Here & Now
AoU Journal No. 10 Autumn 2017 ISSN 2058-9123 ÂŁ7
Did the post-war planners kill our cities? 10 lessons from Milton Keynes Planning cities around streets Structured learning Interview: Judith Sykes, Useful Simple Trust
Front cover image: Judith Sykes, Useful Simple Trust © Peter Clarkson
1 Welcome 2 Editorial 3 The Academy in action 8
Making it happen Nicholas Falk reviews some recent good place guides
11 Getting closer: AoU and INTA Head of INTA Michel Sudarkis sets the tone for future collaboration
The Academy of Urbanism 70 Cowcross Street London EC1M 6EJ United Kingdom +44 (0) 20 7251 8777 academyofurbanism.org.uk @theAoU Join The Academy of Urbanism on LinkedIn, Facebook and Flickr Editorial team Alastair Blyth (Editor) Delano Bart-Stewart Steven Bee Stephen Gallagher Emeka Efe Osaji Frank McDonald David Rudlin Lucy Sykes Timothy White Design template Richard Wolfströme Advertise in this Journal! If you would like to reach our broad and active audience, speak to Stephen Gallagher on email@example.com or +44 (0) 20 7251 8777
Going to scale: Fixing our broken housing market Nicholas Falk and Jon Rowland offer 10 steps to tackle one of the biggest issues of our time
15 If you rebuild it, they will come Jay Merrick tells the story of unlocking creativity in Dunoon 18 URBAN Emergence Manifesto Simple ideas that capture the complexity of cities 20
Did the post-war planners kill our cities?...in focus
Engineering a vision for new towns Steven Bee in conversation with Judith Sykes from the Useful Simple Trust
The social masterplan Dr Noël James on the single biggest reason behind the success of Milton Keynes
10 lessons from MK After organising the AoU’s recent symposium in Milton Keynes, Biljana Savic reflects on lessons from this new town for all urbanists
Grey sky modernists David Rudlin and Shruti Hemani on why Britain’s gusto for the modernist movement led to ‘Subtopia’
37 From concrete to glass The post-war trajectory of London’s high-rise housing paints a complex picture of inequality vs luxury. Tim White and Mel Nowicki investigate 40
Planning cities around streets David Green argues why it is streets from which our cities should emerge, not land use and physical structures
44 My place People with places that are significant in their lives 45
Space for great places! A gallery of ideas and reflections on great places
Urban idiocy Brilliant but flawed ideas for the city
My own view is... Robbie Kerr on the art of borrowing
Space Place Life The Academy’s 15 Great Place for 2018, featuring poems by Ian McMillan, drawings by David Rudlin and figure grounds by Lathams
Academicians and Young Urbanists Who we are
The Academy of Urbanism is a politically independent, not-for-profit organisation that brings together both the current and next generation of urban leaders, thinkers and practitioners. Our mission is to recognise, encourage and celebrate great places across the UK, Europe and beyond, and the people and organisations that create and sustain them. Join the Academy Become an Academician, Young Urbanist, Member or Group Member at academyofurbanism.org.uk/ membership Support the Academy Sponsor one or more of our programmes of developing, learning, partnering and disseminating. Please contact Linda Gledstone on +44 (0) 20 7251 8777. Principal Sponsor Grosvenor Sponsors Alan Baxter Barton Willmore David Lock Associates JTP Mayfields Milton Keynes Council Muir Group Perkins+Will Space Syntax The Centre: MK Tombolo U+I Supporters in kind Jas Atwal Associates Kevin Murray Associates London Festival of Architecture Monocle Prentis & Co. Space Syntax Steve Bee Urban Counsel URBED Academy Team Linda Gledstone Director of Operations Stephen Gallagher Director of Communications Zarreen Hadadi Membership Executive Delano Bart-Stewart Communications Executive Bright Pryde-Saha Young Urbanist Co-ordinator Dogan Behic Accounts Keith Nicholson Financial Assistant
Rethinking modernism We have just returned from Aarhus after a wonderful congress in Denmark’s second city. One of the highlights was the drinks reception in the city hall, designed in the late 1930s by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller. Two members of our party were seen actually stroking the interior of the building, so beautifully was it detailed. In Scandinavia modernism is like that, it is something that happened, that was often done very beautifully and now takes its place alongside the other architectural styles that have characterised the 20th century. This is very different to the attitude we have to modernism in the UK where it is very much seen as the baddie in the story of the 20th century city. In November 2008 the Academy explored these issues at a symposium in Liverpool held as part of the city’s year as European Capital of Culture. The RIBA had organised a major Corbusier exhibition in the crypt of the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Academy symposium pointed out that, great architect that he might have been, Corb was a bloody awful urbanist. My personal favourite quote of his is that “café bars will no longer be the fungus that eats up the pavements of Paris” which is really all you need to know to realise that while he may have called himself an urbanist, he was not one of us. Modernism is however about a lot more than Corbusier. British modernism (and its ugly sister, brutalism) is a complex brew that drew influence as much from the Arts and Crafts movement as it did from the Bauhaus. We have grown to hate many of the modernist townscapes in the UK and in doing so dismiss the motives of our modernist predecessors. But maybe we have been too hasty? This year the Academy has been seeking to reevaluate modernism by focusing our awards on post-war places. This led to some fascinating discussions and we ended up shortlisting Coventry, Milton Keynes and Corby alongside the Brunswick Centre and the Golden Lane Estate in London, the Byker Estate in Newcastle and Smallbrook Queensway in Birmingham. All of these places allow us a glimpse of what the modernists were trying to do. They allow us to see past the peeling paint and the pigeon shit to the gleaming white (or the béton brut) city of the future that they were trying to build. Many were planned as complex sequences of urban space on multiple levels to combine efficiency with a rich and complex urban experience. Maybe they are due a re-evaluation? Maybe we should be brushing them down and washing away the grime to see them again as they were originally designed (as we have done with our Victorian architecture that was also once despised). These are some of the questions we ask in this special post-war issue of the Journal. My personal view is that modernism is what you get when you allow architects to design cities. They can’t help designing everything including the way that we live. But drawing happy people in an underpass or on a street in the sky doesn’t mean that these places can ever create environments where people will be happy. I tend to think that the places we have shortlisted are extraordinary exceptions to the rule that modernist environments are terrible urban places. They should be preserved of course, but only as a warning of what can go wrong when we mess with the fundamentals that make a city work — but that’s just me. David Rudlin AoU Chair
Chair’s introduction 1
This edition of Here & Now has a particular focus on post-war planning in the UK, or more particularly whether it was all bad. In the dawn of the post-war era in amongst the debris of bomb damaged Britain, there was an optimism. There had to be something better than the hell people had just been through – for the second time in the living memory of many at the time. The National Health Service is perhaps the most obvious beacon of this optimism. But so too were the mass housing programmes that saw the huge, soulless estates and concrete tower blocks. Since then we have learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work when making places for people to live. While there is always more to learn, we should be able to get it right. The problem at the moment seems to be getting it at all. The reasons for the UK housing crisis are well rehearsed from continuous lack of investment over decades, poor planning, higher than predicted rise in populations and over-emphasis on ownership. Britain is the fifth or sixth wealthiest nation (by GDP) depending on when you measure it. It has the capability to meet this challenge. Indeed, the AoU’s report in response to the government’s housing white paper suggests 10 ideas that could help fix this. But as the authors say, no one ‘profession’ or discipline holds the key – it demands a cross-sectoral, crossprofessional collaboration. An entirely different kind of thinking that the Academy is well placed to promote. Still, there is one other thing we also need. Optimism! After almost 10 years of austerity, the word still hangs tenaciously from government lips. Alastair Blyth AoU Editor
2 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
The Academy in action! In this issue we hear reports from the events that have shaped the last six months of the Academy. This includes what the feedback tells us is our most successful Congress to date, which took place over four days in the charming and inspiring city of Aarhus, Denmark. It also covers the neighbourhood assessment visits for the Urbanism Awards, which took a distinctly post-war focus. Keeping with the Awards, we hear from an event about a former finalist worried for the future amid increasing pressures from inward investment. We also hear from a meeting that responds to a new growth corridor initiative in the South East, as well as the activities of the Young Urbanists. If you have missed out on these fantastic events, please make sure you are on our email list. Sign up at academyofurbanism. org.uk. If you would like to lead an event in your area, please get in touch! Contact Stephen Gallagher, director of communications, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorâ€™s introduction | AoU in Action 3
Proceedings were brought to an appropriately relaxed, reflective but always insightful close on Sunday morning by Monocle editor Andrew Tuck in conversation with Rob Adams, Juliana Engberg (programme director, Aarhus 2017) landscape architect Kristine Jensen and, of course, the man himself, Jan Gehl.
CONGRESS XII: A NEW CULTURE OF URBANISM September
This year’s AoU congress in Aarhus was the fourth that I have attended so, although not exactly a fresh newcomer to these events, I can still perhaps offer some degree of critical objectivity. Previous congresses have been held outside the UK but this was the first for me which, even as a reasonably wellseasoned traveller, does bring an added sense of adventure along with logistical challenges, not least for the organisers. It is therefore appropriate to commend all those involved in achieving the hassle-free experience of an impressively diverse series of events for the attending delegates, certainly the positive and appreciative ones I had the pleasure of spending time with! In terms of the formal programme and content the Academy’s now wellestablished, and still growing, status once again secured suitably prestigious speakers to compellingly address some of the most pressing contemporary urban challenges, from: delivering sustainable energy and transport infrastructure; issues of affordability and equity; to accommodating immigration or managing depopulation.
It is by demonstrating their selfevident benefits that many of these initiatives and examples of strategic urban rethinking, once dismissed as too impractical/ idealistic, radical/ romantic (take your pick), become robust, pragmatic and imminently sensible – a new orthodoxy emerges. But real change requires more than well-informed progressively minded activists to effect, however passionately inspired they may be. Political will and means is essential. The governance of our host city Aarhus, within the wider socialdemocratic Danish society, I believe, offers us a way. The key lessons here being: synergy of suitably empowered city mayor and capable city architect (exemplified in close working relationship of Jacob Bundsgaard and Stephen Willacy); functioning ruling coalition assembly (delivered through PR voting system); high level of fiscal autonomy; effective community consultation and ‘buy-in’, justifying the higher levels of taxation. The Academy’s membership draws from a refreshingly board range of urban-related disciplines and, for me, one of most nourishing aspects of the extended three day congress experience is the in-between time spent experiencing places with this diverse group of people, sharing a similarly critical fascination and essential enjoyment of city life - I’m already looking forward to next year’s round of collective flaneuring in Cork! Jef Smith AoU
These, of course, have many different context-specific manifestations, but in the series of case-study based examples common strategies of effective best-practice begin to emerge, many of which were articulated by the keynote speakers Rob Adams (cirector of City Design & Projects, City of Melbourne) and Helle Søholt (founding partner & CEO, Gehl) given at the end of Day Two when the Academy joined the Nordic City Network Conference, all of which neatly coinciding with Aarhus’ Rising Architecture Week, part of their European City of Culture 2017 programme. 4 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 8 || Autumn Autumn 2016 2017
Anticlockwise from top: Cycling tour at Aarhus harbour, Moesgaard Museum, Isbjerget, Lunch at Dome of Visions, Panel discussion with Andrew Tuck, Juliana Engberg, Jan Gehl and Rob Adams.
