|Brixton - a strap line that works|
|Entrance to Pop Brixton, a business park in recycled containers|
|Pop Brixton - big screen outdoor events venue|
|Diverse, dynamic, digital businesses|
|With added beers|
|Celebrating Universal heroes|
|Challenging Network Rail over gentrification of the arches|
|Graffitti that wakes you up|
|My hero is in the buggy|
It includes Papas Park, a children's playground on a bit of waste ground that is run by community volunteers (time philanthropists) and is usually alive with children, parents and grandparents seeking fun and friendship in the heart of Brixton. The Council have recently indicated that they will no longer be able to fund the park so a campaign to find alternative funding is starting up. The whole area is buzzing with new developments as it ihas become one of the sought after locations in London in recent years. Its position at the terminus of the Victoria line mean that central London can be reached in 15 minutes, there are big event venues like the O2, a stupendous array of eateries, good parks, outstanding schools, a thriving local cinema, library and bus services in all directions.
There are downsides too, like the main shopping street being the most polluted in London after Oxford street, a high proportion of people on the breadline living in crowded or poor accommodation. It has a high profile police presence that creates tension with its noisy sirens and speeding cars. It ison the flight path to Heathrow airport with the night flight limit of 5800 landings and take offs a year still enough to disturb sleep for hundreds of thousands of people. Network Rail have decided to cash in on the arches below the overground lines and dozens of small businesses are being evicted to allow upgrading the arches to generate a higher rental income. Some of the large murals made it clear how much this was despised by the existing community that has been nurtured in the dilapidated old buildings of Brixton. It is criminal that the beating heart of Brixton found in the markets and independent shops that cluster round the underground station in the streets like Electric Avenue, the arches and Brixton market is under threat by gratuitous urban gentrification.
Nearby a new business park has been created by the simple expedient of stacking containers on two levels to create an intimate environment for new businesses to thrive. Being Brixton there are cafes offering cuisines from all parts of the world as well as local craft beers and a smattering of new technology businesses. A large space has been created between some containers for local concerts and an outdoor sports pitch doubles as a venue for big screen events. It had been the perfect place to watch european football and the olympics in the summer. The whole place had a collective vibe that was multi cultural, relaxed and edgy; just like Brixton village.
The streets are full of indigenous graffiti . Alongside Bob Marley painted on the shutters of a lock up street stall are exciting cartoons of gaming characters. We ate at the Ritzy cinema, listened to the street musicians and observed the building of a new Council HQ being built along with lots of social housing next to the existing town hall. Lambeth will be closing all its other offices once the new building opens. I spent quite a bit of time wheeling our grandson round the streets and posed him as my hero in front of David Bowie, who had been another Brixton resident.