This book is a unique collection: ordinary Londoners, in their own voices, tell about ordinary London lives. Interviews with over a hundred people in eight localities, from inner-city Battersea, to suburban Heston, to Greenhithe on the London fringe, have been edited with a linking commentary by Professor Sir Peter Hall. The first half, "London Voices", introduces the characters - their hopes and aspirations, their frustrations and struggles, their determination and optimism. The second, "London Lives", introduces the themes that dominate their everyday lives: the struggle to keep their heads above water, the search for a place to live, the hassle of the journey to work, their friends and neighbours, their concerns about crime, and the quality of their everyday lives. This is not only an extraordinary social record but also a compelling read for anyone and everyone interested in today's London, or in any other great global city. It will provide a mine of information for future historians on one of the world's greatest cities and will be of special academic or professional interest to sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, planners and social policymakers.
Peter Hall is Professor of Planning and Regeneration at the Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, University College London. Author, co-author or editor of over 35 books on urban and regional planning and related topics, he received the Gold Medal of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2003 and the Balzan International Prize in 2005.
Part one: London places, London people: Voices from the London streets; Part two: London voices: New melting pot: Battersea; Pressured proletarian island: Bermondsey; Transit centre: Upton Park; Airport city: Heston; Garden suburb challenged: Eltham; Arcadia under shadow: Gants Hill; Edge suburb: Greenhithe; Part three: London lives: Making ends meet; Finding a place; Getting there; Friends and neighbours; Fearing crime, avoiding crime; Melting the pot; Part four: London futures: Changing the world; Bringing it together.