Ground Control, By Anna Minton

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The Independent Culture

"Fear creates unhappiness" argues this intensively researched polemic, written with passion and verve, about the privatisation of urban space in market-mad post-Thatcher Britain and the climate of "distrust" fostered in even the swankiest new city quarters.

From London Docklands to Salford and Liverpool, the upscale "gated community" to the Asbo-controlled poor estate, Minton laments the handover of public amenities – and civic security – to private enterprise, which creates not solidarity but anxiety.

Her superb reportage shines, but her solutions falter, with a naïve worship of "Continental" lifestyles and neglect of the rich British history of Utopian architecture.