as crisp an image as original, though can still be read….just.
Note: Covered car parks by the BBC studio, to bring extra height for the connecting bridge to the Station.
A Park with something for everyone visiting the Town. A venue for concerts, exploration, walking the dog, a run, to look in wonder at the water falls. To be seduced by the southern facing hillside with beautiful perennial planting designed by the head Gardener in conjunction with the local ‘Friends of the Park Society’. 
Local businesses to be involved as they will benefit from extra footfall traffic.
The upper area in particular to sponsored by the business that benefit, not just financially, but with input, thus adoption of the space.
Upper area cross section
Lunch time concerts, plenty of places to sit, angled benches for easy conversation, Rocks to climb and move through. In context with the town and surrounding area. Open lawn for summer lounging.

Area backing onto the high street (i.e. parallel ).With water to paddle, dangle feet in during the summer. Seating steps to the water side.

Lower Area

Cross section of the southern facing perennial planting, going down to the waterside.
The valleys of rock to explore, providing framed and surprising views across the park

A Closer Look

Plenty of options

A closer look at the Valley, Waterfall, Island, and Perennial area.

Through the valleys and tunnel to an enclosed beach. High top viewing through the mixed planting. Looking up the waterfall, large area for summer entertainment/BBQ’s. 

Looking across the Perennial Beds with a density of trees to feel the sense of enclosure within the space.


Night Garden
At night the atmosphere can be manipulated with lighting to create another space to be used and explored.

Uplighter’s in the valleys create a new space of reflected light and shadow.
Various times throughout the year can have addition hired lighting for concerts, Christmas and other celebrations. Lighting has been used to great effect at Bedgebury for Christmas.

A tunnel of wonder for the young at heart. Maybe a bit of chintz, but this is about the many not the few. Thus what may seem a ‘bit tacky’ to some will also produce wonder to the young imaginative mind and create a memory of place that will live forever from those formative years. After all its not about the designer, but the end user. 


Sequential sketches
A central meeting point for a coffee, note, the famous moveable chairs from Holly Whyte philosophy of place. 

A walk through the perennial beds to the central Pergola. Note: Zig-zag for shallow gradients, stairs for desire lines. Both providing answers for the steep gradient and using it as a benefit rather than a problem.

Looking down from height to the lower section of the main waterfall.

Looking to the East from the Island.

Looking up the huge waterfall.

Above the valley looking to the distant bridge.

In the Valley, enclosed journeying towards the revelation of a framed view. Note, elevated walkway through the dense shrubs/woodland. 

Closer Still

A River of plants

Sways of planting in an informal manner. Benches at junctions for meeting and conversation. Direct and indirect routes, you choose.

Obama on a short visit for some thinking time.

On the ridge looking to the North Bank.
A time to sit and ponder, or grab a snack, enclosed within beautiful planting.

Looking to the West back to the high street.