Category Archives: Politic

Photos of the Days – Here, There, Nearly Everywhere

July 16, 2010

Smith College.

 

July 17, 2010

Old Sturbridge Village

 

July 18, 2010

Neutral Density - like sunglasses for your camera.

July 19, 2010

Well, unfortunately I have made it this far, and on this day I failed to take a photo. But, I’m someone who keeps on trucking. So as much as I would like to quit this now arduous project, I am going to keep going.

July 20, 2010

One of my favorite photo's from Petit Manan Island, Maine.

July 21, 2010

There's always something special about a sunrise.

 

July 22, 2010

Garden stripes.

 

July 23, 2010

Brother sanding down the wood.

 

July 24, 2010

Blueberries. Unfortunately, it wasn't a great season.

 

July 25, 2010

Corn tops against some dramatic clouds.

 

July 26, 2010

Dad.

 

July 27, 2010

Brother's cookies.

July 28, 2010

Editing the heck out of a photograph.

 

July 29, 2010

This probably belongs to someone named Allis... (?)

 

July 30, 2010

Not my baby, but still so cute.

 

July 31, 2010

Sean rock climbing.

 

August 1, 2010

Flowers like clouds.

 

August 2, 2010

Sandy Point Island in Connecticut and Rhode Island is managed in part by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; which was my reason for getting out to the island.

 

August 3, 2010

Delicious apricot jam.

 

August 4, 2010

If only I had a longer lens to capture these mushrooms.

 

August 5, 2010

Smores at Katy's.

 

August 6, 2010

Yet another picture of my baby (sorry I just can't help myself, especially after a long day of work).

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London’s Docklands

The average tourist might not realize it, but, having its roots in the Roman and medieval times, London’s Docklands is historically known as a port region. As the shipping industry fell out of significance in the middle 20th century, so did the region of the Docklands and the communities it fostered. The region direly needed regeneration. In the last 20 to 50 years many issues were solved by revitalization planning, however some social issues remain and are continuously being addressed as infrastructural changes are still being developed.

The Museum of London Docklands.

 

The Docklands is a region of East and South London consisting of the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Newham, and Greenwich. The area served as the Port of London, which was once one of the world’s largest shipping ports. The land has always been immersed in water and swamp marshes thus unsuitable for agriculture and posing particularities for architecture. The area was an isolated part of London, as few roads existed linking the area to central London. The Docklands was a divided community between the poor ship workers and the wealthy ship insurers.

Some small boats in the water ways.

 

By the mid 20th century, shipping and shipbuilding fell out as new technology and containerization, or cargo transport, was implemented. Ship builders lost work and competition significantly increased, as the docks were not able to accommodate many new carriers. When the docks began closing in the mid 1960s, workers were continuously laid off throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. The land was left empty, social classes divided, and communities suffering from unemployment and severe poverty. Warehouses and large-scale facilities became obsolete and deteriorated.

Just one of the many Docklands' canals.

 

Redevelopment plans began shortly after the dock’s closure. In 1968 the Port of London Authority sold the St. Katherine Dock to the Greater London Council, launching a competition to find a developer to regenerate the region. The idea was to develop the urban area and secure the physical, economic, and social aspects of citizen’s lives. However, it was applying the actual plan that took nearly a decade. Things were not being built as quickly as initially projected and people were still losing their jobs. Between 1978 and 1981, 10,000 jobs were lost and 9,000 people left the area.

Soon many landowners were involved, such as the Greater London Council, the Port of London Authority, British Gas, Central Electric Generating Board, and British Rail. By 1981, the London Docklands Development Corporation was created out of the Government Planning and Land Act of 1980 and by Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Heseltime. The LDDC now had to upgrade and use the current buildings, encourage industry and commerce development, ensue housing and social facilities, and create an attractive and peaceful environment. Improvements that took place between 1983 and 1984 were improved roads, buildings, and travel ways. But remaining issues pertained to chemical pollution, and other health and safety hazards. Sewage, drainage, and sanitation systems were soon updated. Tax incentives made way for the development boom.

Controversy came as the developments taking place were about creating luxury housing, aesthetically pleasing office spaces, and industrial buildings over affordable housing. Communities were suddenly being gentrified, as people were still facing unemployment, poverty, social issues, and struggling with the negative construction environment.

London's shipping history goes back several centuries.

 

While private investors and local governments worked to revitalize the area, it was the small communities that organized for change. The Association of Isle Communities, the Joint Docklands Action Group, the Docklands Forum, and more community organizations were set up in the 1970s to create change. These community action groups tried to bring tenants, workers, and businesses together to work with local planning councils to transform the policies based on what local citizens actually wanted. 

