Monday, January 05, 2015

Greenwich Square's public space

click photo to enlarge
Over the past year, in our visits to Greenwich, I've watched the Greenwich Square development start to take shape. This mix of housing, retail space, leisure facilities and a public square is being developed on the site of the former Greenwich District Hospital. Some of the apartments, as can be seen by the balcony furniture in today's photograph, appear to be inhabited, but elsewhere there is much work to be done before the scheme is complete.

What has interested me, especially, about Greenwich Square is the public square at its centre. More particularly, I'd like to know if it is really a public space with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, or is it actually a private space to which the public are admitted on terms devised by the owners. An increasing number of these private/public spaces are being built in cities across the country. London's most frequented example is the ridiculously named "More London" near Tower Bridge, the only seemingly public place I have ever been told that I must stop taking photographs. The most recent private space to be described as public ("London's highest public park") is the Sky Garden at the top of the tower at 20 Fenchurch Street (the "Walkie Talkie"), London's ugliest tower by a big margin. It admits the public but it certainly cannot claim to be a public space. So what is the square at Greenwich Square? We'll eventually find out.

Incidentally, the colour of the cladding of these apartments makes me ask this question once more.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 37.1mm (100mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.9
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 160
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On