AWARDS ASSESSMENT VISITS June - September
Jane Jacobs said that ‘a successful city neighbourhood is a place that keeps sufficiently abreast of its problems so as it is not destroyed by them’. This year, the Great Neighbourhoods team visited examples of neighbourhoods developed in the second half of the 20th century comprising two outstanding post-war social experiments in housing and urban design and a redefined historic part of Dublin. It is not always the case that respected architecture also survives the test of being a great place to live work and play, but Golden Lane Estate on the borders of the City of London and Byker Estate in Newcastle have achieved this longevity. Golden Lane is a Corbusier-influenced design that, due its scale and skilful execution, has adapted almost unchanged to contemporary living. It was brilliantly designed by Chamberlain, Powell and Bon in the early 1950s to create small units for essential workers with the broad social and professional mix needed to support the City of London following the Blitz. No space is wasted and the design made use of bombed-out basements to create generous sunken gardens and leisure facilities. The skill of the architecture and its proximity to great amenities and transport links means that it is still popular and its 50/50 split of public and private housing (since the Right to Buy legislation) means that both council tenants and people able to afford unique examples of modern design still live together harmoniously. Good management and respect for both the residents and the buildings is exemplified by an extensive refurbishment scheme to improve the quality and efficiency of the homes.
much-needed investment to upgrade the estate and involved residents in the improvement and delivery of services. The social and physical improvements over a short period are miraculous, again proving that good management and respect for tenants as well as historic buildings can bring positive results. The listing of both Golden Lane and Byker helped make the decisions on improvements more focussed and precise, allowed necessary adaptations and ensured the quality of the original design and function has been retained. Smithfield in Dublin is still a developing neighbourhood of largely private apartments with retail and cultural amenities. It focuses on a large open square, the historic site of livestock markets and horse fairs, the former Jameson distillery (redeveloped in the 1980s) and the more recent development of former industrial sites. The introduction of a Luas (Dublin’s tramway) stop, an art cinema and the future development of a university site nearby has made Smithfield a unique and attractive area to live, work and play close to the centre of Dublin. It is a fine example of organic collaboration between the public and private sector, with a random quality that works extremely well.
Tim Challans AoU is director of Challans Consulting and this year’s lead assessor for the Great Neighbourhood award.
Golden Lane Estate, London
Byker is Ralph Erskine’s 1970s Scandinavian-inspired response to rehousing people affected by the clearance of Victorian terraced houses. Famous for its response to the local topography and climate, the Byker Wall, its primary colours and inventive use of cheap, attractive materials, Byker was a place of pilgrimage for architects and planners. By the 1990s, however, the condition of the estate had deteriorated and Byker had become an unsustainable burden for Newcastle City Council in need of physical, environmental and social regeneration. The Byker Community Trust was established in 2012 and took over the stock (but not the debts) from the council. The trust secured the
Editor’s introduction | AoU in Action 5
of local, regional and international speakers. The Leeds 2023 team outlined their approach to celebrating the cultures that bring the city together and their intention to put Leeds firmly on the map. Since the event, the Stage 1 Bid Book has been submitted outlining why Leeds is a European city. Richard Bickers, associate director at Arup, reflected on ‘Host Cities’ and the potential of hosting a major cultural event as a catalyst for change and lasting legacy.
New Towns symposium in The Centre:MK
MILTON KEYNES SYMPOSIUM NEW TOWNS: WHAT’S NEXT? June
Part of the reason this edition of Here & Now is focused on new towns is the success of a recent symposium we held in Milton Keynes. Taking place as part of CityFest in the very heart of The Centre:MK – and exposed to the various shoppers – the event looked at how the urbanists of 50 years ago that were planning new towns thought the future would pan out. This, we hoped, would provide clues as to the future 50 years from now. Our closing panel had some interesting observations. Writer and urban historian Leo Hollis talked about the increased interest in information gathering. “This is becoming increasingly monopolistic in terms of big data and the kinds of information gathering ... that emphasises efficiency, productivity and profitability above all other things. The end result is something like a Google city, in which data rather than decisionmaking and human inspiration and innovation is what drives the city”, Hollis said. Journalist Owen Hatherley used the contrasting quality of the Centre:MK and its modern extension to make a point about the consequences of putting profit first: “It’s insulting to people to build something 30 years later and the simple quality of the building and materials to have declined so far”, said Hatherley. “I think the reason for this is the ubiquitous thing in British cities of the bean counter. Of this culture of value engineering. That’s visible in the physical fabric of our cities and I think what the [Grenfell Tower] fire has shown horrifyingly is that driving down costs gets to the point where it can be lethal.”
Executive producer for Hull 2017 UK City of Culture, Sam Hunt, focused on culture, place and public space, and how the UK City of Culture project has helped shape perceptions of Hull and its value in terms of place-making. Imanol Galdos, assistant director at Donostia Kultura in San Sebastián, both a host to European Capital of Culture 2016 and AoU European City of the Year 2016, brought a European perspective with his talk titled ‘Can Perfection Be Improved?’. Galdos gave an overview about the whole process of the delivery of Capital of Culture 2016 and the impact and legacy.
4x4 Leeds © Nick Singleton
David Rudlin, chair of the session, spoke about getting the city we plan for. He said: “If we think the city needs to accommodate the car, therefore we redesign the city to accommodate the car. But then don’t be surprised when we are dominated by cars. The city that we build affects the future and just because we can’t predict it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to influence it.”
4X4 LEEDS: CULTURAL CITIES CAPTIVATING MINDS, ANIMATING SPACES
Steven McCloy and Bongani Muchemwa, designers of Park Here and Play 2017, presented their approach to creating an engaging, eye catching intervention in Victoria Gardens outside Leeds Art Gallery in the lead up to its re-opening. John Orrell AoU, a director of DLA Design, chaired the 4x4 and commented that “the diverse range of subject matter proffered by the speakers delivered an eclectic, yet connected mix of opinions about culture and place making. Their talks provided plenty of creative inspiration to open up a hugely interesting audience debate”.
In June 2017, the Academy partnered Leeds as it hosted the first event in 2017 under the 4x4 event series banner. DLA Design, Leeds Art Gallery and Leeds City Council invited representatives from the arts, cultural and built environment sectors to explore the City of Culture programmes and their potential to act as catalysts for economic and cultural regeneration. This timely event in the lead-up to Leeds’ bid for European Capital of Culture in 2023 was hosted by Leeds Beckett University and engaged a range
6 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 8 || Autumn Autumn 2016 2017
This event was part of a wider programme titled Park Here and Play, led by a partnership between Leeds City Council, Leeds Art Gallery and DLA Design with support from a range of funders and sponsors including Arts Council, Leeds Inspired and Leeds BID. The temporary intervention in Victoria Gardens was animated through artistic and community activities in summer 2017, engaging nearly 5,000 residents and visitors. The follow up 4x4 event titled Cultural Cities Part 2: Cultivating Connections
YU ASSESSMENT VISITS TO GAOL FERRY STEPS
between People and Place took place on 8 November at Leeds Art Gallery. It explored the creative capacity of our cities, who our public spaces belong to and how communities are empowered by culture. We welcomed Fran Edgerley, founding member from the Turner Prize winning collective Assemble; Emma Bearman, chief of play at Playful Anywhere and Kathryn Garnett, community network developer at the Eden Project; Jane Walne, principal regeneration officer - Public Realm Strategy, Leeds City Council; and Lia Ghilardi, director of Noema, who will explore how we can harness the power of the community by using tools such as cultural and community assets mapping to deliver ‘true to place’ regeneration
Panel discussion in Vortex Jazz Club
Kate Watson is a creative consultant at DLA Design.
THE YOUNG URBANISTS AGENDA
REGENERATION FOR ALL GILLETT SQUARE, DALSTON
What started as a conversation about an event to mark Gillett Square’s entry in our new book Urbanism grew quickly into an event on the increasing pressures it is under from development interest. So in September, the AoU and Vortex Foundation drew together a local stakeholder base to talk about the inequalities linked to regeneration and the slippery concept of value – what is it, and how can more of us capture it? We gathered over 60 local actors, entrepreneurs, community leaders, local and city authority decisionmakers at the Vortex Jazz club to learn more about the origins of the square and how those that helped shape it see its future. Having captured a swell of interest, the Academy will now be holding a followup event on 20 December focused on the wider Dalston Junction area to build on the work that has happened over the last 15 years. We hope to raise awareness of the richness of activities, venues and social structures that support Dalston’s special character, bring together civil society with the public and private sectors to work equally together in collaborative dialogue, and influence the appropriateness, quality and character of large scale comprehensive proposals. For more information contact email@example.com
On a balmy October evening, the Bristol Young Urbanists gathered in Gaol Ferry Steps – one of this year’s Great Place nominees for the Urbanism Awards – to undertake a condensed version of the Awards assessment visit. Attendees were guided around the area by representatives from developer Umberslade and architects Alec French, gaining insights into what makes the area a successful urban space and a destination for Bristol. After settling in at The Architecture Centre, Young Urbanists were then joined by local Academicians who provided valuable expertise about the Urbanism Awards assessment process, guiding attendees through the criteria and providing guidance on how urban developments and spaces are assessed.
Dalston Peace Mural during walking tour
CMKO GROWTH CORRIDOR September
Following news of the shortlist for the UK National Infrastructure Commission’s Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford connected cities competition, the Academy convened a meeting in August of Academicians located in these areas to review the scope for involvement in the future of this much-publicised new zone of growth. The hope is that we can utilise the experience of Academicians and teams that submitted ultimately unsuccessful bids to to investigate the many different ways of addressing and delivering growth across the corridor. For those interested in participating contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Academy of Urbanism celebrated 10 years of ‘learning from place’ in 2016, and as part of that celebration the Young Urbanists took a vital look back, as well as forward, to draw up our agenda for the future of cities. Created through a series of workshops and roundtable discussions, our agenda puts forward suggestions for more inclusive and sustainable futures. As UN member countries start implementing the New Urban Agenda on a global scale, the Young Urbanists have tackled key themes centred on a UK context regarding the forces that will shape the next decade and more of urban life, development and management. We will launch The Young Urbanists Agenda at an event hosted by Arup on 16 November in London looking at Redesigning Housing. The Agenda will be our platform for facilitating discussion and action on the themes of digitalisation, funding and devolution, housing and transport over the coming years. Throughout the next year or two, the Young Urbanists will continue to explore these themes and how they might – as the next generation of urban practitioners – change mindsets from the traditional ways in order to achieve fundamental improvements for our future cities. Keep your eye on our social media channels for information about events and activities related to The Young Urbanists Agenda. Editor’s introduction | AoU in Action 7
Making it happen The Urbanism Awards provide important inspiration and lots of good ideas for what a great city, neighbourhood or street should look like. But how to get there from here remains largely unresolved and involves tackling social and economic as well as physical issues. So in this review, Dr Nicholas Falk AoU considers a few recent guides, before suggesting what place leadership might involve.
