UCL Urban Laboratory


The Shard: Financing Space and Life

11 November 2017, 1:00 pm–5:00 pm

Vertical Horizons: London, the Shard and Me

Event Information

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UCL Urban Laboratory


Birkbeck Cinema
43 Gordon Square
United Kingdom

Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image are organising an afternoon panel on urban space, financialisation, and regulation, along with another chance to watch the recently released Vertical Horizons: Living With The Shard in The City by Tom Wolseley, a meditative film created through an artist residency at UCL Urban Laboratory and UCL Geography, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. To attend, please RSVP on Eventbrite.

The city landscape has always been marked by networks of buildings, monuments, statues, 'heterotopias', and so forth, through which the possibilities of how the city was to be occupied and used were constantly woven and developed. City life was an on-going engagement and negotiation between place, aspiration, security, governance, threat, and transgression. Whilst this continues to be the case, the lived city is increasingly coordinated by new practices that seek to prevent terrorism, displace homelessness, and to design out crime. The city is beginning to erase itself as the daily problems of how to live together give way to a restructuring that makes of it a resource for investment and a generator of values, transforming it into a spectacle of monumentality.

A panel of papers, presented prior to the screening of Tom Wolseley's 2017 film Vertical Horizons, will engage with these themes, seeking to elucidate the contemporary changes through which the city, and city life, are increasingly subject to the conjunction of finance, design, and planning. Ever since Regan's endorsement of 'trickledown', the capitalistic fantasy that investment in opportunities such as the Shard will help to improve the prosperity of their immediate localities has not only refused to diminish in the face of the evidence to the contrary but has, peculiarly, grown stronger.  It seems that, the more capital becomes discredited, the more trenchant the communal belief in it becomes.

The event will also include a screening of former Urban Lab artist in residence Max Colson's award-winning film Construction Lines (2017).


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