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Social murder is the unnatural death that occurs due to social, political, or economic oppression. A crime commited through active decisions made by political, social and business leaders that leads to the deaths of others. House of the Year 2023 shortlist: Arts & Crafts with a conte... House of the Year 2023 shortlist: Arts & Crafts with a contemporary twist

New Journal Enterprises

A bonfire, a bonfire, a bonfire. David Cameron promised one as prime minister, as did Boris Johnson, as did Liz Truss when she ran for the highest office in the land. Conservative leaders come and go, but they all want a conflagration. Always of red tape, of course, the semi-mythical substance that is said to throttle business. The trouble is that, in the case of Grenfell Tower, it was human lives that burned. The 30-year pursuit of deregulation in the building industry demonstrably contributed to the killing of 72 people in their homes. It helped lead to the moment when a two-year-old boy died coughing and crying in his mother’s arms while she was on her phone to a firefighter, shortly before she too died. The London 🔥Brigade shouldn't escape without censure, as their archaic structure that never really allowed adequate training for senior staff / call centres, proved to be decisive in the disaster, as dropping the normal "stay put" guidance and instructing people to leave their homes earlier would at worst have saved many more lives, and may even have allowed all residents to have made it out had this been enacted earlier. Perhaps the most powerful takeaway is the critical importance of what we do to the lives of people who will use our buildings. It would be impossible to read the accounts of the night of the fire without reflecting on what and who we consider when we design.

Apps, who has covered the inquiry daily, alternates these narrative chapters with a forensic examination of how building regulations and corporate safety standards have been watered down since Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation bonanza.Grenfell was not an accident, but a foretold and carefully planned tragedy, built up for decades. It was prepared through a series of decisions and political or economic games, aiming to maximize profit, thus setting the value of human life below the importance of financial interest. Peter Apps provides a multilateral understanding of the events leading up to the Grenfell disaster, through the revelation of the multitude of factors that led up to it. The Grenfell fire and its Inquiry deserve to be a watershed moment for how we design and deliver buildings. What happened is something all architects should try to make themselves familiar with – not least to give context to some of the legislation already coming our way which will dramatically increase our obligations in terms of competence and liabilities.

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