The seven emerging principles set out in the Academy’s Agenda for the Future of Urbanism – drawn from 2016’s Congress – are all highly relevant to creating better new neighbourhoods: ‘forget utopia; understanding place; mix of uses, streets and permeability; walkable scale; plot-based urbanism; and flexible and loose fit’. But having visited most of the cities that qualify for the European City of the Year award, I wonder how do some places manage to transform themselves while others fail to make the grade? Furthermore, as any city is made up of many parts, good and bad, you must first take account of their history as well as their geography. As Patrick Geddes memorably stated, “But a city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time”. Perhaps planners and architects tend to focus too much on the physical – what you can see, touch and even smell – as opposed to the more ephemeral qualities that comprise social, economic and natural capital? So here are a few recent books that offer fresh viewpoints. Psychology and the City Charles Landry AoU has teamed up with Chris Murray, who once worked in psychiatry before eventually ending
up as chief executive of the Core Cities group. This provocative booklet, one of a series of eight, provides a whirlwind review of the different schools of psychology and their urban potential. It contrasts human drivers that evolved from surviving in the natural world with urban realities, and explores how we can tap into the ‘soul of a city’. A personality test provides a convenient tool for classifying cities, as curious or driven, for example, and should provide a better means of opening up a useful conversation than simply talking about transport or housing in boxes. While simple insights like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs remind us of the importance of fixing the basics first, as do concepts such as ‘space to grow’. What interested me most was the possibility of moving from closed to more open cities, that is cities that question themselves and strive to do better for all. It is surely not enough to preach the value of ‘a mix of uses’, when so many places are better described as ‘mixed-up’ with unresolved conflicts between, say, cars and pedestrians, or young and old. Perhaps we are in danger of ‘paralysis by analysis’ where we end up with ever more boxes to tick, without being able to get out of them. So, understanding what makes a great city tick must help
8 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 8 | | Autumn Autumn2016 2017
us in developing the leadership to face up to and overcome obstacles, such as lack of resources. City of Wellbeing Health and wellbeing are fast replacing ‘sustainability’ as a measure of what makes a good city. Hugh Barton AoU is well-placed to produce a radical guide to planning, having retired from his position at the University of the West of England, bridging the worlds of neighbourhood planning and place-making, and what creates healthier lifestyles. In his book City of Wellbeing he introduces a simple reality check under the economics of land and development, where plots have a lifecycle, shows how ‘players in the game’ interact to produce different types of urban form, and points out that, like transport ‘Good urban form is a necessary though not a sufficient condition for improvement’. This is a book that every urbanist should read if they want a highly readable synopsis of what is known, as well as a practical summary of how to apply the lessons, with some excellent diagrams and pictures. It calls for a different approach to planning education and an updated set of values, drawing on evidence from exemplars.
Interestingly, Barton first published a memorable diagram putting the human settlement in a global context back in 2006. This diagram looks remarkably like the ‘doughnut’ which has recently taken the world by storm, according to the author of Doughnut Economics. The book’s author, Kate Raworth, shows not only the power of a good diagram, but also that the economic values that drive our capitalist system are being seriously questioned. By starting with the “big picture”, rather than the numbers presented, everyone should see that we are on a journey to nowhere and on a precipice, to use two other analogies. Though acclaimed by the Guardian, I am not so convinced by her metaphor. To me the doughnut city is a city like Detroit with a hole in the middle where its heart (or the jam) should be, but of course she is right to reiterate the “limits to growth” and the importance of diagrams in understanding how things work.
Future Cities One urbanist who has managed to bridge architecture, development planning and transport is Camilla Ween AoU, and her concise book Future Cities provides a powerful set of stories of how to bring about or manage change in difficult circumstances. What is particularly good about this book is not only that it is very affordable, but also that the electronic version is full of web links that direct you to the source material for the many case studies. Ween states in the introduction: “This book sets out to explain the issues that will face rapidly growing cities in the next 20 to 30 years and how, building on sustainable practice already being introduced around the world, cities can and will grow and flourish”. With no
fewer than 100 ideas to choose from, as well as masterful summaries of all the key issues, if you were to read one book, this would be it. The Creative City Every urbanist will have read something of Jane Jacobs, but there is now a superb collection of her short works, under the title Vital Little Plans, which shows the breadth of her achievements. As the editors say, she sought a world of markets without capitalism and focussed on “the struggle of humans to forge new work from old in a society that favours established interests”. Unlike most academics, she spent her life learning from what she saw from walking around and then from
Total population change by metric regions, 2002 - 2012
This is a beautifully written and logical book, and it is great pity that economics does not receive more consideration in training planners and would-be urbanists. Large-scale restoration of damaged land could be used to recharge our failing local economies, and rebalance our increasingly unequal society. As it is the Treasury, not Communities and Local Government, that holds the main cards, urbanists need to rethink the relationship between town and country as Ebenezer Howard once did. Few others will dare to cross the disciplinary and professional barriers.
Projected population change by metro regions, 2015 - 2025
Total change in population (%)
There are no diagrams or pictures in Dieter Helm’s latest book Natural Capital: Valuing the Planet, but it is no less important, as he puts environment at the heart of the economy. Development planners complain that their masterplans are often disregarded when they come up against local objections, and political short-sightedness. Helm acutely argues for evaluating options in terms of their impact on assets or capital; what we inherit or get for free are particularly important. The UK’s coalition government aimed to leave the environment in a better state and the then chancellor George Osborne asked Helm to advise them on how it should be valued. His answer requires maintenance to be properly funded. The concept might also be used to consider how any losses to the greenbelts, for example, can adequately be compensated for.
Total change in population (%)
Editor’s introduction Making | AoU it inhappen Action 9
Jane Jacobs © Phil Stanziola
writing to explain why some cities grew while others languished. She was successful as a campaigner in stopping expressways being built across Manhattan and Toronto, but never won the full support of urbanists, like Lewis Mumford, who dismissed her as a housewife, or economists such as Edward Glaezer, who saw her as unrealistic. I think that was because she was as much a poet or philosopher, relying often on assertions based on anecdotes. She is quoted as saying “City growth patterns, in sum, are messy”, which is why she was loved by community activists, but dismissed by many professionals. So how do we inject creativity into cities that are failing? Impressed as I have been with the arguments for going to scale, as the physicist Geoffrey West does in his epic study, and for accelerating the rate of development in places with real growth potential, I am struck by the greater importance of valuing quality over quantity, and going for ‘great ideas, small projects’. So in answering the AoU’s challenge of how to make ‘it’ happen, I suggest we reflect on how quality (or complexity) can be fostered over time, and how to avoid what we really value being needlessly lost. In particular, this means analysing what leaders do in getting others to follow them, and also understanding what enables people to behave in more collaborative ways.
Collapse of British Power between the two world wars as the failure of business and government to face up to reality – a criticism that applies equally to the Brexiteers. “They continued to lack the inner restlessness of American and German businessmen and the pleasure of these nations in efficiency and growth”. That was first published in 1972, but writing in 2013, David Reynolds, a historian of the First World War, warns that “For two decades after 1945 the British lived, more or less contentedly, in the reflected glory of the Second World War”.
1. Charles Landry and Chris Murray, Psychology & The City: the hidden dimension, Comedia, 2017 2. Hugh Barton, City of Wellbeing: a radical guide to
So complacency and the tendency to look for simple short-term answers are the real enemies. A simple ABC of place-making leadership can be explained using case studies as Ambition, followed by Brokerage, but above all applied over time, through Continuity. The cities that have had the will to transform themselves, such as Freiburg or Rotterdam, have stuck at it, and continued to learn from the best. How tragic that the UK should be turning its back and disappearing into a black hole, when investing in transforming our cities could provide the most practical means to a better life for all. ‘Making it happen’ should be our rallying cry.
planning, Routledge, 2017 3. Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist, Random House, 2017 4, Camilla Ween, Future Cities: all that matters, Hodder and Stoughton, 2014 5. Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storring editors, Vital Little Plans: the short works of Jane Jacobs, Short Books Ltd, 2017 6. Geoffrey West, Scale: the universal laws of growth etc, Penguin, 2017 7. Corelli Barnett, The Collapse of British Power, Eyre Methuen 1972, paperback reprinted Alan Sutton, 1997
Dr Nicholas Falk AoU is executive director of The URBED Trust.
8. David Reynolds, The Long Shadow: the Great War and the Twentieth Century , Simon and Schuster, 2014
For those wanting to widen their leadership skills I suggest one of the many books dealing with the art of war. Correlli Barnett ably explains The 10 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 8 10 | | Autumn Autumn2016 2017
9. Nicholas Falk and Barry Munday, The ABC of Housing Growth and Infrastructure, The Housing Forum, 2014
Getting closer : AoU and INTA United in our ethos to promote and learn from good practice in urbanism, the Academy has been in discussion with INTA about areas of collaboration. Michele Sudarkis, secretary general of INTA, offers his thoughts on how we can work together.
INTA is a global membership association, established in 1976, which facilitates the sharing of knowledge, experience and tools to deliver sustainable integrated urban development. Its roots were in the European ‘new town’ movement (as the International New Town Association), with a strong belief in the importance of international exchange of experiences and know-how. INTA still strongly believes it is critical to have the involvement of all stakeholders in reshaping urban environments, but the focus on new towns specifically now sits within a separate dedicated organisation — INTI (International New Towns Institute), which has worked with the AoU on the Milton Keynes Symposium. Based in Paris, INTA acts as an expert advisory and intermediary between policymakers and urban practitioners, using advocacy, support and peer-topeer learning amongst many other tools. It works with its 3,000 members across sectors, disciplines and political horizons in over 60 countries across the world by providing informed, impartial and pragmatic advice. INTA has long had strong relationships with many Francophone and Asiatic countries, but more recently has developed an increasingly deep connection with several Hispanic countries, supported by dedicated members of staff. INTA has also just concluded a successful multi-country support initiative in parallel with UN HABITAT III, working with cities in Mexico, Peru,
Chile, Colombia, Taiwan, Canada, Ecuador, Morocco, Germany, Sweden. It is now developing a new global peerpartnering programme focused on the delivery of the adopted HABITAT III 2030 agenda and of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key strands of this programme will include design quality and sustainability of the built environment, smart delivery mechanisms, and building resilience to physical, economic and social shocks or transitions. INTA and the AoU have been in discussions for some time about developing a closer working relationship. Although both organisations operate within the general field of good practice in urbanism, they have quite different but complementary geographic and service strengths. Several members of the Academy have had close involvement with INTA for many years, via membership or representation in the boards of one or the other. This includes former Academy board member John Worthington MBE as well as Kyle Alexander, Christer Larsson from Malmö and Kerri Farnsworth, who was nominated to INTA’s board in 2016. In a world of increasing challenge in growing and maintaining memberships and financial and in-kind support, it therefore makes sense for the Academy to explore developing strategic relationships with partners such as INTA.
annual congress, partnering for representation at the 2018 World Urban Forum, and INTA becoming involved in the ‘European City of the Year’ award via both the assessment process and the dissemination of extensive knowledge and insight developed by the Academy over the past 11 years of the Awards. In addition, with their roots in international ‘new town’ movement, INTA can bring its best practice and lessons learned over the past 40 years to support the Academy’s new focus on new urban settlements, such as the garden cities. Michel Sudarskis is secretary general of the International Urban Development Association - INTA Michel participated in the Academy’s annual congress in Aarhus in September, and looks forward to meeting more members of the Academy.
