have the City University on our eastern doorstep whence four postgraduates have made a study of trading connections both within the Workshops and with their neighbours i n Clerkenwell and beyond. The results show an increasingly clear picture of what land economists call complimentarity. We had no clear precedent when we opened so that everything was done by tria l and error, but i t has worked astonishingly well. We were fully let within eighteen months at a conversion cost which was less than the cost of demolishing the buildings. The cost of creating a job here has been ten times less than the government figure, and now over three hundred people with seventy different skills and a hundred and seventy different enterprises work i n the hundred and twenty separate workshops. (See The New Ecologist, January 1978.) Tenants have modified their own spaces to suit themselves and there is a fine balance of self-contained privacy and general communality.
Tom Wooley, a founder member of the breakthrough architectural service group called Support describes our approach as "User development". This is the best and most appropriate description of what we are trying to achieve. Because freehold land i n inner cities often belongs to absentee landlords, there is a long way to go before there can be strong and effective links between users of urban land and the space they occupy. Not that municipalisation wil l change matters i f i t substitutes a remote owner i n the private sector for an anonymous professional buried i n the Town Hall. As Fritz Schumacher puts it :
4 'The direct relationship between a person and a piece of land is something so elementary that one would hesitate a long time before abolishing it . To adopt state ownership of land for the purposes of abolishing land speculation would be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. " Yet there is a need to give users a determining stake in their own environment. Practically, the task is not easy. I n the Workshops, a sample of tenants were asked i f they wanted to run the Workshops themselves. This brought a categorical 'No' . Our attempts to 90
share power and responsibility have not been generally successful. Nevertheless, there is a link between the individual tenant and the Workshops. I t is stil l embryonic, but i t has early signs of growing symbiosis. When the Workshops were threatened with a compulsory purchase order by the local authority, many tenants co-operated i n preparing a carefully researched case to show why we should remain.
Both the Clerkenwell Workshops and Covent Garden as i t was, demonstrate the multiple use of space where a community lives i n a closely knit environment. Urban life is not secretly carried out behind closed doors. There is a finely tuned balance between private and public life, with a diversity of activities spilling out onto the pavement i n a rich interaction, as shown at Covent Garden. I n Clerkenwell too the links are extended beyond the Workshops, reviving some of the interdependence that was characteristic of the area i n its hey-day. Both are examples of Leopold Kohr's "Plannedheart".
Sadly there are very few signs that the value of diversity as the key to city life has been recognised by the professionals. The mis-directed energies of the new inner city movement are looking at a new kind of comprehensiveness and seem to want more control over more elements. The alternative we must seek to promote is planning that develops skills i n the conservation of variety, that gives expression to personal uniqueness and allows its citizens the chance to participate.
We have already seen the outcome of leaving the interpretation of urban beauty and the Aristolean "good life " i n the hands of an elite few. Because they are separated from the social relations of reality today's "value free" exercises i n urban design can at best produce rationally organised space. I t is the people whose knowledge of an area derives from belonging to i t — the amateurs — who are often the best urban designers. We should give them back power and responsibility and release the city from the crude simplicity of pre-planned control.
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