Category Archives: half baked theories

Birmingham’s furthest outpost: Michel de Certeau and the strategies of Elan Village’s builders

 I was very fortunate recently to get to camp in one of the most beautiful spots in the country, in the Elan Valley, Powys. It’s among the most sparsely-populated parts of the UK, falling within what John Henry Cliffe described as … Continue reading

Posted in Birmingham, half baked theories, Housing, Landscape, Powys, Space, Wales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

#shs40, #storypast and academic memory

Tuesday this week saw a trip up to Lancaster and the Social History Society’s 40th anniversary conference. It’s always fun to take the train somewhere new, and this was no exception – the gap between the arrival of my train … Continue reading

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Beauty is in the streets

  The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it. Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach. I never realised that, like party politics, academia has a conference season. At least, March appears to be … Continue reading

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“Slums” of the Black Country: Darlaston

I’ve ummed and aahed a bit about what to write about the Post‘s report on Darlaston. It’s really the same old story: surface drainage, evils, abomination, bubbling and seething, stagnant, over-flowing, the cholera, back courts, and so on; there’s not a lot … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, half baked theories, History, Housing, Maps, Poverty, Public Health, Slum | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Land of my fathers

I’ve been reading Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis lately. I’m no expert on continental philosophy or cultural theory really, so I’ve enjoyed this – it’s light and possible to read in an impressionistic sort of way, glossing over all the Bachelards and Nietzsches, the … Continue reading

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Empty space

Warning again: I’m going to be talking Black Country history a little further down, but I’ve been interested in what maps do and don’t show, so the preamble is a bit… vague and theoretical. Maps are complex beasts. They show what … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, half baked theories, Maps, Space, Stourbridge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Planner’s Eye

Heath Town Estate, Wolverhampton, by Smileyface on the Skyscraper City website. Click the pic for a link to some truly frightening pictures of the estate at its worst. Multi- and inter-disciplinary research is a major part of academia these days, and … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, Block Capital, environment, half baked theories, Housing, Maps, Space | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using Lefebvre’s triad

I did warn you that this would be a place for testing half-baked theories, so no Black Country history today, sorry. If you’re not up for critical theory and continental philosophy on a Friday morning, back away slowly now. There’s … Continue reading

Posted in half baked theories, History, Housing, London, Maps, Theory | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments