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Tech Urbanism at the Margins

When:
Venue: External

Where there were once gasworks, railways and heavy industry, north of King’s Cross Station today is one of London's largest urban redevelopment sites. Built over 67 acres by a single landowner, the area – often branded ‘KX’ – has been billed as a comprehensively-planned new ‘cultural’ or ‘knowledge’ quarter for London. Architecture critics, urban designers and property developers have lauded the area’s industrial heritage aesthetic. Others have noted the remarkable extent to which the new ‘KX’ has become a locus for the offices of digital platforms such as Google, Facebook, Samsung, DeepMind Technologies and YouTube, alongside prominent brands and media including Louis Vuitton, Nike, Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Havas.  

Through this walking interactive tour, we will explore the new King’s Cross as an emergent example of a distinctive ‘tech urbanism’, one distinct from the bucolic, campus-like facilities found at sites such as Xerox PARC, or monumental, interiorised complexes such as Apple Park. We will explore King’s Cross’ constellation of flats, offices, shops, galleries, bars and restaurants – all set within an industrial heritage aesthetic – as potentially embodying and producing new kinds of urban marginality. A marginality not only produced by the development’s potential impacts on more deprived, nearby areas such as Somers Town or the Barnsbury Estate, but also by the more general rise of a data-driven, digitally mediated and networked urbanism.

The tour will be led by Dr Scott Rodgers (Birkbeck), and is sponsored by the BISR Urban Intersections Working Group and ECREA Media, Cities and Space Section.

‘Tech Urbanism at the Margins’ is part of Urban Intersections at the Margins, a three-day programme of events that also includes a lecture, film screening and invitational workshop. 

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