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Dissipating the Political: Battersea Power Station and the Temporal Aesthetics of Development

Ameeth Vijay
Published Online: 2018-12-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0056


This article analyses the idiom of “placemaking” in contemporary development, specifically considering the Battersea Power Station development in south London. It argues that the recourse to a highly aestheticised concept of place allows development to mediate the structural transformations they are enacting and create a narrative and discourse about development that deflects and dissipates political critique. In order for public-private “regeneration” to proceed as the default mode of urbanisation for contemporary London, developers need to not only create sound investments but also produce a hegemonic cultural narrative that articulates the stakes of their interventions in ways that make them not just compelling but inarguable and inevitable. Three modes of conceptualising the redeveloped city are considered: the concept of place, the aesthetic of the garden and rhetoric of sustainability, and the ethos of creativity. Together, these constitute a vision for the future technological city that seeks to render political disagreement marginal if not unthinkable.

Keywords: development; aesthetics; gentrification


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About the article

Received: 2018-05-28

Accepted: 2018-10-26

Published Online: 2018-12-31

Published in Print: 2018-12-01

Citation Information: Open Cultural Studies, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 611–625, ISSN (Online) 2451-3474, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0056.

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© by Ameeth Vijay, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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