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Davinia Gregory

MA work

Dissertation: Structure, Flow and Community in Grid City: Experiencing the Recentralisation of Milton Keynes since 1990

The phrase ‘Milton Keynes as designed object’ is paradoxical to many. By analysing the design, functions and users of central Milton Keynes and its buildings, this dissertation identifies the emergence of an ‘Entertainment Infrastructure’ in the New City since its Development Corporation disbanded in 1992.

It explores ways in which the centre’s buildings separate people, organising them into streams of flow. It provides an insight into the lived experiences of citizens and visitors through oral history and it reveals MK’s ‘Subtle Communities’, which revolve around semi-hidden, non-profit organisations and their buildings, designed to unify residents of a city divided by its other features.

This focus on flow is reflected in the work, which is not chronological but maintains constant flux and slippage between twentieth and twenty-first centuries in a phenomenon it dubs ‘MK Time’. This time is appropriately contradictory in nature, encapsulating the tension between a need for perpetual newness, which requires a slowing, cessation or reversal of time, and the reality of having existed only for a short time but needing to be established for economic success, the development of civic pride and the improvement of national reputation, which results in the constant wish for the speeding up of time.

This is a dissertation of paradox: of structure and flow, movement and stasis, inclusivity through exclusivity, community through division and integration through individuality. But such is the nature of Milton Keynes.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2010

  • Dissertation: Structure, Flow and Community in Grid City: Experiencing the Recentralisation of Milton Keynes since 1990

    The phrase ‘Milton Keynes as designed object’ is paradoxical to many. By analysing the design, functions and users of central Milton Keynes and its buildings, this dissertation identifies the emergence of an ‘Entertainment Infrastructure’ in the New City since its Development Corporation disbanded in 1992.

    It explores ways in which the centre’s buildings separate people, organising them into streams of flow. It provides an insight into the lived experiences of citizens and visitors through oral history and it reveals MK’s ‘Subtle Communities’, which revolve around semi-hidden, non-profit organisations and their buildings, designed to unify residents of a city divided by its other features.

    This focus on flow is reflected in the work, which is not chronological but maintains constant flux and slippage between twentieth and twenty-first centuries in a phenomenon it dubs ‘MK Time’. This time is appropriately contradictory in nature, encapsulating the tension between a need for perpetual newness, which requires a slowing, cessation or reversal of time, and the reality of having existed only for a short time but needing to be established for economic success, the development of civic pride and the improvement of national reputation, which results in the constant wish for the speeding up of time.

    This is a dissertation of paradox: of structure and flow, movement and stasis, inclusivity through exclusivity, community through division and integration through individuality. But such is the nature of Milton Keynes.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons), Illustration, University of Westminster, 2006
  • Experience

  • Liverpool Biennial curatorial internship, Tate Gallery, Liverpool, 2010; Library and bibliography assistance/internship, National Art Library, London, 2009/10; Learning and access internship, National Portrait Gallery, London, 2007; Museum work, National Portrait Gallery, London, 2006-10