No Urban Village?

It’s a real shame to hear that Crisis lack the support needed to build their Urban Village in London.

The plan, you may recall, is to create affordable housing for the city’s low-paid key workers, as well as the homeless, who would benefit from on-site training and counselling.

Such a model has worked well in New York; so well, in fact, that their fourth Common Ground project is soon to open.

The Observer today reported that opposition to the scheme from local councillors, following a less than enthusiastic response from residents, has scuppered plans for development at the latest potential site.

Locals don’t seem to like the idea of having so many people with mental health problems moving into their neighbourhood.

Crisis estimate that there are some 40,000 people living on the streets of London, in squats or B&Bs. There is also a great need for affordable housing, with 60,000 public sector workers expected to leave London, due to the capital’s high living costs, within the next decade.

Five years after David gave such strong support for this integrated community, why can’t they get it off the ground?

What do you think?


  1. Dustin Brown

    I think…we should do a documentary on the homeless. There must be a few who would like to tell their story. Some I’m sure are incredible.

    I’d like to hear it,wouldn’t you???

    I think people have images in their minds of the homeless being just dirty and weird.You need to show different imagery to change minds, and dispel fears.The TV is a powerful tool.Could work.

    Best regards, Dustin

  2. Hysteron proteron

    I got it now, cheers for that, FEd. Interesting site — thanks for sharing it, Marcus.

    James, more power to you — just don’t end up in gaol or get killed doing it.


    Hysteron proteron

  3. FEd

    Just thought you might like to see David’s brief appearance on ITV’s London Tonight programme from Monday.

    Although the interview footage is from 2003, when David made his donation to Crisis, the matter of planning permission is covered in some detail and, therefore, contributes to this discussion.

    It’s only available for a few more days, so please be quick.

    Click the link above, choose ‘Latest News Bulletins’ (from the list to the right of the video player) and then select ‘London Tonight – Monday – 03/03/08’.

    You’ll probably want to jump to the 19-minute mark.

    Thank you all for your comments on this topic, particularly your supportive words of encouragement toward those who, like David, are determined to see the idea of an Urban Village in London through to fruition.

  4. Michèle

    But, too sad, outside UK, you can’t watch it, I got the message :

    “Sorry, the video you have chosen is only available to users in the UK”

    C’est dommage…


  5. James Mickelson

    Thanks FEd and fear not Hysteron proteron.

    No gaol for me, and the risk of getting killed well, I’ll just need to keep a wee bit smarter than the average bear.

    To motivate others to do the right thing by doing wrong does not help at all. It simply offers a case against your efforts.

    I believe the pen is much mightier then the sword, for with the correct strike of a pen, you can put forth the right words, and deliver the right message, and your foe will fall and possibly want to off with their own head…or check into an institution.

    We have the local gym, were we can exercise our physical body to insure physical longevity. Then we have our courts, were we can exercise our civil rights (mental body) to help insure the longevity for peace of mind and dignity to the people.

    Many lives were lost for us to have rights, I am shocked when rights are wrongfully taken from the people, by those empowered to protect them.

    Make it so, Mr. Gilmour!

    [Can I get an Amen? – Features Editor]

  6. Tim C

    Just a thought, but is there any prospect of the Olympic Village becoming available in 2013 for this purpose?

    Surely compatible with the urban regeneration agenda and the Nimbys could hardly complain….

    [Oh, I like your style. – Features Editor]

  7. Alex Paterson

    RE: Marcus link, 7 Abandoned Wonders of the European Union: From Deserted Castles to Retrofuturistic Factories

    Theres an iconic empty building we all know on the south bank of the river Thames. Battersea Power Station has been an empty shell ever since I can remember. Why?

    How cool would that be to be put to such good use?

    Like my last post, just another thought.

    Thanks for the link FEd.

    [It certainly is a sad waste. – Features Editor]

  8. Ted Shuttleworth

    Raise more money. Raise public awareness. Open a wide discussion through the news media about Crisis and the whole “urban village” concept. Apply political pressure. Change minds. How to do it?

    With a Pink Floyd reunion concert, naturally.

    [Naturally. – Features Editor]

  9. kimberley

    Sadly, the link to the Monday broadcast does not cross cyber-space internationally and I was unable to load it.

    My last comment on people stating that there is a need to put a face to homelessness: my experience, there is no one face, its all of us.

    I have been fortunate enough to share time with a minister, ashamed to tell her congregation her plight, a nurse working hard but unable to make the rent, and truth be told there were times when newly divorced I could have lost my housing if I wasn’t blessed with negotiating skills.

    Yes, there truly are mentally ill homeless, but many new to the country, naive or proud people have experienced homelessness. Safe, sustainable housing with a sense of community can make a difference for all.

  10. Veronica_from_Miami

    I tried to watch the link – sady, I was prompted with a message that says the film is only available to UK users.

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop though.

  11. Hysteron proteron

    You have far more faith in the system than I do, James, FEd. I wish life were so straight forward – simple. As long as there is a ruling class, there will NEVER be equality; there simply aren’t even enough resources in the world.

