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Ordsall Factory for Progressive Urbanism

Part 2 Project 2014
Matthew Vicary
Sheffield Hallam University, UK
This project outlines an alternative approach to neoliberal urban development, suggesting ways that working class communities might be able to organise not only to resist gentrification with its associated fragmentation and dispersal, but also take both the right to build and the right to the city.

The project is set in Ordsall, a ward in Salford, sandwiched between Castlefield and MediaCityUK, two areas that have seen the re-entry of capital after the desolation of local industry. The effect of these developments is a frontier mentality in gentrifiying the old working class communities, which supplies the docks with labour. The project inverses the traditional approach of ‘regeneration’ through consumption (whether retail, leisure of homes to buy) by making the focus production, in doing so providing decent and sustainable local jobs.

Such an approach not only addresses the social issues that the community face; unemployment, a low skill base, rising rents, falling relative wages, cuts in welfare and care support etc., it also provides the basis for a unique and creative tool for the community to use collectively to realise the right to the city.

This tool is the factory for Progressive Urbanism, and is just one element of a neighbourhood wide plan of strategic interventions and activities aimed at strengthening the social networks and challenging the reflective impotence and alienation from the process of urbanisation. The majority of these interventions are rooted in the existing elements of the community, yet the central intervention is something uniqe; a community factory run by a workers co-operative.

Matthew Vicary


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