Saturday 6 February 2010

101 Things We Ought to Reinvent

People are always inventing new things, like the iPad. But why not plunder the past for good ideas that worked - and could work again?

alms houses

arcades (build them all round squares and line them with shops)
blocks of flats containing restaurant, gym, pool, café, tennis court, supermarket (like in the 30s when they built them like the Queen Mary but without the sea)
bar/café reinvent the pub (sticky carpet, orange wood, unnecessary olde worlde feel) as the bar/café (tables and chairs outside on a clean pavement) selling food, coffee, ice cream – and alcohol as an afterthought. Staying open till midnight or two in the morning for young people who can keep awake that long.
cookery demos: send ladies around the country to give cookery demonstrations in community centres
council water cart: it went round early in the morning washing the streets. Necessary because of horse-drawn transport and unpaved streets.
Dig for Victory (coming back 2009)
Diggers They wanted to grow their own food, but the landowners didn’t like it back in 1650 any more than they do now.
draining boards that, um, drain (because they’re slanted, you see, so that the water runs into the sink)
external louvred wooden shutters (for heat conservation, heat exclusion and security)
fold-down ironing boards, tables and seats
French windows on upper floors with functional balconies (for light and air and sitting out)

grow food in "dead" spaces and parks

Hammersmith Palais
hats for men They keep your head warm and your hair dry (happening at last).
hospital matrons
lunatic asylums (places of refuge)
mistresses: as long as they get a nice flat and a decent wage
paper carrier bags (recyclable)
pavement washing They do it on the continent, why not here? All it takes is a bucket of soapy water and a broom.
penthouses (happening)
picture windows
prefabs Bring back the post-war prefab villages, instead of knocking them down.
public toilets
Roman villas
roof gardens (happening)
room dividers (and wall units)
screens You sit by the fire and surround yourself with a screen to conserve heat.
sheep to cut the grass
single-sex hospital wards
Sodastream machine for adding fizz to tap water (plus reusable thermos for carrying around) (still available)
British Summer Time in the winter, Double Summer Time in the Summer (with a separate time zone for Scotland)
Temperance Movement
tiny baths and bathrooms like they have in Italy so as not to waste space, ditto tiny kitchens/kitchenettes/dinettes
wall-beds and box beds with niches for lamp, books. How about a window bed like a window seat to go in a bed-shaped bay window?
wide, clean pavements for café tables and strolling
youth clubs Beverley Hughes promising to revive July 27, 2007

Reinventions 4

Reinventions 3

Reinventions 2
Reinventions 1

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