    Being positive is one thing, but denying the reality of the situation is something all together different. You can’t beat these people with a pen or a sword – things have gone too far for that.

    Things are far worse than any of the general public could ever imagine. Who said life was fair and the human race would last forever?

    I know what I’m saying isn’t popular, but it’s the truth. I truly hope you do some good, though. You can’t change the world with Band-Aids, but you can make it a better place to be.

    Good luck with that idea, Tim C. Where’s the profit in that ‘they’ will say?


    Hysteron proteron

  12. Michèle

    [With a Pink Floyd reunion concert, naturally.]

    [Naturally. – Features Editor]

    So happy to have learnt here ‘rotfl’ ! I think it’s a good opportunity to use it…


  13. Tim C

    That’s a wonderful image, Battersea Power Station used as an urban village, with a Pig flying above it to show that sometimes the extraordinary can happen.

    It looks like planning has progressed for a mixed use site – but who knows, maybe there are unallocated units / space ? The publicity attached with the iconic image would be priceless…

  14. Angelo Ortiz

    [You can’t change the world with Band-Aids, but you can make it a better place to be. – Posted by Hysteron proteron]

    Band-aids are remarkable things, aren’t they? Just be ready to ‘band-aid’ when the situation arises and not turn a blind eye. I think too many turn away from action and shrug their shoulders. Small things matter. Did that band-aid really help my scrape heal when I was five? Why did I want one so badly? It was the nurturing act of my mother that comforted me and made a difference.

    I reflect on my week and remember all the schmucks that made my life a living hell when all I was trying to do is help some kids. Then I think of how I found some school-lunch on my desk my staff left for me after a long day, or the look on kids faces when I made them laugh and then I feel all the burdens evaporate.

    Small sustainable actions by individuals make a difference, and at the end of all things is what each of us have control over.

  15. A woman you all know

    This has been an extremely interesting topic to read.

    I was homeless for approximately 14 months several years ago. Thanks to all the support services, I only slept rough on a few occasions. I was on the run with my two children from a violent husband. We stayed in a refuge all that time, it was tough, I developed a mental health problem. I was terrified of the future, of men, of going out in case I was stalked.

    The support services, police, social worker, housing, medical, educational, refuge workers, all of those people ploughed a vast amount of time money and energy into putting me back on my feet. When we left the refuge, we were independent. We have stood on our own feet ever since. My children did not end up in care and they nearly did. It’s all thanks to the help of a society that cared. I will never be able to thank those people enough.

    Angelo :) the band aids work. Don’t ever give up doing what you do. Same goes for anyone else reading that does this kind of support work.

  16. Hysteron proteron

    Hello Angelo,

    Unfortunately, it’s easier to turn a blind eye and not lend a helping hand — the system makes it easy; it encourages it for reasons I’ve previously stated.

    There wouldn’t be a problem if the majority cared. Why don’t people care? The further we move down the track of corporate slavery — mortgages, the job race etc — the more insular/homogenised/pasteurised we become as a ‘society’; we head deeper into their dream/illusion/construct.

    Governments are spending trillions on war instead of providing people with the fundamental necessities of modern life. Hard fought human rights are eliminated with the stroke of a pen and then tailored to the requirements of ‘big business’ these days. As yourself > Why> What for > Who profits/benefits > where does all the money go? You will come to the same conclusions I have — no matter which way you look at it.

    The money spent in Iraq – 6-7 trillion so far – would make the lives of hundreds of millions better; could you imagine the pure good that could be achieved with it?? And that’s only on one of our recent wars…

  17. David

    yes, im david as well. i have been a lifelone floydian since 1971.

    my first hookup with pink floyd was Dark Side Of The Moon. i loved it. And as a 10 year old i had to have it. i have always loved the pink floyd style, and will continue to be.

    also my condolences for syd’s passing. i never heard his playing only in past pink floyd albums.

    please keep up the wonderful music, and guys dont ever dismiss as a group. even the three of you fellas are great.

    thanks for all the music.

  18. Hysteron proteron

    …You could eradicate world wide poverty and disease if that sort of amount was spent with the aim of truly solving world issues — not Band-Aid solutions that make an endless list of private contractors wealthier and achieve very little in real terms. Could you imagine the good that could be done with all the money we spend every year on gambling, booze, tobacco, drugs, cosmetics, soft drinks, pink feather boas etc. People problem solved. Not mentioning the environmental benefits.

    Government are perpetuating a cycle of corruption — feeding money to an elite of individuals/shareholders that have clawed their way to the top — so that we end up paying for something that our taxes used to maintain for the good of all. The problem is that not enough people ask or even think about what it is that I’m saying; if people did, the world would change – we would change it, fix it. Fix the problems and then worry about spending money on all the luxury’s of life.

    I’m afraid it’s too late now, though. As I’ve said in previous comments; we are peddling ‘their’ bike to oblivion. The ruling class are exploiting fundamental flaws in human nature.