Among many opportunities we are happy to discuss include reciprocal membership arrangements, a joint
Making it happen Editor’s | Getting introduction closer: |AoU AoU and in Action INTA 11
Going to scale: Fixing our broken housing market The government’s Housing White Paper provides a vital opportunity to engage with one of the biggest issues of our time, next to Brexit, which is how to double housing output and make our cities fairer and more sustainable. To respond to it, a group led by Jon Rowland AoU put together a volume of evidence, and the results have been turned into an illustrated report now published on The Academy of Urbanism website. Nicholas Falk AoU and Jon Rowland AoU report.
This report is based on discussions initiated by the AoU in response to the consultation on the UK government housing white paper. These were prompted by responses from Academicians, who now number almost 600. The report is illustrated with examples of good practice largely drawn from places assessed as part of the AoU’s awards, which include outstanding British exemplars, such as Newhall in Harlow, as well as European icons, such as Rieselfeld in Freiburg, Germany. We have also included some examples familiar to team members that are not so widely known, such as the Millennium Community in Telford and schemes such as Aspern Seestad in Vienna or the extensions to Montpellier in France, which has been shortlisted, and the Southern Fringe of Cambridge, which could well qualify for a future award. The fundamental conclusion is that there are many individual examples of good housing but the schemes are too small to meet national objectives. We therefore suggest 10 themes for ‘going to scale’, not just to help double housing output, but also to create many more great neighbourhoods where people want to live out of choice rather than necessity. This will not only meet government objectives, but will also secure investment that pays off for all over the long, as well as the short term. They could be turned into a new set of questions to ensure that future awards seek out and celebrate the best examples, which are often to be found in the suburbs or smaller towns as well as in the centres of great cities. 12 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 8 | | Autumn Autumn2016 2017
Altogether, 180 places have been assessed as part of the Academy’s Awards programme but relatively few of these involve significant amounts of new housing. Our hope, however, is that we can ‘go to scale’, and not just rejoice in a few exceptional schemes. While the aspirations in the white paper are laudable, the quality of housing in recent decades has been largely disappointing, despite a wealth of good advice. Publications and advice from CABE and other agencies, together with assessment systems such as Building for Life, mean that nobody should be in any doubt about what we want to achieve. But we still largely fall short of these standards, even when everybody involved has the best of intentions. We must tackle the roots of the problem, as our system currently mitigates against quality development. We should re-learn the lessons from the post-war new towns and development areas as well as from other countries that manage to do better. The British planning system is dysfunctional, the industry is dominated by a small number of housebuilders and land is overpriced. Quality and volume will remain elusive unless these issues are addressed. The discussions with Academicians suggest the following 10 messages to ‘fix our broken housing market’: 1. Develop in the right places The planning system has become technical and adversarial. Sites that get developed are those that are left
after all of the constraints have been applied. Indeed, the ‘viability test’ in the national policy planning framework rules out places where there is not yet a developer. The solution is to rediscover a positive approach to planning based on a strategic vision of the future shape of settlements that joins up new development with infrastructure. 2. Resource strategic planning We cannot plan effectively for new housing without a better mechanism for resolving where spatial growth should be encouraged or discouraged. The duty to co-operate is no substitute for a system that plans for the needs of a place regardless of administrative boundaries. Nor are occasional consultancy studies sufficient to fill the gaps. 3. Reduce land speculation We need a system similar to that in Germany and much of northern Europe so that the increase in value of land allocated for development is pegged. We also need to ensure that the value created by development is captured to fund local infrastructure, improve the quality of development, and secure better balanced neighbourhoods. 4. Diversify the market We need to open up the housebuilding market to a much broader range of players, including small-scale builders, housing associations, local councils and self-builders. This will create
greater variety and experimentation, increasing choice and reinvigorating the market. It should also encourage landowners to bring forward land that is poorly utilised at present, including those with a longer-term perspective. 5. Support master developers We will not achieve quality of large schemes without reinventing the role of the master developer, based in part on the model of the great estates that built much of central London and parts of our provincial cities. A master developer may be a private company or a development corporation whose role is to devise a masterplan and design guidance, assemble the land and provide infrastructure, and package sites for a range of smaller developers. 6. Reinstate a positive role for the public sector On large sites, there is a role for the public sector as a partner or even a lead in the master developer role. Councils should be empowered to build homes directly both for rent and for sale, which means being able to borrow long-term. They should use their planning, compulsary purchase order and borrowing powers to underwrite development, secure the public interest and ensure quality. 7. Raise design standards Many guides say all the right things but have no teeth. Instead, we have to put more time and effort into learning
Aerial Freiburg Rieselfeld © Thomas Maier
Going to scale 13
Aspern Seedstadt © Christian Jobst
from what does and does not work, and then applying it in demonstration projects. Quality design results from a clear process by which a masterplan is developed and codified so that its principles can be embedded in plot sales and linked to the land in perpetuity. There is also a role for design panels, staff training and study tours to raise the ambition of everyone involved.
10. Design for the future Streets of houses should last for centuries and so need to be planned with the future in mind. Like the classic Georgian house, new homes should be flexible, adaptable and extendable. Development briefs should set the parameters of future expansion and allow conversion to office or even retail space provided that there is no loss of amenity to neighbours.
8. Design collaboratively Moving forward One of the problems with new housing is that it is opposed by local residents so that development becomes very contested and ‘dumbed down’. We need to open up a new dialogue with community groups and regulatory bodies, and find creative ways of involving local people in the process of design. This will be helped with a clear planning policy so that discussions about the principles of a development are not confused with discussions about how it is designed. 9. Build faster Speed of construction, delivery rates and absorption rates are major constraints on housing delivery. Most sites only sell 50-100 units a year and there is no point speeding up construction until this is addressed. This will require a greater diversity of product and tenure to appeal to a market beyond the traditional new house buyer — including, of course, greater use of modern methods of construction such as off-site fabrication.
As there is no single factor that will make good the deficit, the UK has to be more ready, as in the housing white paper, to confront some unpleasant truths. No one profession holds the secret but, if urbanism means anything, it should be the capacity to cross professional and sectoral borders, as well as to understand the different motivations and constraints of the public, private and community or voluntary sectors. A good start was made in an event to mark the 50th anniversary of work starting on Milton Keynes, which among other things revealed the differences between the original consultants and the development corporation about how to create good places and reconcile town and country. A subsequent meeting that drew together experts from both government and the Academy to come up with principles for developing different kinds of housing sites found some surprising common ground. For example, four of the five
14 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
groups proposed using development corporations to supplement local authority and private sector capacity where large schemes are needed or appropriate. So, if we are to do better in putting principles such as the above into practice, we must learn from the mechanisms others have used to resolve conflicts and build to scale! This was written on behalf of the AoU’s housing group by Dr Nicholas Falk AoU, who is director of The URBED Trust, and Jon Rowland AoU, who is director of JRUD
If you rebuild it, they will come: Unlocking local creativity ‘doon the watter’ Jay Merrick tells the story of rescuing Dunoon’s Burgh Hall from demolition and how it will impact on the revival of this once successful seaside town.
On June 23rd 1874, readers of the Glasgow Herald would have noticed a news story beneath a less than dynamic heading: DUNOON BURGH BUILDINGS. It announced the opening of the Burgh Hall at the corner of Argyll Street and New Road in Dunoon, on the Cowal peninsula in the Firth of Clyde. It was, said the report, a “capacious building” designed in the Scots baronial style by the Glasgow architect, Robert Bryden. The considerable success of the town between the late 19th century and the 1950s was essentially a by-product of the original industrial might of Glasgow and its once massive shipbuilding and manufacturing workforces, for whom holiday breaks “doon the watter” were a crucial release from heavy, but relatively well-paid, toil. In 2008, the Burgh Hall stood empty, and in a serious state of disrepair – an apparently doomed relic of Dunoon’s past. Why? Because, by the 1970s, the shipbuilding industry had virtually collapsed, and European package tourism had robbed Dunoon and other small seaside towns on the so-called Costa del Clyde of most of their visitors. There was one major, but temporary, reprieve. The presence of the US Navy’s Polaris and Poseidon submarine refit base at nearby Holy Loch between 1962 and 1991 bolstered Dunoon’s prosperity. The 4,000 service personnel and their families almost doubled the local population and contributed $20m to the local economy; sailors bought tweed deerstalkers at Bell’s of Dunoon, and travelled to and from Holy Loch in one of the 130 local taxis. But when the Americans left, the local economy deflated, and has remained relatively strained since then.
Above: Strolling up Argyll Street from a stately steamer to the new Burgh Hall Below: Empty shops are all too common a sight in town
The resurrection and reinvention of the Burgh Hall over the last 10 years as a community arts centre has produced a focal-point in the town designed to attract visitors, unlock local creative energies, and stimulate the town’s economy. The story of the project, initiated a few weeks after the worldwide economic crash, began with a phone call received in June 2008 by the British architect, John McAslan, who grew up in Dunoon. The call was from his mother, Jean, who told him that a developer had bought the Burgh Hall and planned to knock it down to build flats on the site. She was outraged, and insisted: “You have to stop that happening.” McAslan’s international practice has delivered award winning adaptive re-use and modernisation projects involving historically significant buildings, such as King’s Cross Station
and the Roundhouse in London, and Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion. He knew the Burgh Hall was a wreck. But he also knew that arts-led projects in small, socio-economically deprived towns such as Margate and Bridlington, often triggered creative regenerations. He believed that the Burgh Hall could be an agent for new creative activities on the Cowal peninsula
Going to scale Editor’s| introduction If you rebuild |it,AoU theyin will Action come 15 15
The transformed Dunoon Burgh Hall is complete with a bright and welcoming café as well as spacious workshops for a variety of bespoke learning programmes - an innovative, community-led cultural and social asset for the town and the region.
and, in September 2008, he met an enthusiastic local pro-Burgh Hall group led by the ebullient local agitator, Dave McEwan Hill, and the locally-based novelist and historian Sir Charles Maclean. “I thought that if the local constituency had two such different characters, wonderful in equal measure, in favour of saving the hall, then the project could surely work,” McAslan explains. “I managed to convince the potential developer of the Burgh Hall site to sell it to me for £1.” “I know from experience that, for cultural projects to succeed, there are only two key ingredients needed to ensure success – clear evidence that the culture on offer has an audience, and that the building has local resonance, an embedded sense of place. With these ingredients in place, funding will follow a good idea. So, from the outset, there was clear evidence that the town relished the idea of the Burgh Hall coming back into cultural use, after 25 years of closure, and that the building itself was held in particular affection.” The imperative was to get the building back in temporary use by making it wind- and water-tight. An open day was the project’s starting-gun, attracting 3,500 local people – three-quarters of Dunoon’s population – and generating a permanent floating group of about 40 volunteers, originally led by Colin Macpherson, a local hotelier. Their efforts have been central to creating the sense of ‘local ownership’ of the Burgh Hall, and the activities it has generated.
