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Brent Housing Partnership Youth Blog

Brought to you by the'Our Say' Magazine Team and BHP Youth Board

Month

July 2011

Aesthetics and Architecture

There has been a visible rise in new housing developments within Brent which have not all been welcomed by the local community. We sent Peter Nugent and Deesha Kanadia to visit a good example of new social housing in South Kilburn

Some people may be in opposition to the new housing that has been coming up around the borough, but there are examples within Brent that shine a light on not only aesthetic but also functional designs. A good example was on our doorstep, a BHP owned and managed development called Granville New Homes (GNH) in South Kilburn. We went to investigate how GNH has not only made a difference to the appearance of the area but how it has made an impact on the local community since its launch in November 2009.

The redevelopment of South Kilburn is evidently underway; a fresh lick of paint to a few buildings has really added a fresh look to the area, surrounded by GNH with its cutting edge design. It has been a beacon in the new area and shows how fresh innovative designs can really change the area. The building was designed in close consultation with the community; they were involved in the whole process which included a visit to Denmark to see examples of social housing using the latest technologies. The visit resulted in the implementation of features such as solar panels, double glazing and under floor heating which all have a functional approach that also reduces bills for residents.

Another very impressive feature of Granville is that it has a community facility and centre which is the focal point of the whole development. The centre includes activities for all generations and is constantly in use. Granville is truly a brilliant example of how new ideas can be implemented to bring about positive change within a community.

Granville has received a great deal of media attention since its launch in November 2009; it is seen as a good approach to the building of social housing within an inner city London area. The implementation of large outdoor communal areas and a pocket park have been more than welcomed by residents as well as the sustainable elements.  We felt that Granville has a great new innovative design that has given many more areas the inspiration to be aesthetically pleasing and sustainable at the same time.  

What are your views on aesthetics and architecture? Please post your comments.

By Peter Nugent, aged 18 and Deesha Kanadia, aged 18

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Is Graffiti a Crime?

It’s undeniable that graffiti is a problem in Brent and the rest of the country. The St Raphael’s Estate where I live has been targeted by graffiti on several occasions. BHP has a quick response rate to graffiti which is a good thing (24-48hours) but it’s made me wonder if some graffiti should be allowed to remain?

Some people describe graffiti as a positive expression of their talent; it allows them to express themselves without any boundaries. It can be seen as art rather than a criminal offence. You could say that it adds culture and shows diversity in our community.  

I spoke to a resident in Brent who said: “Graffiti is a positive tool when dealing with local history; it can be traced as far back as the late 70s. I think it benefits us because it exposes us to a different side of Brent.”

Others argue that graffiti is a crime. It is vandalism and encourages others to vandalise. Graffiti causes criminal damage and people who own these properties having to spend a great deal of money to remove it, funds which could be positively channelled elsewhere. Another resident I spoke to said: “Those who carry out graffiti should be channelling all this energy more efficiently towards education perhaps.”

At the moment in Brent there are limited places for expressionism and some alternatives in my point of view could be:

  • Funded clubs that allow graffiti on canvas
  • Using graffiti art to tutor others
  • Murals for artists in the local area
  • Support for people who repeatedly offend

 Graffiti will remain a controversial issue for many years to come; while it may be illegal it does require some talent to produce some of the spectacles that embellish the underground and the local area. So take a look in your area for what you can find, undoubtedly you’ll have an opinion on it. Voice your views by emailing it to: nadia.khan@bhphousing.co.uk

By Peter Nugent (Resident of BHP) aged 18

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