Barkingside: visiting the suburbs

My response to the recent visit to Barkingside as part of the London workshop of the Modern Futures network.

Modern Futures

By Natalie Bradbury

Barkingside: visiting the suburbs

I grew up in a small seaside town, the type of place to which old people retire, and from where the young dream of escape. Although small and sleepy by anybody’s standards, it can’t be described as rural. It’s built up, urbanised, with lines of semis and terraces repeating street after street and bulky blocks of flats looking out onto the sea. Despite not being on the way to anywhere except the sea, or a suburb of somewhere (I understand ‘suburbs’ to refer to the quieter, more residential areas to be found outside the immediate and lively business and entertainment centres of larger conurbations), for this reason I have always identified with experiences and representations of the suburban in popular culture, whether in music, literature or film.

Growing up, my main ambition was to move to a city as soon as possible. For…

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