One woman who attended the open day told McAslan she had been conceived at a dance at the Hall. “That did it for me,” he recalls. “She, and many others that day, made it clear that the Burgh Hall still meant so much to people. I felt sure support would grow, money would follow, and we could transform the building, albeit over time.”
how soon we would have a warm, dry building,” recalls Burgh Hall manager, Ann Campbell. “We didn’t have a budget. We didn’t have a secure building. But straight away, people were saying: Oh, I know how we can use this. The message to people in Dunoon, and all the volunteers, was – let’s make things happen, but don’t get too excited too soon.”
2012 was a crucial year for the project. The John McAslan Family Trust, which had funded the early start-up activities, transferred the ownership of the Burgh Hall to the newly established charitable Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust (DBHT), which developed a business plan; McAslan remained centrally involved.
The key, according to McAslan, was “getting the building back in use as quickly as possible to build support, and to gain visibility and momentum”.
Even before then, the Burgh Hall’s core team had developed a programme of arts events – local and imported – held at the temporarily repaired hall from 2010. Among the ‘headline’ events were a visit by the Rambert Dance Company, the now annual Dunoon Film Festival, and an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs from the £100m ARTIST ROOMS collections established by one of Britain’s greatest modern art dealers, Anthony d’Offay. All this in a town with a population of fewer than 8,000 people – though with an impressive roll-call of eminent sons and daughters; among them, the Labour Party leader, John Smith, the former NATO Secretary General, Lord George Robertson, the Oxford professor of sociology, Doreen McBarnet, and the Sinologist, Prof Ian Gow. “In the very early days of the Burgh Hall project, it was definitely a challenge to manage public expectation about
16 Here Here& &Now Now || AoU AoUJournal JournalNo. No.10 8 || Autumn Autumn 2016 2017
The first event, a Hogmanay Hootenanny at the Burgh Hall in 201011, was organised by Liz Miller. There were 100 people and three bands in the main hall, school furniture, a kitchen that wasn’t a kitchen, a makeshift bar. We made it up as we went along – a case of, if we stick everything together, they will come.” To date, the Burgh Hall team, led by Ann Campbell and arts programmer, Jenny Hunter, has raised more than £3m to fund the future administration, programming, and maintenance of the Hall. These demonstrations of the Burgh Hall Trust’s energy, forward-planning, and cultural ambition triggered additional project funding from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland’s Large Capital funding programme, Historic Scotland, the Monument Trust, Highlands & Island Enterprise, and the McAslan Family Trust. The Glasgow architects, Page\Park, were appointed to design and deliver the transformed hall. The exterior
of the building, in the Scots Baronial style, is faced with blocks of rough grey schist and smooth sandstone, giving the misleading impression that it was impressively solid. It wasn’t. A great deal of remedial work was necessary: replacement of loose or defective roof slates and leading; re-pointing; removal of patches of defective stonework; re-bedding loose or cracked stonework; skilled repairs of carved stone; renovation or replacement of cast iron gutters and downpipes; and the renovation and resetting of doors and windows. The biggest challenge was the roof. There were cost restraints, and so it was repaired and strengthened – the original trusses had moved or were split – rather than replaced. Interventions using lightweight steel elements solved these problems. There were other issues: serious rising damp in parts of the interior; plaster falling off walls because it hadn’t been properly tied in originally; the heating system had to be modernised; and the interior’s key historic features required detailed renovation.
kind of pulling-power based on the increasing public appetite for art. “All communities, urban or rural, have untapped cultural potentials, and untapped individual visions and talents,” says McAslan. “I hope the Burgh Hall demonstrates this. Look what’s happened to Margate after the arrival of the Turner Contemporary gallery – a once dead-end town became hip and commercially activated in a matter of four or five years. And look at how the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness has reset the cultural content of a town of little more than 2,000 people. Ultimately, it’s a question of finding the right site and the right project at the right moment – and then unlocking the creative aspirations of local people.” Jay Merrick is an architectural critic. This is an extract from Saving the Hall, by Jay Merrick, to be published on 23 November 2017. From January 2018, Saving the Hall, will be available in selected bookshops and can also be ordered for £28 (including postage in the UK) using the following: dunoonburghhall.org.uk or email@example.com.
These interventions have brought the Main Hall back into full use, created an elegant new stepped and ramped granite approach in Argyll Street, and reconfigured the ground floor to make clarified gallery and back-of-house spaces, and a much more welcoming reception area. Additions to the building include a glazed external extension of the cafe area, with a landscaped garden.
The restored Main Hall provides a wonderfully adaptable space for concerts, theatre and a variety of events.
The official reopening of Dunoon Burgh Hall by first minister Nicola Sturgeon in late June was preceded by its most ambitious art event to date – an exhibition of the work of Andy Warhol drawn from the ARTIST ROOMS resource. The forward programme includes exhibitions, a film festival, the fifth Dunoon Film Festival, numerous musical events, talks, theatre and associated activities. Dunoon in the 21st century is overlaid with the ghost of a town which, in 1885, possessed two banks, 21 insurance agencies, 10 hotels, a gas company, two bowling greens, three weekly papers, the West of Scotland Convalescent Sea-side Homes (complete with Romanesque hydropathic spa) and the lavishly appointed second homes of some of Scotland’s most successful people. The revived Burgh Hall has the potential to generate a very different
Indoor curling. Sandbank Village Hall
you rebuild it,| they come 17 Editor’sIfintroduction AoUwill in Action
URBAN Emergence Manifesto Like all good manifestos, this one was written on a napkin in a basement bar that happened to be in Saint Petersburg. It was borne of a frustration with the pomposity and worthiness of most urban manifestos. Why is it that the most exciting manifestos tend to be the ones that spout the least acceptable views? (See the Futurists for example). We wanted to go beyond the usual platitudes to create a set of simple ideas for capturing the complexity of cities as living organisms that evolve and thrive on diversity and interconnectedness. So, after a few beers, what might a radical urbanist manifesto look like...
1. Satisfaction is not the goal. Comfort is overrated. Cities should act as catalysts for new ideas, creative change, and individual and collective evolution. 2. To be a citizen of a city transforms both you and the city. It confers rights and responsibilities, but also huge opportunity. 3. Cities are living organisms, complex emergent systems capable of selforganising, adapting and developing. Their power is naturally arising, but it needs to be nurtured by wise governance. 4. A city evolves on three planes: the inner growth of every person, the interaction between individuals and between generations, and between humans and their environment. 5. The right to the city is a revolutionary act. Cities are playgrounds for societal development and new governance
initiatives. New ideas almost always emerge in cities. 6. Streets and other public spaces are the organising framework for every city stimulating connections and cocreation. 7. A city without trust is a walking cadaver heading for a graveyard — polis turned necropolis. 8. The open city attracts people who want to better themselves. The cities that do this best will win the future. 9. Cities thrive on change - 10 per cent of the city’s fabric should be destroyed each year to allow room for creative construction and meaningful evolution. 10. A city is an infrastructure for love. Check if you and your city are alive and well. Join the Evolution!
On behalf of speakers and participants at The International Spatial Development Forum, held in Saint Petersburg on September 26–27, 2016, and the movement for conscious evolution of cities: 1. David Rudlin, director, URBED (Urbanism, Environment, Design) and The Academy for Urbanism, Manchester, UK 2. Leo Hollis, urbanist and author of Cities are Good for You, London, UK 3. Lev Gordon, co-founder of Association for City Development and National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Izhevsk, Russia 4. Alexandra Yarlykova, member of National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Moscow, Russia 5. Stefano Serafini, research director and secretary general, International Society of Biourbanism, managing editor, Journal of Biourbanism, Rome, Italy 6. Nikolai Novichkov, advisor to the Minister of Culture of Russia, member of the Expert Council to the Government of Russia, co-founder of National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Moscow, Russia 7. Sergei Zhuravlev, project manager, Center for Urban Research, SKOLKOVO School of Management, co-founder of National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Moscow, Russia 8. Maxim Arzumanian, managing director, SMART ARCHITECTS, co-founder of National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Saint Petersburg, Russia 9. Pavel Luksha, member of the Expert Council of Agency of Strategic Initiatives, co-founder of Global Education Futures and National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Moscow, Russia 10. Andrei Sharonov, rector of Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, member of the Expert Council to the Government of Russia, co-founder of National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Moscow, Russia 11. Valeria Terentieva, managing director, WORK LINE, cofounder of National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Moscow, Russia 12. Gleb Vitkov, head of Urban Project Lab at Higher School of Urbanism of Higher School of Economics, managing director, “New Earth”, co-founder of National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Moscow, Russia 13. Michail Klimovski, co-founder of The International Spatial Development Forum, director of development at The Institute of Design and Urbanism, ITMO University, Saint Petersburg, Russia 14. Alexander Starkov, head of organising committee of The Forum of Living Cities, co-founder of Art-Center Griffon, Izhevsk, Russia 15. Cees Donkers, founder of QASE Urban Studio (Quality in Architecture, Society and Education), co-founder of City Embassy European Network of Cities and National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Eindhoven, The Netherlands 16. Andrei Asadov, vice president, Union of Architects of Russia, director of Asadov Architectural Bureau, member of Moscow Civic Chamber, co-founder of National Community of Practice “Living Cities”, Moscow, Russia
18 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
The first phase of URBEDâ€™s masterplan for Blueprint in Nottingham with housing by Marsh Grochowski Architects has been completed. We are now working on further phases.