  19. Angelo Ortiz

    Hysteron proteron and others,

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to understand people, their motivations and concerns, and the macro-level context in which we all live. I find myself struggling with the futility of optimism in the face of enormous challenges (locally where I serve and greater society). I’ve experienced successes and failures. Why do people turn a blind eye?

    Apathy. Parochial concerns. Self-interest. Desensitization. The list goes on. Why do people try to make a difference?

    Genuine concern. Optimism. Guilt. Sense of responsibility toward others. I was happy to read your story, ‘A Woman you all know’. Personal stories like that are inspiring…

  20. Angelo Ortiz

    …So called ‘Band-aids’ to solve broader concerns like poverty and disease, however, feel like getting a hug from a criminal perpetrator after being violated. There is a lot of waste in society and we are all guilty to some degree or another. Being curious, asking questions, and choosing to do good is just about all we have control over in the day-to-day rut.

    Working this non-profit thing and living grant to grant is taking its toll on me after 15 years. What could I have done with the money NY Governor Spitzer spent on prostitutes? A lot. Did my NY State afterschool grant get funded? No.

    It’s maddening…

  21. Hysteron proteron

    Welcome to the real world, Angelo. The system breeds madness. There are no real answers, but there are definitely reasons why it’s all occurring – as I’ve stated in all my previous messages (remember those?).

    I try and take full control of my life; I chose not to participate in the madness — I try not to be dependant on anything or anyone; I’m the master of my own destiny — I try. If more people chose to stop participating in the madness – and it’s not easy – the world would be a much better place for it. I would rather do you a good turn rather than a bad one – usually at my own expense… I, I, I, I…

    People – the majority – have been ‘broken’ by the system, and thus, are easily lead; they take the path of least resistance, and in most cases are just electrons passing through a circuit, sadly. People doing bad things to people is all part of the struggle the system creates to climb the ladder, and everyone want to climb the ladder first. Battery Hens pecking at each other…

  22. Hysteron proteron

    …Most will never awake from the psychological constructs created by the system — they just go from A-Z causing damage in between entrance and exit. They are going to cash in all their chips with God — compensation for all the misery they have suffered on earth; you can get people to do anything when that sort of construct is installed in their minds. They will never truly understand or enjoy the world they live in. Most don’t have the luxury of ‘free’ independent though, just the illusion of it. At the end of the day the human race is just a part of ‘spaces’ recycling program — it’s only ego that makes it something else. Yada, yada, yada…

    I’m certainly not claiming to be some highly ‘enlightened’ being, though — version 3.0 of the human race. I have enough faults of my own; I haven’t fallen into the vanity trap…

  23. Hysteron proteron

    …I don’t really think that this is the place to discuss such things, though. It’s a David Gilmour fan/marketing site. I can feel the vibes. I don’t think I’m part of the demographic these corporate types are looking for.

    As I’ve said before: Forums are silly… I try to reply as seldom as possible…I’m sick of the internet…. It’s ugly and boring — like a trucker hat. Everyone wants functionality… which is corporate, tedious, homogenizing/pasteurising and pathetic. I try to have as little to do with the internet as possible. It kills me slowly… If you agree to be my lookout while I paste ten foot tall paintings of people fucking to buildings, we can discuss whatever it is you want to discuss at leisure. And just to clarify; I’m not saying that to offend anyone.

    Best Wishes,
    Hysteron proteron.

    [And that’s a very good point at which to close this discussion for good, I think. And I’m only slightly offended, by the way. – FEd]

  24. Michèle

    The blog is surely not a silly part of a David Gilmour fan/marketing site. Can’t explain.


    [You’re offended by that, too? – FEd]

  25. Hysteron proteron

    Don’t get me wrong, FEd. I was sort of off ‘topic’. I wasn’t trying to suggest that the blog isn’t a perfectly valid place to express admiration for one of the worlds greatest musicians. Just saying that I’m not as immersed in the whole ‘blog/forum/internet’ thingy as some — rather crudely I admit. As always, thanks for the time/space.

    Hysteron proteron

  26. Marcus Buick

    To Angelo, Hysteron and the rest of the lot,

    As this subject closes let us re-address the topic regarding homelessness and David’s attempt to help. This is an example of good leadership values and moral excellence. Despite the questionable journalistic integrity of the article, bringing the weight of the world’s broken issues here, is perhaps not the equivocal forum, as Hysteron mentioned.

    This is the perfect forum to address David’s concerns, however.

    Angelo you said,

    [Small sustainable actions by individuals make a difference, and at the end of all things is what each of us have control over.]

    Nail on the head is what I say. It’s the individual actions, usually small ones that change history, and perhaps evolution.

    Nobody here can solve the world’s issues. Individuals should not fret over insurmountable odds, impractical issues, and the purely unobtainable. Nobody here is Superman, not even David*.

    Just do what you feel is right when you help- it’s the most practical solution.

    *I know, I know . . . Blasphemy, BLASPHEMY!!