Workshops » Engages with vigor as a spatial navigator on wheels, astutely observing architecture and informal sociological studies. Mr. Woodhead is an activist for Southbank, in South London.

Louis Woodhead
Britain (b. sometime after 1957)

London, UK
Hordes of skaters, the undercroft at Southbank, a shopping centre.
2014
After a 17 month fight, London’s skater community claimed victory over developers who wanted to transform their iconic home of urban art and community space – Southbank’s undercroft – into a generic shopping center. The organizational force of Long Live Southbank garnered signatures, articulately addressed the public in speeches and emails, and turned out hordes of voters. Their efforts earned huge public support, including that of Mayor Boris Johnson.
Southbank Shopping Centre conceded, making young LLSB member Louis Woodhead note “The whole campaign has made all of us a lot more conscious about the way our city is evolving and what sorts of spaces are conducive to the really exciting creative self-expression which we love… For me, such things are beautiful because they come about organically… such forms of self-expression are an increasingly endangered species…as every last penny is squeezed out of every last square inch as prime retail space, or highly accessible office space, London’s city centre becomes a desert…the pull of the pound is too strong. However, public opinion is firmly on the side of creativity rather than capital [in this case].” 1.

Philadelphia, PA
PA Bill 120340, property tax, Darrell Clarke, rising equity for home owners.
2013
With the help of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations and Council President Darrell Clarke, bill 120340 was able to pass. The bill ensures property tax exemptions for low-income homeowners in gentrifying areas. “Long-term owner-occupants who experience an increase in the market value of their homes by three times or greater will be eligible to apply to the Office of Property Assessment for the exemptions.” 2.

Portland, OR
Majestic Realty, Trader Joe’s, Charlie Hales, the Portland African American Leadership Forum.
2014
The Portland African American Leadership Forum found that mayor, Charlie Hales was pushing to offer a $2.6 million parcel of land for a mere $500,000 to the Californian-based, billionaire-owned Majestic Realty, in order to open a Trader Joe’s outlet. The PAAL held complaint with, not just the unwarranted discount, but the city’s lack of action in response to affordable housing concerns and the already-displaced residents of the neighborhood. The Trader Joe’s deal would only exacerbate the further displacement of low-income residents, without offering any guarantees for community hiring. After much public outcry Trader Joe’s relented, saying “Given negative reactions from the community, it said, we will not be opening a store in the area.” 3.
The impact of the decision for all involved parties prompted a convening of local leaders. The result of these meetings included: a different natural food grocer would be built and the city agreed to spend $20 million on affordable housing in the neighborhood, over the subsequent five years.

1. Woodhead, Louis. “Who has a right to the city?” Long Live Southbank Blog. 2014. http://www.llsb.com/blog/

2. McConnell, Beth. “Bills to Protect Homeowners from Property Tax Hikes Pass.” Pacdc.org. 2013. http://pacdc.org/node/2265

3. http://aalfnw.org/http://www.opb.org/news/article/trader-joes-tells-mayor-it-will-not-return-to-ne-portland-lot-/http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/real-estate-daily/2014/02/trader-joes-majestic-opt-out-of-ne.html

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