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Did the post-war planners kill our cities? In Focus Perhaps the biggest mistake that planners, architects, and would-be urbanists made in the immediate post-war era was to think that people were like them. Often, it would seem, the ‘great’ interventions in urban planning were designed for the designers, albeit with good intentions. Won’t everyone want to believe in the new dream? The second biggest mistake was to forget that if you want to find a way of circumventing a plan, all you have to do is to rely on people. Much has been discussed about the failures of post-war planning over the years. In this In Focus, we ask whether planners got things entirely wrong. Noël James (p24) makes a very good point when she says that without the social infrastructure, the physical, however innovative, becomes and will remain sterile, soulless, and disconnected. This suggests an organic growth or inside out rather than something ‘planned’ outside in. The term master planning does have a ring that suggests ‘hand of the Almighty’ about it. David Green AoU (p40) argues that the planning of cities should be organised around the patterns and structures of streets and routes, the physical framework. Patterns that are often created by human behaviour. Much of the criticism of the post-war planning has been reserved for the tower block as social housing. You can imagine residents dumped in them asking “Why me?” Tim White and Mel Nowicki (p37) trace the story of high-rise housing in London and note that if the mayor is to ensure that high-rises of the future promote housing equality, he must champion a housebuilding agenda for all Londoners. This would go for anywhere. But this isn’t just about the past, it’s about the future too. Milton Keynes, the venue for the Academy’s summer conference, provides an example to explore what can be learned. As Biljana Savic AoU (p30) who has found redemption in MK notes there are lessons that Milton Keynes can teach us about 21st century urbanism. Staying with the theme of what can we learn, Will Cousins AoU (p28) reviews the 50-year-old Milton Keynes Development Corporation’s City Structures report that has just been republished. However, as with much of the rest of life the future, it seems, lies in part with smart technologies and Judith Sykes (p21), one of the speakers at the Academy’s conference in Milton Keynes, considers the emergence of smart technology and its use in the management of urban places. Nevertheless, urban places are human places and technologies smart or otherwise, should be there to support human activity, just as indeed should the physical infrastructure. 20 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
In conversation with... Judith Sykes, Useful Simple Trust Engineering a vision for new towns Judith Sykes spoke at the Academy’s conference in Milton Keynes in June this year on the emergence of smart technology and its use in the management of urban places. Her perspective as a civil engineer has been broadened through a wide range of projects, planned and implemented, in the UK and overseas. Steven Bee AoU took the opportunity, on behalf of Here & Now, to meet Judith in her office in Shad Thames and explore some of the issues and ideas raised in her presentation.
Steven Bee AoU (SB): Can you tell me a little about the Useful Simple Trust (UST) and your role here? Judith Sykes (JS): The Trust was established in 2008 as an employee-owned group of companies working across the built environment in engineering, communications, architecture and sustainability. I joined in 2003 and am a director of Expedition Engineering and Useful Projects – preparing and implementing sustainable infrastructure strategies for diverse clients. I had previously worked in water supply engineering, mainly in the Middle East, but also played key roles on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Heathrow Terminal 5. Since joining the Trust I have been involved in the detailed planning and implementation of designs for a number of regeneration and urban development projects in the UK and overseas including developing the water strategy for the London Olympics. This led to work on the 2014 Brazil World Cup and 2016 Rio Olympics. The London Olympics was great experience because the sustainability brief was clear from the start and followed through. Rio was interesting because they began by trying to copy what London had done, in terms of specific solutions, rather than identify what their priorities should be, based on an understanding of cultural and climatic context. We helped them wind back and refocus on the resilience of the new infrastructure they were installing. The lack of culture of planning in Brazil made it difficult to embed sustainability measures, especially through design and build contracts. Of course, it is terribly sad, that since the games, many of those contractors have been implicated in corruption charges.
Judith Sykes © Peter Clarkson
SB: You were asked to join the commission established to guide the Milton Keynes MK2050 Vision. How did that come about? JS: I had been invited to participate in the UKTI Innovate UK Future Cities Mission to the United States where I met Chris Murray, director of Core Cities. We did some joint projects including a conference on the role of central and local government in promoting technological solutions to urban problems. He suggested to Geoff Snelson, Snelson, director of strategy and futures at the council, that I that I help the MK Commission develop the infrastructure aspects of the MK50 Vision. Like any project it is important to suspend judgment in order to understand the dynamics of the place from the inside out, and especially so in the case of MK which perhaps had a very particular external reputation. In conversation with... Judith Sykes, Useful Simple Trust 21
Aerial view of Milton Keynes © Destination Milton Keynes
Wetland Bowl at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park © London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority
The early stages of the commission were about gaining insight into how the city works, informed by engagement with local communities and a series of research papers. It is clear that MK is a city much loved by those that live there. SB: Milton Keynes is now central to the National Infrastructure Commission’s developmendevelopment corridor between Oxford and Cambridge. It has also become the focus through the Transport Systems Catapult of smart transport innovation. What impact are these having? JS: Milton Keynes certainly has space and therefore capacity for growth. One of the key concerns highlighted in the commission was an over reliance on the logistics industry and a need to upskill to ensure future prosperity of MK’s citizens. At the moment the range of skills is not sufficient to attract new investment on a massive scale, but its closer association with the knowledge economies of the other two cities should add impetus to local efforts. The proposed MK Innovation University will be an important attractor in this regard. Future investors will also be attracted by a high quality environment and cultural offering, and it is important that these are also enhanced. The lower property prices compared to its neighbouring cities and London will certainly help. A wider range of tenure types would increase its attractiveness to younger people moving in. The National Infrastructure Commission is helping to promote long term infrastructure planning, and the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor would be a good demonstration project. As for becoming a ‘smart city’, we have to be careful how we use the term. Rather like ‘sustainability’, it’s becoming a catch-all and a cliché. For me, smart initiatives must focus on individual and community health. New transport innovations are only a means to this end and walking and cycling should always be 22 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
encouraged. Higher density and closer proximity of amenities will encourage and enable human-powered, and therefore free as well as healthy, journeys. SB: You talked at our Milton Keynes conference of the shortcomings of new transport technology in its infancy – autonomous vehicles, the Hyperloop, Maglev trains. What part do you see these playing in the foreseeable future? JS: There is certainly a tendency among inventors and promoters to be seduced by technological possibilities. Elon Musk is one of the few in this field who recognises the importance of governance structures to protect us from the unintended consequences of rapid technological advances. On the US Mission with the UKTI, we received presentations from organisations like IBM and Cisco on the packages they were trying to sell to local government in the States. These weren’t being taken up because they didn’t match the needs perceived by local agencies. So technology must be appropriately orientated to city needs. SB: You mentioned in your presentation the challenge of maintaining local distinctiveness as cities adopt smart practices. How best do you think this should be achieved? JS: It is certainly the case that achieving higher density through high-rise development can erode the distinctiveness of older cities. I gave the example of Songdo in South Korea but there are plenty of others. High-rise is not imperative, and there are plenty of examples in Europe of higher density achieved through intensive low- and mid-rise building. Development that responds to location, topography and climate to ensure adequate daylight and sunlight, appropriate drainage and efficient heating and cooling, will tend to reflect historic patterns and forms of development. We’re working with Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation to build such considerations into its high-
Engagement programme on the Olympic Park © Thomas Matthews
density plan. Some restriction on height and density may be appropriate, but planning restrictions can be just as detrimental to local distinctiveness, unless local planning teams are well resourced and experienced. The way in which individuals and communities engage with technology will affect local character. We can protect distinctiveness by continually evaluating the way in which new facilities are used. Technology can actually help us visualise the impact of future patterns of activity and get feedback from communities. This will help us create places that suit the culture and environment within which they will sit. The engagement programme on the Olympic Park adopted this approach and I think the results are looking very good. Smart technology also should not just be about clinical efficiency. I am also involved in a European project looking at how technology can enhance our experience of the city working with Montpellier, Barcelona, and Genoa. Bristol also has some good examples of linking technology and cultural development through things like the Playable City. SB: You expressed concerns about the way in which HS2 will connect with existing movement networks, with future links between connecting stations in central Birmingham as an example. How do you think this has arisen? JS: Investment in infrastructure usually proves more successful when built on public consensus. The London Olympics proved that. The communications team for the London Olympics was very good at telling the stories about the place and what was happening on the project as it was delivered. These stimulated the public’s interest in the amazing structures and the infrastructure that would connect them. Last year’s Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) State of the Nation report assessed the opportunities associated with the devolution of powers to local authorities. One of our conclusions was that emerging place-based solutions to upgrading
infrastructure offer a better chance for successful integration with and support from communities. The top-down approach to HS2 in those early days placed emphasis on high-speed city to city connections rather than maximising local benefits by looking beyond the redline of station development. It’s too easy to blame transport engineers for being too focused, they need to be given the right brief. Lack of broad consensus on the outcomes also makes infrastructure more susceptible to Treasury cost-cutting. We are seeing a shift in focus on what happens around HS2 interchanges, but there are some missed opportunities. SB: Finally, and going back to your perspective on Milton Keynes at 50, how well do you think the city is equipped, physically and culturally, for future growth and adaptation? JS: This will depend to a large extent on building a political consensus that has widespread popular support. The MK50 Commission’s recommendations gained unanimous cross-party approval within the council, and was well supported by MK residents. I made the point earlier that momentum has to be maintained to see projects through. I’m pleased to see that five out of the six projects we suggested are being actively pursued. This may be a result of favourable timing in the local and national context. If there are obstacles to further growth and intensification they are likely to be cultural rather than physical. The Milton Keynes low-density lifestyle is well-embedded, and it will take some active local reimagining for the community to accept a more intensive land use and a shift in the way people travel around the city. The iconic Milton Keynes grid plan is a huge asset in this regard and will be able to accommodate change more than others within the opportunity corridor. Steven Bee AoU is a director of The Academy of Urbanism
In conversation with... Judith Sykes, Useful Simple Trust 23
The social masterplan The physical and personal elements of cities are difficult to predict let alone design for. Yet this combination is what marks Milton Keynes out as different to many of its contemporaries â€“ the passion behind a vision which put social structures on equal billing with the physical. Dr NoĂŤl James AoU, director of the Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre, explains the effect this had on our most famous new town.
24 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
Animals we are, and by nature we are designed to design: habitats to make the most of inclement weather; intricate cellular housing, innovative architectural conceit. I could be talking about Solar World; I could be talking about Energy World, I could be talking about the early days of Milton Keynes. But I am not. I am talking about beavers; leafcutter ants; wasps. I am talking about nature by design and design by nature. And in so doing I am talking about masterplanning on a grand and frightening scale, and I am also talking about its implicit counterpart – complex and well-developed natural social structure, without which these grand designs of nature could not serve their makers.
that was planned as carefully as the initial beauty of Netherfield emerging from a geoscape reminiscent of the prairie and its sky (for which see some of John Donat’s startling early images). A sense of cohesion and ownership that spread throughout the new town from day one. It was always there. It was always intended to be there. But now let’s return to the physical infrastructure; let’s return to the grid. The city of roundabouts. 70 miles an hour. Grid roads. Horizontal and vertical axes, so you never get lost. H4, V7. You never need to know the street name to get where you’re going. But you do know the street name, anyway. You know Your Town like the back of your hand. You know it like a map, like a plan.
