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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, September 11, 2008
    A size 8 woman wearing a size 14 dress
     
    Among many other great quotes about Liverpool and its life at the culture conference this evening, John Flamson of Liverpool University described the city in a very interesting way, saying 'it's like a size 8 woman wearing a size 14 dress'.

    Other people have researched and written widely on Shrinking Cities. And this struck home on the walk I led around L11 this afternoon, where we spent a lot of time standing in acres of abandoned land while I described what used to be there - Croxteth Comprehensive when the community, protesting its proposed closure in 1982, occupied it and ran its own educational programme for months until the council relented; English Electric which once employed 14,000 and was the focal point not just for these people's working lives, but their social lives too; and the blocks of flats on Storrington Avenue, removed some years ago, their elderly occupants relocated in low-level houses or sheltered flats nearby.

    Standing at the wasteland at the corner of Storrington Avenue brought home to me how much the city has shrunk inwards. The counterpoint to the loss of Storrington Heights and many others in our edge-of-city area is the expansion of high rise - ahem - apartments in the city centre. Odd how a city can justify demolishing decent homes which people loved in one area whilst building very similar ones (for other sorts of people) elsewhere... John maybe unwittingly gave the game away when he spoke of the 'need' to change land values in the city. You do that by eradicating the poor from an area and selling the land on to developers who will profit on their subsequent sales of new property to the wealthy.