Accepted Paper:

Luminous verticality: the changing face of East London after hours of darkness  

Author:

Casper Laing Ebbensgaard (Queen Mary University of London)

Paper short abstract:

300 towers are planned for construction across London. This paper examines these residential towers within their wider context in East London at night, by questioning the role that light and darkness plays in making residents living in and nearby them feel at home, or not at home at night.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, I will take scope of recent developments in London's housing market, as residential high-rise buildings (re)animate the vertical city, at an unprecedented scale. Since the large-scale demolition of residential towers in East London during the 1980s and 1990s London has witnessed a strange revival of vertical living: more than 300 high-rise buildings have either been erected, are under construction or have been given planning permission since 2013, with 81% of these buildings residential, 23% located in Tower Hamlets and 34% across wider East London. My research examines these newly designed residential high-rises within their wider context at night, by questioning the role that light and darkness plays to how residents living in and nearby them feel at home, or not at home and how they inform people's sense of place andbelonging in East London. Through collaboration with lighting designers I will investigate to what extent the night time, and the lived experience of the night is taken into account when designing these vertical dwellings and how light and darkness is claimed to make them more liveable. The paper will focus on the conceptual framing of the project, engaging with literature on vertical geographies, architecture and domesticity as a way of unfolding the various practices that are invested in the co-production of luminous vertical city. The research will draw on ethnographic methods over a two-year period, and will involve creative collaboration with a photographer, lighting designers and The Geffrye Museum of the Home.

Panel Env03
Tower block failures: high-rise anthropology