And so, actually, I am talking about Milton Keynes. The very early days when the social infrastructure was seen, rightfully, to be as important as the physical. Without which, the physical, however innovative, would become and remain sterile, soulless, and disconnected. Isolation. To a degree, something the intervening years between the disbandment of the Development Corporation and the more recent development of the Eastern and Western Expansion Areas have shown in private developments that did not consider that housing needs to be for people, not plans, and that people need emotional infrastructure as much as they need grid roads that get from A to B in the shortest space of time. But this think piece is not criticism of Milton Keynes – far from it – it is a paean to those early masters of forethought in both the physical and the personal. 50 years ago: The new city must be a place for people. We must try to offer them an environment as conducive as possible to good health, happiness, stimulation and satisfaction during their youth and working lives and contentment and care in their old age (Lord Campbell, Milton Keynes Development Corporation, 1967).
Fred Roche, general Manager MKDC explains the grid system on film © BFI
The grid roads are a vital and integral part of the overall infrastructure. They are built into the geomorphology; the roads follow the gentle undulations of the landscape and are sympathetic to its shape. Estates old and new nestle within them. And these grid roads are vital also to the social infrastructure. Then, they grew communities. Now, in many cases, they keep them apart.
49 years ago: At the earliest stage of its task to prepare the proposals of the new city, the Corporation established its intentions to consider the social aspects of the [Master] Plan as fully as the physical (The Plan for Milton Keynes, 1970). Speak to any of the pioneers from those first decades of Milton Keynes and you will find people who believe passionately in the ethos, the community, and the vision of the town they chose as their own.
Those 1km square grids were intended to provide many centres within the town – they would contain houses, a pub, a community house, a school, shops, employment, facilities, leisure. They would house communities. And all over the town this network of communities would make up the cohesive whole, as important to identity and well-being as a place made well. Indeed, a series of discrete communities that made a place.
The passion comes from many things: a shared experience; the wonder of having one’s own home, garden, space; being part of a new metropolis rising from the (agricultural) ground, and the time literally spent living on a building site; and the sense of fostered and developed community – a sense of social cohesion
This image of early central Milton Keynes is the masterplan made life – its sparsity, its promise, its newness, its potential – this drew people – this excited people, this was a chance to build one’s life again from scratch. This was the psychological made actual; the hopes and dreams made real.
The social masterplan 25
Central Milton Keynes © Living Archive
People moved to Milton Keynes in the early 70s because they needed a place. They left families and networks behind them and started afresh, anew, and away from everything they knew. But they were not alone. The Development Corporation had not only the foresight to design a town made up of urban villages but also to provide community workers, arrivals visitors and a support network that made people welcome and turned a house into a home and a town into the pride of the people. In fact, the plan outlined that efforts would be ‘directed onwards encouraging residents to the city to create their own community life and ... requires that opportunities to do so are brought to the notice of the residents.’ And so what? Isn’t this obvious? Shouldn’t all town planning incorporate such vision? Yes; it should. But it doesn’t. And in the intervening years without the drive of this vision the grid squares have to some degree instead created ghettos and isolation and social deprivation and decayed estates where once there was excellence and enthusiasm. And so what? Now we realise that this blueprint from the past, not without its mistakes, was in fact a vision of social and physical excellence – truly a vision of utopia, a type of almost-garden city ethos that we have forgotten and now are trying desperately, without the necessary resources, to remember. The recent House of Commons briefing paper 06867 (July 2017), ‘Garden Cities, Towns and Villages’ posits in some part that a return to garden city-type planning ‘remains an attractive option to meet this [housing] shortfall,’ and while it mentions briefly that some social infrastructure should be in place there is rather more focus on the skepticism of organisations such as CPRE that ‘without a definition of what constitutes a garden city, town, or village we will have to accept them as “anonymous, soulless, land-hungry housing estates.”’ (Briefing Paper p. 18, n. 56) 26 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
But why accept this? Why not learn the lessons of the past – and not just the poor ones, but the rich ones. Return to the new town drawing board and define what makes a community. There is no shame in returning to what worked in the past. Not everything we have left behind us was a mistake. It is time to remember – the tariff now levied on developers certainly has been shown to make a difference in the expansion areas where community mobilisers are once again at work – but it may not be enough. Let us keep asking the question before we again forget – if it is in our nature to design, if, as animals, we design to survive, then why, repeatedly, do we forget the human element within our design? Why do we not include the social masterplan as an equal and integral component of the physical? Houses should be for people, and it is people who make our towns. And if we forget to plan for that then we plan instead for dystopia. Haven’t we had enough of that? Dr Nöel James AoU is director and CEO of the Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre
At JTP, we approach all our projects through a process of understanding, engaging, and creating, which together we call â€˜Collaborative Placemakingâ€™. This means putting people at the heart of the creative process, unearthing the real needs of a community, empowering stakeholders and building consensus. Together we build a vision, which leads to places that are vibrant, valued and sustainable from the outset.
Structured learning Learning from experience underpinned the development of Milton Keynes. As the city looks forward another 50 years, David Lock Associates have re-published Milton Keynes Development Corporation’s City Structures report both to share the insights that were regarded as important during the formative years of Milton Keynes and to continue the good practice of critical review. Will Cousins AoU, of David Lock Associates and previously the Milton Keynes Development Corporation looks at the report then and for the future.
The 50th anniversary of the founding of Milton Keynes is a year of celebration and it is also a time to review and reflect on what lies behind the undoubted achievements of the first 50 years. Review is a natural part of the process of city building; understanding breeds respect and it helps those who are responsible for decisions that will affect the future of the city justify their decisions and actions. The original master plan for Milton Keynes sought to allow: ‘‘the greatest possible scope for freedom and change as it is built ... [It] leaves the future relatively open … [It] will be necessary for the thinking and planning process to be continued throughout the period of building … The Plan provides this freedom, but it can only be exploited if systematic monitoring and evaluation are undertaken and plans and programmes are correspondingly reviewed, developed and changed…’’ (The Plan for Milton Keynes 1970) In light of this commitment to learn from experience, in the late 1970s, the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC) commissioned its urban design unit, headed by Stroud Watson, to carry out an internal review of how the city was being planned and designed. It was by then some 10 years into its implementation programme and at a pivotal point in its evolution. This review instigated, in effect, Milton Keynes’ first renaissance. Although it did not cause even a missed beat in the inexorable pursuit of building the new, it set the growth plans and the city in a completely new direction. It was, with conscious purpose, an opportunity to examine what had been achieved so far and how the Development Corporation could best equip itself to address the opportunities and challenges of a changing political and economic landscape, in what became known as the ‘Thatcher Years’; MK positioned itself to respond to the free market economy and the explosion in private house building that was to follow. 28 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
This changing landscape and political emphasis led to one of the six goals of the Master Plan published in 1970 ‘1 Opportunity and freedom of choice’ being taken up by the MKDC design team, with urgency and energy. Unconstrained and limited only by their creativity and imagination, the designers of the early years of MK set about populating the city grid with contemporary ideas for living, from modernist patterns on orthogonal grids embracing fashionable Scandinavian settlement models to organic settlement in the English village tradition. The masterplanned housing projects realised in MK during the 1970s and 1980s are now widely acknowledged as some of the most influential examples of modern domestic architecture and planned communities. Clearly experimentation permeated the work of MKDC’s design team across planning, architecture, landscape and infrastructure design. The range of design approaches the team adopted and applied across the city plan is striking. As the 20th century was coming to a close, the Development Corporation’s designers and planners were drawing on lessons learned from previous ‘grand projects’ in public sector housing as well as the traditions of the garden cities movement, and having to adapt to a growing interest and reliance on the private sector housebuilder. While this contributed to a rich and varied offer, within which new residents could make their home, there was a sense that some of the original goals of the master plan and City Structures report were not being met. The City Structures report was prepared at a time when the image and identity of Milton Keynes were fiercely protected and any suggestion of criticism of the achievements, no matter how well intentioned, was naturally going to be resisted by the executive. Many copies were subsequently shredded because the report criticised earlier approaches to the design and development of some of the first generation of
© MKDC and the Urban Design Unit
grid square master plans. But the authors of the report, and those who assisted in its preparation continued to work to expand the city, and carried on pursuing the application of the principles introduced by the review.
We can continue to learn from our experience so far in building Milton Keynes. As Lord Campbell, the first chairman of the Development Corporation, said in his foreword to the plan for Milton Keynes:
In 2017, almost 40 years on from the publication of the City Structures Report it’s worth taking a trip to Great Holm to see how the principles have matured. The main local routes support bus and cycle journeys, the community and commercial developments have flourished and the landscape has, of course, matured. When asked, residents are not slow in coming forward with positive comments on where they live. These lessons need to be gathered and shared and incorporated into the next round of planning as Milton Keynes prepares for the next 50 years.
‘‘The Plan is a beginning… Our intention is that the Plan shall lay the foundations upon which an organic process of development will grow and become a living reality as the people who come after us plan and build for the future.’’ Will Cousins is a partner at David Lock Associates. He worked at Milton Keynes Development Corporation from 1978-96 If you would like a copy of the reprinted City Structure report please email CityStructure@davidlock.com. Postage may apply depending on your location.
The MK Futures 2050 report, published in 2016, shows signs of the spark and energy that infected the former Development Corporation’s thinking and activity. There is talk of six ‘grand projects’ to carry the city forward and a renaissance in Central Milton Keynes. How do we articulate what has and hasn’t worked in Milton Keynes in such a way that it is helpful to those who have the daunting but exciting challenge to write the next chapter? Milton Keynes needs a critical friend more than ever; we hang on to the past ever more tightly as we fear the future.
* Milton Keynes Master Plan The Goals of the Plan 1. Opportunity & Freedom of Choice 2. Easy Movement & Access 3. Balance & Variety 4. Creating an attractive city 5. Public awareness and participation 6. Efficient and imaginative use of resources
The City Structures report is evidence that with confident and articulate critical review, the city has the self-confidence to adapt and change and more importantly equip itself for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Structured learning 29
10 lessons from MK a personal view Milton Keynes, arguably the UK’s most successful new town has much to teach us about creating new places. Former sceptic Biljana Savic AoU explains what a place created 50 years ago can teach us about 21st century urbanism.
