I enjoyed Sean Griffiths’ observations on Mipim 2007 (Opinion March 23); the decadence, the vulgarity, the male testosterone and the leggy blondes.
I couldn’t help thinking we’ve created our very own parallel universe but unlike the blessedly brief annual excesses of Mipim, this blingitechture fest will run and run for five years.
Yes, the London Olympics 2012 make the excesses of Dubai oil sheikhs and Russian oligarchs look grounded in reality.
Basing the regeneration of a large chunk of one of the world’s major cities for the rest of the century on a two-week sports jamboree is a bit like marrying the first person you dance with at the disco.
What price all this ? The budget has quadrupled in a year, so change from £10 billion will be a surprise.
How many “real” buildings could we get for this? A hundred hospitals? A thousand schools?
London seems blissfully unaware of the level of resentment, or apathy at best, from the rest of the country towards its conspicuous consumption of finite resources in an already overdeveloped, underwatered region. To expect the lottery, the arts and charities to underwrite it only adds insult to injury.
Despina Katsikakis, chair of DEGW, had the courage and vision at Mipim to call for new commercial property construction to be only a last resort in a sustainable agenda. Is it too late for an Olympic equivalent? Is there anyone out there with the courage and vision to articulate it?
Paul Gregory, The Mechanics Institute, Liverpool