The Garden of Privatised Delights

A small free exhibition in the Building Centre in Store St, Bloomsbury, might be worth a look if you are passing by; one section considers exclusive garden squares, suggesting that railings should be torn down and public use of many kinds encouraged. Of course, nearly all the Bloomsbury garden squares are already open to the public, though perhaps not for growing vegetables, which is one of the suggestions.

The exhibition calls for new thinking around privately owned public space in cities across the UK. It challenges the polarisation of private and public organisations and instead poses solutions on how they might work together to improve use of, access to and ownership of public spaces.

The themes of the exhibition (which was 2021 British Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale) are based on very British issues – including garden squares, pubs, high streets, and toilets – with seven different types of privatised public spaces reimagined as inclusive, immersive experiences. The curators suggest privatised public space sits between two extremes: the utopia of common land before the Enclosures Act of the 18th century and the dystopia of total privatisation.

The Garden of Privatised Delights is free to visit Mon-Fri 9am – 6pm, Sat 10am – 4pm until 15 October. No booking is required.

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