How Bristol became the frontline of revival

Yet even as Good Life blossoms by the River Avon – the Soil Association, Triodos Bank and the Environment Agency are all headquartered here – is everything in Bristol really so rosy? Former Mayor Independent George Ferguson yesterday warned the city faced an existential threat in the form of overdevelopment. This laid back, friendly lifestyle attracts more investment, and as it does, Ferguson warned: sleepwalking through it.

An architect by training, Ferguson warned of a resurgence of “selfish high-rise development,” pleading for “common sense” to create elegant streets and spaces that are the makings of major European cities, and promising to “fight like hell for Bristol.” “

The city is not without social problems either. A 2019 sewage and wastewater report found it to be the cocaine capital of Europe.

Additionally, a survey conducted last summer by Currys PC World and Ring Security found that Bristol was only 36th out of 50 for affordable UK cities, ranking 30th for safety and 22nd for work balance. -personal life. It only makes it to 29th place for greenery, which seems particularly disappointing.

Worse yet, according to the city’s review website I Live Here, many accolades are a myth. “What is really happening is that posh neighborhoods such as Clifton are becoming even more posh, more trendy and less accessible for the ‘lower’ classes, while other places on the outskirts continue to decline,” explains a poster. “A few tips from Bristol: Graffiti, expensive sandwiches and the smelly hordes of hippies don’t make a pleasant city.”

These hippies may also be Trustafarians, still wearing the clothes in which they roamed Indonesia, are now studying history at university with the intention of working in the city later.

I’m only too well aware of how the past and the present are intertwined, Georgian terraces and gangly white youths with dreadlocks are in the city, having been schooled there in the 1970s and 1980s. Seven years old, I crossed the gently creaking Clifton Suspension Bridge with my mom, dropping me off at high school and then going to the comprehensive school where she taught: Lockleaze, just south of Filton.

My friends and I hiked Clifton and Redlands, all the way to Gloucester Road – now the hippest shopping and food street, but then decidedly unhealthy. We walked down the steep hill from Park Street, met at Broadmead shopping center to shop at Snob’s and have a cocktail at the floating pub on the docks, Lochiel.

The relaxed vibe was close to structural levels. Lunches were spent haunting the antique market where fox stoles – with their heads still attached – jostled alongside long silk dressing gowns, once owned by elderly gentlemen who lived in the grand houses of the Downs. Moms in long skirts sharing yogurt recipes. In my memory Clifton still smells of the roasted coffee at Carwardines – as it might have done in the 1920s – and the patchouli-scented incense sticks imported from India.

As a teenager I had friends at Colston Girls’ School (now Montpellier High School) and sang with a choir at Colston Hall – the Bristol Beacon since 2020. We took houseboat trips around the docks to watch the giant tobacco warehouses and see the SS Great Britain. Trade and slavery were taught in history classes because their history was all around us, in museums as well as in events such as the St. Paul’s riots in 1980.

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