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Tag: catastrophe

the catastrophe of converting office blocks to homes

“I can’t work” says Katya. One reason she can’t work is that it takes her 40 minutes to walk to the nearest available school from her housing block in Harlow, Essex, and 40 minutes back, which means that she spends the best part of three hours every day ferrying her young children to and fro. Shops are also a long walk away, apart from a petrol station where you can buy milk and bread for above-average prices. She can’t afford broadband or the devices that access it. “We are really isolated.”

Her flat is small – “if you open the door you hit the bed” – freezing in winter, boiling in summer, and prone to mould. Being on the ground floor, she doesn’t dare open her windows at night. There have been drug dealing and knife fights in her block. There is “always shouting and arguing”, she says. “The children

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