What further came from community organization was a niche activist culture consisting of people voicing their concerns through news articles, self-published magazines, pamphlets, and music, such as the song “Give Us Back Our Land” by Tough Cookies. They also organized public screenings of films, demonstrations, and concerts, as well as memorabilia such as coffee mugs and posters to spread the message about the Docklands not developing to their needs.

Teens and young adults hanging out in Greenwich.

 

While it was the LDDC that was largely instrumental in planning and beginning construction, it was the community organizers that made the push for appropriate physical infrastructure in the Docklands. Substantial development began taking place in the mid 1990s. Poor transport into the rest of London was relieved with the construction of the Docklands Light Railway and the London City Airport underwent needed upgrades. Finally, the LDDC began a campaign to bring office spaces and jobs to the area, however, faced criticism because it was still outsiders who were taking the open jobs and commuting in. But, similar to how buildings were transformed into office space, some buildings were transformed into large art spaces and places for artists to live, thus attracting a culture the current community was open to. Affordable housing became abundant, attracting more people to the Docklands.

Aesthetically artistic bridges.

 

The Docklands faced several ups and downs in the following ten years because of recessions and various monetary shortfalls. But development continued bringing the much needed resurrection to the Docklands. On March 31, 1998 the LDDC’s role came to an end. The Docklands was transformed with a new culture, new jobs, and a new way to travel. From the mid 1990s into the early 21st century, the working population nearly tripled bringing a thriving atmosphere to the region.

Still under construction.

 

Tourists and Londoners alike can learn more about the Docklands at the Museum of London Docklands, located near the West India Quay DLR stop. To learn more about the history of shipping in London a trip to the Docklands’ museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory located in Greenwich will do the trick. And to get a holistic education of London since the dawn of human civilization, check of the Museum of London.

The National Maritime Museum - you will be surprised how cool it actually is.

 

At the Royal Observatory in the Greenwich region of London.

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London’s Markets

London’s Markets

If there’s any way to get to know London, get away from the sites and start exploring its side streets. The best side streets to start with are those that host markets.

My Top 4:

  1. Portobello Road Market
  2. Brick Lane Market
  3. Camden Market
  4. Borough Market

Portobello Road

Many would agree Portobello is the mother of all markets, which caters to the young and old. The best day to go is on Saturday as even on Sunday less than half the street vendors set up shop. Go in the morning beginning at the Ladbroke Grove (tube stop) end and work your way south towards Notting Hill Gate (tube stop). Much of the road is filled with old flea market items and some antiques that could be your favorite London souvenir. This is also the best place to get fresh produce, fish, meat, pastries, goodies – and lunch. Several giant pans of paella, gourmet sandwiches, crepes, sausages, African foods, and French goodies is just some of the dishes you have to choose from. Crowds are massive but tourists and locals mingle alike, just be cautious of pickpocket. Have your camera ready to shoot as you never know who or what you will see. Check out the Banksy graffiti at the top, note the road gets more posh as you head south, and don’t forget to check out a flat where George Orwell once lived.

There will be several performers.

Food for lunch, food for dinner, food for later.

 

Brick Lane Market

Brick Lane in east London (Aldgate East tube stop) is home to many Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants and businesses. Go any time of the week for good curry, spicy samosas, and other sweets, but Sunday is the best day to visit Brick Lane as the street and side streets boast flea market goods, delicious unique food made right in front of you, and the best used and new fashions. While many of the vendors are Indian, there is a huge young British twenty-something hipster culture. You will find clubs and bars pumping danceable music even in the middle of the day. The street also has to remarkable graffiti art. At the southern end of the market is the Whitechapel Art gallery – small but worth a pop in.

Brick Lane.

 

Paste and paper street art.

Spray street art.

Camden Market

If you are or you like punk-hippie-young-earthy cultures check out Camden market (Camden Town tube stop) on Saturday or Sunday. You can get a tattoo, piercing, eat delectable food for cheap, catch a show, buy some spiked leather, trendy clothing, or some of your favorite hits on vinyl. It’s definitely worth a visit, even the architecture is like nothing else in London. Definitely don’t go during the week as nothing is really happening.

Borough Market

Borough Market is the best place in London to grab a healthy, cheap, gourmet lunch, fine meat, wine, and produce on a Saturday afternoon. Nestled between brick buildings and archways on the south bank, this is definitely on hot spot for locals and tourists alike. Take the tube to St Paul’s cathedral, cross the millennium bridge, maybe pop in to the Tate Modern, make your way past the Globe, and dig in.

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