‘Sharing horizons that are new to us’: planning, freedom and growing up on a 1960s English council estate.

Waites, Ian (2016) ‘Sharing horizons that are new to us’: planning, freedom and growing up on a 1960s English council estate. In: Im/mobile Youth: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Spatial and Temporal Change in Young People’s Lives, 1 April 2016, University of Manchester.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Post-WW2 English council estates are commonly viewed as problematic and singularly unprepossessing places to live. It might therefore be difficult to imagine someone speaking of the joys of living on a 1960s council estate, but this paper will do exactly that. In May 1964, when I was three years old, my family and I moved into a new house on the just completed Middlefield Lane estate in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. This is where I spent my formative years during the 60s and 70s, living, playing, hanging around, and growing up. This paper will argue that the ‘form’ of the estate – its situation and layout – ‘functioned’ as a crucial influence on my development, giving me an enduring sense of space, freedom and well being. From there, the paper will consider a more challenging and distinctive line of enquiry – of ‘feeling’, of what the estate felt like for a child at that time. As such, the paper will be unashamedly and enthusiastically autobiographical and lyrical in character, but it will also be underpinned by theories on the social construction of space, autobiographical memory and child development in the hope that such approaches can give us a deeper and more nuanced understanding of these estates and their original intentions.

Keywords:Childhood Studies, Council Estates, phenomenology, Post-war History, 1945 on, Social history, Social Housing
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K320 Landscape studies
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V147 Modern History 1950-1999
L Social studies > L726 Cultural Geography
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K420 Urban and Rural Planning
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K450 Housing
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Design)
ID Code:27706
Deposited On:30 Jun 2017 23:34

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