Social Housing or Prison?
I decided to look a existing prison models in comparison to social housing models. In one example I found a Cuban prison named Presidio Modelo which was modelled after the Panopticon designed by philosopher Jeremy Bentham. The design follows the idea that each inmate is under constant surveillance, or at least they feel that they are under constant surveillance by the watch tower in the middle. This was fascinating to me because the new designs of the Green Man estate follow exactly the same idea; each person’s flat surrounds this community garden which sits in the centre of the estate, this was to encourage increased surveillance amongst residents and reduce crime levels. Inspired by my research into prison models and social housing, I decided to take my new found information to the public to see their opinions on this.
I asked around 80 people in West Ealing centre to look at a photo inside the newly built Green Man estate block, I asked them to tell me whether they thought the photo was from a prison or if it was social housing, they then had to put a jelly bean in the column which they thought was right. The activity was a chance for people to speak out about the social housing crisis and by putting a jelly bean in the prison column it felt like they were trying to rebel against the council and A2 Dominion [a leading housing association in London and South England]. This was their chance to speak out. Their voice was represented by this jelly bean.
I received a lot of feedback from the activity and decided to next focus on how to make people’s opinion’s heard by the local council and the housing association. This led me to make stickers with people’s comments on. I then stuck these around existing and newly developed Green Man Estate blocks to test the people’s reaction.
I decided to push this font further by making screen printed posters which I could then photograph in the estate.