Walking the Walk

Urban design from the front lines

Kevin Klinkenberg

Using urban design to make our lives more enjoyable and create wealth

This site is for all those interested in the making of cities and towns, and especially the lives of the humans that inhabit them. Kevin Klinkenberg is an architect and urban designer who's practiced from coast-to-coast. 

The downside of high-rise housing

It's fodder for an entire book, but here's one person's view from Scotland:

I was a toddler in south-east London when the Red Road flats were built, in the late 1960s. Woolwich, where I spent my early years, was subjected to a similar programme of ‘urban renewal’. Tidy Victorian terraces were demolished and their occupants rehoused in bland new tower blocks. Sure, these new flats had central heating and proper bathrooms, but the social infrastructure was shattered. We’re still living with the consequences today.


High-rise works well for prosperous owner-occupiers, but when it comes to social housing it makes a bad situation far worse. Yet more than 4,000 people have signed a petition protesting against the spectacular demolition of the Red Road flats. They’re worried this big bang will send out the wrong signal to former and current residents. ‘The homes should be demolished with dignity,’ they say. Fiddlesticks. They’ve been a blot on the landscape for half a century. Let them go out with an almighty crash.

I'm one architect that says: "cheers" and I'd raise a glass to seeing these demolished as well.