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Satellite Towns: The Failed Utopias We Won’t Stop Building

March 11, 2014 by Lauren Van Schaik in 0 comments
SUBURBAN LIVING IS UNSUSTAINABLE AND INCREASINGLY UNPOPULAR. SO WHY IS A NEW GENERATION OF DISTANT DORMITORY TOWNS THE GO-TO SOLUTION FOR LONDON’S HOUSING CRUNCH? London Student, March 11, 2014 Harlow was sparkling and cosily utopian when it was first built from scratch in west Essex fields. A new-fangled town was just what the public wanted in 1947 – a futurism that rooted itself in the English countryside and bridled all the machinery of war to give everyone a new kitchen and their own car. The new town boasted Britain’s first pedestrianised shopping district; its first residential tower block; the comfortable, familial abstraction of a dozen Henry Moore sculptures; and a system of burrowed subways that could have appeased a colony of rodents. Panorama caught a group of London transplants and visitors blinking in the main square in 1956: a father from Peckham blinked like he’d never seen daylight so bright before. He didn’t live there, but he wished he did because Harlow was so “modern and clean with plenty of amenities for children”. Harlow was “pram town” then, so named for its superfecundity (its birthrate was three times the national average in the middle of the century) and for the crowds […]

Chip-and-pin NHS: migrants & overseas students to pay for care

February 17, 2014 by Lauren Van Schaik in 0 comments
  London Student, 17 February 2014,  American student Francesco Hounye had been in the United Kingdom for only three days when he was attacked on Brick Lane just past midnight on 17 June 2013. The CCTV footage was unsettling: Hounye was assaulted by five men, allegedly for not being ‘local.’ They smashed the bottle he was holding against his face and then pursued him across the street, kicking and punching him before fleeing. Hounye was rushed to Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, and treated there for deep slash wounds to his head and right ear with more than two-dozen stitches. One arrest was later made, but Hounye, now with permanent facial scarring and too afraid to venture out in London alone, was left questioning his future in the UK.  “I am a visitor… and was considering continuing my studies here but this incident has made me think twice,” he told the press in October.  Read more at London Student.

‘Guarding’ London’s Disused Buildings

November 18, 2013 by Lauren Van Schaik in 0 comments
London Student, November 18, 2013 Anderson House is slated to be razed: initial notices to tenants said by 1st April 2014, but these manufactured regenerations operate on erratic timetables. Ione, 27, moved here last October, months after the building’s fate was decided, and it’s come to feel like home. Her third-floor maisonette is a mid-century relic, a tidy allotment of middle class aspiration tucked into in a row with two dozen others. It’s slowly crumbling, and the kitchen is a cubbyhole – today’s upwardly mobile white goods look elephantine in there – but Ione has splashed bright paint around, tacked art to the walls, and had the leak in the roof fixed. Her neighbours provided screwdrivers and DIY guidance; they have a lively Google Group where they advertise local volunteering opportunities and coordinate cocktail crawls through the building. Read more at London Student or see PDF here.    

Ignored, Unseen, Unwell: Invisible Illness at University

November 01, 2013 by Lauren Van Schaik in 0 comments
The stigma and bureaucracy of ‘hidden’ health issues London Student, November 1, 2013 Few people can immediately tell that Sonia Hunter, a third year at SOAS, is ill, but chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia affect her “every moment of every day.” The only external signs of her disability are a slow gait and sometimes a walk like she’s twisted her ankle, but if she looks healthy and able-bodied to other people, her disability “is always visible and present” to her. CFS causes persistent exhaustion, unrelieved by sleep or rest, and difficulty with concentration and complex thinking, and the related fibromyalgia produces widespread pain and extreme sensitivity throughout the body. Read more at London Student.  

Sexual Harassment is Endemic, But Students Can ‘Hollaback’

October 07, 2013 by Lauren Van Schaik in 0 comments
London Student, 7 October 2013 “I saw him again a few weeks ago at a club. I was very uncomfortable, and Stephen acted like everything was normal. Clearly he doesn’t know that what he did was wrong. That’s how normalised it is. He thought it was harmless flirting.” For Melissa (names have been changed), her last encounter with Stephen, on New Year’s Eve, was anything but harmless. Stephen, a fellow student at King’s and friend of her friends, singled her out after she became visibly drunk at a house party in Camden. His advances started casually – “he’s touchy-feely with a lot of people,” Melissa’s friend said – but they made Melissa uncomfortable and escalated as she became drunker. He slipped his arm around her shoulder, stroked her arm, and told her repeatedly how good-looking she was. At first Melissa protested, telling him she had a boyfriend and at one point hiding in the bathroom to avoid him, but Stephen was persistent. “You should be used to this, a pretty girl like you,” he said. Later he trailed her to the couch and pushed her head into his lap. He didn’t unzip his trousers, but it was still “overtly sexual” and […]

The Precarious Postgrad Sector

September 18, 2013 by Lauren Van Schaik in 0 comments
London Student, September 18, 2013 Overseas postgrads are our educational system’s golden geese: pumped for high tuition fees and then sacrificed for xenophobic grandstanding. Who will fill seats – and coffers – when they leave? At home in California, Amanda Matthews is putting the finishing touches to a master’s dissertation, the capstone of an intensive year of medical and Enlightenment history and British Isles travel at King’s College. History is “just a hobby,” she says, and her master’s garnish for her CV, but she’s certain it will be a springboard to a stable career in a shrunken U.S. economy. She saved for two years, travelled 4,000 miles, spent £15,000 on fees, and logged hundreds of hours at the British Library on that bet. Read more at London Student.