IMG 4484 - The Tide - London's latest folly?

I decided on this extra post in the light of some other tweets I discovered during the course of today (17th July) thanks to a certain DG. Apologies if I’m using stuff other people have posted, but in the light of things it seems the only way to do this.

I had originally thought The Tide was some commendable attempt to provide a public space in North Greenwich and I thought it would be nice to report on it, which I did. This was when the walkway was known as the P5.

My second and most recent attempt being nearly a week ago – to write an update on The Tide’s opening and how it looked, disability access, facilities, the rest of it, soon fell to the side when I had numerous problems with the security there.

Since then I have seen many other sources air their gripes about The Tide and I must say I am fully in support of these now that I know what it really is about.

The other thing I am fully aware of is others do not seem to have had the problems I had in visiting The Tide, I was most disappointed with the attitude of the security not just because of their insistence but also their approach and what i take to be a discriminatory attitude.

The first major gripe I became aware of was a Guardian article which was published just a week ago. I hadn’t seen it at the time I made my disastrous visit to The Tide.

guardian - The Tide - London's latest folly?

The Guardian on The Tide. 10 July 2019.

The Tide is a textbook piece of artwash and greenwash – more pointless whimsy amid the tortured cityscape of Greenwich Peninsula.

I agree with those sentiments! Today (17th July) I discovered the author of the article had also written back in 2015 about a number of vain building projects in London, this being these were designed not for local people, or those with affordability but instead the law (and its loopholes) are exploited in order to construct these pseudo public estates in which the number of affordable (or affordable rented) homes are minimised.

Its quite easy to be duped by these developments, as I admit I have been had by them too in many parts of London. They look nice and the parkland/facilities looks nice and relaxing however there is a method behind it. These spaces are not eye candy for us, rather its for those fortunate enough to be able to afford to live in these new developments.

And this is the problem with The Tide. I would refer to one other blog too for this but I dont think I can at this stage so I am going to refer to our Guardian author’s tweets, because they set out in a nutshell basically what is wrong with The Tide and the entire development around it.

As Mr Wainwright points out, the developer has managed to get the amount of affordable housing reduced because of the costs of doing this, but at the same time they too accrued an additional grant in order to be able to build the said development.

In the event 500 affordable homes were dropped from the plans. Evidently that meant many more homes made available for the rich instead!

But then the developers magically find ‘spare cash’ to build this overtly and pretentious elevated walkway!

Its obviously an insidious means of attaining gentrification.

No doubt Damien Hirst, Jones, and Yoko, despite their prestige as leading artists, too seem part of the problem when they allow their artworks to be exploited in this way. Do they really care when they are so well off?

I suppose its the presence of these artworks that enobles the developers to forbid certain things such as drinks and hot foods, but then that is silly because they have put the artworks in a public domain. Not only that, do the artists themselves really care about their works or is it that these are so heavily insured that in the event of any damage they would receive huge payouts?

Of course it also smacks of pretentiousness when one finds these signs warning people not to use drink or consume hot food on The Tide. Its meant to be a public area but if these rules are anything to go by the reality is indeed a bit different. What sort of public do they want? What sort of people do they want to see using their so-called public spaces?

I mean they have had a huge festival to celebrate its opening. Turning Tides festival. This has attracted people in their hundreds. No doubt they want to draw people to the area and perhaps get some to spend money in the process. On the other hand what they are doing is cynical , even exploitative. It brings into dispute what a public area should be and whether these new developments should in fact be allowed when they are not clearly public areas.

There have been many cynical attempts to emulate the High Line… but The Tide, a new walkway on the peninsula, is perhaps the most brazen of them all…. London’s version has seen the construction of an elaborate steel structure specifically to elevate the value of a steroidal development of luxury apartments. It is the marketeers’ flimsy sugarcoating of “placemaking” in its most unashamed form, a textbook combination of greenwashing and artwashing, as a decoy to distract from the low levels of affordable housing. But perhaps the most surprising thing is that the architects of the original High Line are behind it. Source: Olly Wainwright, The Guardian.

I wasn’t that impressed with the developments about the area save for perhaps the university buildings with its unusual patterned walls and round windows which I had viewed a few months ago.

I saw very little of The Tide thanks to the security but now I can see it has loads of problems I didn’t get a chance to examine. Perhaps they were afraid I would write a downer on it?

Well one can say they certainly drew my attention to it! I would have just gone away and forgotten about it. But now I know of the matters that lie beyond too in terms of the development itself – and how these are cynically exploiting the requirements for social housing and affordable development.

There’s one thing I definitely know. The Tide is regularly touted as being London’s version of New York’s High Line. This is just rubbish. How can anyone even claim that?

New York’s High Line is built on a derelict railway viaduct. The Tide isnt even that, so its entirely cynical to make such a claim.

London’s contrived “The Tide” elevated “gangplank” shows that aping #NYC’s High Line park may do little to humanize a development says CSTV

The Tide is a miserable “corporate dream jetty” a functionless gewgaw with no real charm or public mission says Feargus.

Gewgaw (or geegaw) means a showy trifle. I had to look it up.

City Lab says:

Can we agree to stop calling things “the new High Line”? Barely a month goes by without the emergence of some fresh exercise in pretty-but-functionless urbanism that promises to jump on the coattails of New York’s now world-famous linear park.

City Lab says in its article:

That’s because The Tide is an expensive, heavily monitored add-on to a meretricious corporate development, possessing little in the way of either function or charm. Although beautifully shot press photos show it bathed in honeyed light against spectacular skies, on the drizzly morning I visited, without either as a backdrop, it looked more than a shade less appealing.

In another tweet CityLab says “London’s newest destination, on North Greenwich Peninsula, shows why it’s time to stop copying New York City’s High Line.” Clearly many of London’s proposed high lines are nothing like New York’s, and building a new one is even less of any sort of copy of the original!

As for the drinks problem…

I think this is stupid. What do they do with bird poo? How about when someone throws up? Or when someone slips on a dodgy bit of step at The Tide and splits open their knee or worse? What do they do when it rains? Cover the entire development?

As for the remainder of the Tide, which is that bit beyond the lifts, I have never seen any of it as completed, only in a state of construction. And that is why I have used one of my pictures showing the end of the walkway as uncompleted for the feature image.