Could the London Docklands become as famous as, say, the Delta Plan in the Netherlands or Brasilia in Brazil? Will schools in the UK around the world be looking at the Docklands as the example of urban regeneration? When the construction phase of the project was under way, we grumbled about the costs, the planning errors and, of course, the yuppies' displacement of a "real" local community.
With the London Docklands Development Corporation winding up last month, we can take a cooler and more balanced look at the whole scheme.
The London Docklands CD-Rom is a well-captioned picture library of images related to the project, arranged under the headings History, Regeneration, Planning and Design, Ecology, and Rebuilding a Community. The tone is enthusiastic and upbeat.
It works as a CD because the text is not only written out but also provided as a spoken commentary. The images and text are easy to access and view, the information is well cross-referenced, and you can construct your own libraries and "trails" of photographs. There is also an Internet link (mostly as a means to more sales).
The pack is part of AVP's Picture Base series of CD-Roms. Seen as a part of this whole, The London Docklands has, possibly, more value. With several similar CD-Roms loaded on your PC, you could create your own library of information. One project could be researched and written with text and illustrations from a range of sources.
As an introduction to Picture Base, The London Docklands is a good example of the format and clarity, but not so good on interest and balance. If you're intrigued by the Docklands development, and especially if you live there, you'll enjoy it. It should also appeal to the many schools that now use the Docklands as a field study venue.
A free copy of 'The London Docklands' CD-Rom will be sent to the first 10 readers who write to London Docklands CD-Rom offer, 59 Russell Square, London WC1B 4HJ