So today we had our ‘surprise’ trip. When arriving at the meeting point in Coventry we found out that we would be travelling to Milton Keynes. We were given a map and our brief for this module and were told to begin planning whilst on the coach.
Task: You will work as a group to create an artifact. The artifact must critically analyse the discourses tha are present and embodied in planned cities.
Discourses are ”systems of thought or sets of knowledge that produce how we think about and understand the word. [Objects, concepts, subject and strategies form a system of thought that determines] what could be said, who could speak, the positions from which they could speak, the viewpoints that could be presented and the interests, stakes and institutional domains that were represented” (motion and Leitch 2007: 263-4)
On the coach i used my Iphone to google some background information on Milton Keynes, i found out that it was originally built to ”relieve housing congestion in london” But was built to be a city with thriving business and a local shopping center for the public.
When further reading i found a theory about this idea of ‘A City’ by Melvin M. Webber, who described the architect (Derek Walker) as ‘Father of the city’. His theory is below.
Telecommunication meant that the old idea of a city as a concentric cluster was out of date and that cities which enabled people to travel around them readily would be the thing of the future achieving ”community without propinquity” for residents.
Mark Clapson (2004). A Social History of Milton Keynes: Middle England / Edge
City. London: Frank Cass Publisher. 34-38.
As a group, we decided to gather data from the public about their views and opinions of Milton Keynes, we asked questions such as;
.Do you think Milton Keynes is a town or a City?
.What do you think of the business aspect of the City?
.What is the social life-like?
As we were interviewing and i was photographing the general landscape, we found that many opinions of the public was that the city itself had been rushy placed together, and they saw it more of a town than a city due to its grid system and how the buildings are located. When asking a range of age groups the same questions it came across to us as being a modernized adult city and the young people we spoke to felt very separated from ‘The City’ or looked down on by older peers.
To us it also seemed as if the town was labelled and built to look more like the city of London and New York City, with roads names such as, midsummer boulevard or Lower 10th Street. Yet walking around Milton Keynes didn’t feel as if it was an exciting city like those cities mentioned previously.