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Open spaces have always been a focus for debates about public access, health and planning in London. This paper will examine how London’s public green spaces were discussed and developed during the years following the Second World War. The  paper will highlight lesser-known discussions and ideas on how to reconstruct and use the capital following the catastrophic impact of war, including debates about housing estates, children’s playgrounds, and bombed sites. It underlines the exceptionalism of the debates in London, given central government’s special interest in the powers of the London County Council and issues of landownership in the capital and in the Green Belt.

Dr Katrina Navickas DPhil (Oxon) is currently the Museum of English Rural Life and Open Spaces Society Fellow 2020-21, and Reader in History at the University of Hertfordshire. She was awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship 2018-19 for The History of public space in England, 1700-2000. She is also the founder of an inter-disciplinary research network, Rural Modernism, which has been awarded an AHRC Research Networking grant as part of the Landscapes Decisions: Towards a new framework for using land assets scheme. She has published widely on subjects relating to 18th and 19th century British History and historical geography, including local and regional identities and landscapes, and on popular protest and social movements. Her books and articles include Protest and the Politics of Space and Place, 1789-1848 (Manchester University Press, 2015) and Conflicts of power, landscape and amenity in debates over the British Super Grid in the 1950s’ (Rural History, 2019). She has most recently authored the Croydon section of the Alternative Guide to London Boroughs for Open House London, edited by Owen Hatherley.

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend but booking is required.