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Preston Bus Station: Heritage, Regeneration and Resistance

Neate, HL and Toogood, M (2013) Preston Bus Station: Heritage, Regeneration and Resistance. North West Geography, 13. ISSN 1476-1580

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Abstract

Since 2000 Preston Bus Station has twice been threatened with demolition as part of proposed regeneration schemes in the city. Both times there has been sustained public resistance against its destruction. Based on interviews and participant observation, the research on which this paper draws asked why a formerly unloved and unprotected example of Brutalist 1960s architecture has become a public icon. The paper identifies and explores the diverse range and significance of peoples' articulations and actions — ranging from the local to global; from economic argument to affective and embodied interventions. These articulations are often non-expert, diffuse, expressed within social networks, as well as in inventive performative actions. Such activity has tacitly and productively blurred together forming an 'assemblage' of resistance. This assemblage of disparate agents represents a fresh public re-evaluation and democratisation of the building's value, in addition to rejecting the building's planned demise. More broadly we suggest that this 'non-' or 'tacit' campaign also contests prevalent retailled, investment-driven urban regeneration and articulates different possibilities for the Bus Station within Preston and its putative redevelopment.

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