I have to admit that, for a long time, I’ve been a Milton Keynes sceptic – the low density, semi-rural feel of the city, its fast traffic and roundabouts galore, coupled with the almost universal absence of people from its public spaces never appealed to me. This is the only place outside the US where I was stopped by a local who saw me walking down the street in the city centre and, concerned for my safety, offered me a lift to the hotel that was no more than five minutes’ walk away. Unlike most of the other cities I visited, I could not find my way around MK without constantly consulting street signs, even though on paper the city plan looked stupendously simple. The urbanism norms found in other UK cities do not apply here. But the undeniable truth is that MK is the biggest and most successful UK new town, that the people who live there like it and that it continues to thrive in economic and social terms, even during the prolonged recession and with budget squeezes all around. It is a place people choose to move to, a place where an admirable array of international and national organisations and businesses have their headquarters, and where two universities continue to grow, even though Oxford, Cambridge and London are very close. Over the last decade or so I’ve had the chance to work with MK-based urbanists, from city officials to local communities, many of whom involved in its formation and long-term residents. More recently I’ve learnt more about it while developing the programme for The Academy of Urbanism’s symposium which took place in June this year as part of the first MK CityFest, marking the city’s 50th anniversary and exploring the urbanism of its past, present and future. Listening to the presentations and walking around MK during the CityFest, I started appreciating not just what has been achieved, but more importantly what we can learn 30 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
from its successes and failures. Here are my 10 lessons from MK for all urbanists, especially those involved in creating new places. All views expressed here are strictly my own. 1. Have at least one great idea to start with – to sell the story, to inspire and attract pioneers In MK the initial ideas of a two-layered urban grid, providing equal and easy access to all parts of the city, combined with a system of all pervasive green spaces, as well as largely low density residential neighbourhoods, each with access to a range of community facilities, appealed to those seeking a different lifestyle and a different kind of place. Good job opportunities locally and connections to the wider job market, a variety of neighbourhood and accommodation types, styles and affordability levels attracted a diverse range of new settlers – from affluent, highly skilled workers to those on modest or no income; from fledgling businesses to large international ones. They came and they largely stayed. 2. But make sure that great ideas do not get lost in the process – small changes often have massive unintended consequences During the various design and implementation stages, some of the MK masterplan’s key elements were ignored or interpreted in ways that were not originally intended – the signalised cross junctions of the grid roads became roundabouts, resulting in higher speed of traffic throughout the city; the continuity of the secondary, local road network was lost in places; local ‘activity centres’ moved away from the intersections of local and main grid roads to the interior of grid squares; the green areas separating residential neighbourhoods from grid roads got bigger. The idea
4. It’s the grid, stupid – flexible, connected and openended urban structure is key to a good place
of equal access for all ended up being the reality of easy access for cars only. The green buffers along grid roads ended up dividing neighbourhoods and making cycling and walking routes unsafe. The neighbourhood centres that were supposed to be places of interaction and transaction turned into localised service hubs that declined over time. The city has had to live with these consequences of design decisions ever since.
The MK’s relatively simple, open-ended primary grid allowed future city extensions and experimentation within grid squares. Indeed, urban solutions of different ages and developments of different architectural styles can be found in MK, but the primary grid provides an overarching framework within which these variations are possible without affecting the integrity of the whole. The original master plan provided plenty of capacity for growth within the primary grid structure for decades – it is more recently that the city started reaching the grid’s edges and an exploration of different urban extension models began. Regrettably in one of the recent extensions the grid’s simple but effective logic was ignored and future direct extensions of grid roads made impossible. Protecting the clarity and flexibility of the grid is crucial for the future of MK – it is the element of the city’s urban fabric that will outlast all others.
3. No place is a blank canvas – there is always a lot of existing place in any new place. Embrace it, work with it MK is heralded as a new town, yet it amalgamated the old towns of Wolverton and Bletchley, and a number of medieval villages. These places remain vibrant and diverse, with a lot of local character and strong communities. They added a special twist to the new town. Also, the original rigid geometry of the grid was changed during the master planning process to reflect the undulating landscape and topography of the fields the city was built on - the resulting ‘wavy’ grid ended up being uniquely MK. The linear parks included in the original master plan turned the constraints of two river systems and flood plain issues into positives and served as the lungs of the city. MK’s success is so wedded to its unique position in the geographical centre of the country, half way between London and the North, and surrounded by the major cities in the Midlands. There could be no other place like MK anywhere else, all due to what was there before the first brick was laid down.
Facilities as built (1979)
Facilites as planned
Activity centres as envisaged by original masterplan reinforcing connections across grid roads
10 lessons from MK - a personal view 31
5. Quality pays, build it to last – and let it shine MK’s public realm, with well-designed streetscape and landscape, executed in durable and high quality materials, is still one of its best aspects – another recognisable, uniquely MK characteristic. Likewise, some of the new town’s original buildings, such as the now listed main shopping centre, are of enduring quality which shines through, 50 years on, despite subsequent refurbishments. MK must retain this focus on high quality of its built environment and recognise it as an important factor in making it what it is – in the global race for businesses and people, it is the places that protect and value their environment that are the winners. 6. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water – value what is unique Even if only 50 years old, MK has already lost one of the great symbols of the early, bold period of its development – the futuristic Bletchley Swimming Pool. The city is now at risk of losing another one – The Point, the first multiplex cinema complex in the country. Its original bus station has been vacant for a while and the city has struggled to find a new use for it. A fascinating debate is unfolding on the heritage significance of the planned city and the strategic elements like the grid roads that simply do not fit into any comfortable listing or conservation process. With the gradual disappearance of, or question marks over the future of these city symbols – the firsts or the bests of their kind at the time they were built — there is a risk that some of MK’s unique character will go too. The future of these city symbols should not be decided solely on the basis of their often high maintenance costs or their inability to fit within established assessment methods, but the role they’ve played in the city’s genesis and continue to play in its narrative. 7. Keep experimenting and don’t be afraid of making mistakes – if you stop doing so, it will mean the death of the place MK includes examples of some of the earliest environmentally savvy homes; it has been a testing ground for a range of approaches to neighbourhood and building design, including the more recent development of prefabricated, low-cost housing or current experimentation with smart city and new transport technologies. Hopefully this exploratory work will continue under the umbrella of MK Futures 2050 programme. And yes, some of the experiments failed, but others set the example for many others to follow. Pushing the boundaries of what is possible, testing new ideas while learning from the past, is a crucial part of place-making. More than anywhere else, new towns give us the opportunity to do so.
32 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
8. Ambition, ambition, ambition – with high aspirations and people to carry them through everything is possible
10. It’s the people – great people make great places Behind MK’s success are visionaries who were not afraid to stick their neck out and make bold decisions, including the urbanists, landscape designers and architects who worked on its early plans and literally laid out its streets in the fields. MK is a place of new comers, of mixing, or embracing new people and their ideas, these days a place where long-established communities exist alongside the transient and the more recently developed areas. At this point in its history the first generation of its residents is still around and very vocal, and the second and third generations are starting to find their own voice and to move the city forward. The city’s strength is in its social mix and in the continuous embracing of new people, from students, to immigrants, to global talent. MK’s future must be multi-generational and socially diverse, and in opening its arms to other cities, towns and communities around it.
The political and creative ambition, as well as courage to address difficult questions head on was critical in the early days of MK. This resulted in some innovative ideas in how to run the city and keep delivering the quality that was embedded in its early plans. The city’s expansion was only made possible through mechanisms such as the MK Tariff – a development levy introduced much before the national Community Infrastructure Levy mechanism. The model for maintaining the city’s vast green spaces and a range of community assets is through trusts set up by the MK Development Corporation. With a sufficient endowment they could not only carry the maintenance function but also keep growing the city’s assets without further recourse to public funds, which is truly unique and a great lesson to others. MK’s biggest challenge today is in keeping the level of ambition, keeping the bar high. Without that the novelty of this new town will eventually wear off and its growth might stop.
Biljana Savic AoU is a director of The Academy of Urbanism
9. The city-making work is never done – change is the only constant In MK, just like in many other new towns there is a strong lobby of city pioneers — the first generation of ‘Milton Keyners’ – many of whom objecting to changes to the city structure and expansion plans driven by a combination of environmental, social and economic demands and concerns. This, for example, includes proposals based on higher development density, more integrated movement networks or a lower amount of green space compared to the ‘original’. MK is a result of a great initial effort and can be proud of what has been achieved — the constant stream of city delegations from all over the world, more recently from new towns in China, is testament to its success. But the moment it stops to respond to new trends and the ever changing, global and local socio-economic context will be its death.
Proposals for planning the local environment are illustrated on this sketch which shows how a typical part of the city might be developed
10 lessons from MK - a personal view 33
Grey sky modernists In Summer 1933 a bunch of urbanists sailed from Marseilles to Athens and back. On board they held the fourth Congress of CIAM (Congrès international d’architecture moderne) with the aim of turning the organisation’s focus from architecture to urbanism. In this abridged extract from the chapter ‘Blue Sky Modernists’ in their forthcoming book ‘Climax City’, David Rudlin AoU and Shruti Hemani describe how the British, who were initially sceptical about CIAM, became its most enthusiastic proponents in the post-war years.
When Howard Robertson, the head of the Architectural Association School of Architecture, was asked to organise a delegation to attend CIAM 3 he responded rather sniffily that “we don’t have a modern movement similar to that in Europe” and that “the average English view of what is modern in housing does not correspond with that abroad”. English radicalism in town planning was wrapped up with the garden city and rooted in the Arts and Crafts movement and there was little knowledge or interest of what was happening in Europe (many of the key texts were not available in translation). However, when the invitation came in early 1933 to attend CIAM 4, the architect Wells Coats pulled together a small group who called themselves the Modern Architecture Research Group (MARS). MARS was a small self-selecting group (membership was by invitation only) which would become very influential amongst UK architects even though at the time it was very much a fringe group. In the late 1930s MARS prepared a radical plan for the reorganisation of London on CIAM principles which was published by the Architectural Review in 1942. The historic core of the city was to be retained within a linear park along the Thames. To the north and south of this, everything was to be cleared and replaced by 16 linear cities stretching along fast transport routes (there was an argument about whether these should be roads or railways) out into the surrounding countryside and bounded by green fingers bringing the countryside back into the heart of the city. The proposals were illustrated as a beautiful set of drawings at nested scales ranging from the structure of the whole conurbation to the layout of each linear city, the organisation of the borough units threaded along the transit routes, down to the individual neighbourhoods and finally the housing units. The latter were conceived 34 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
as single mega slab blocks accommodating 1,000 people along with local shops and schools, sitting on the northern edge of a park. The architecture critic Dennis Sharp wrote in his Visual History of Twentieth Century Architecture that the MARS plan for London ‘summed-up, as no other plan did anywhere else in the world at that time, the whole nature of the CIAM approach to a hierarchical structure for a city’. However, in London it was roundly criticised, even from within the ranks of MARS. This was partly because of the way it was presented, appearing to be a serious proposal for the post-war planning of London rather than a provocation or a diagram. It was compared unfavourably with Abercrombie’s County of London Plan published in 1943 that was seen as a much more contextual response to the planning of London, reconciling the efficient functional city proposed by CIAM and the garden city in a particularly English hybrid. So the early history of modernism in the UK was one of skepticism and CIAM’s ideas (or at least Corbusier’s) were only taken seriously by a small fringe and were dismissed by the mainstream. It therefore takes some explaining to understand how in the decades following the war, modernism would transform British cities to a greater extent than any other country. When Mart Stam, one of CIAM’s key members, presented proposals based on modernist principles for the rebuilding of postwar Dresden he was vilified and his plans described as an ‘all-out attack on the city’. When similar plans were presented for Coventry they were received rapturously, and, while Coventry may have led the way, there wasn’t a British city or medium size town that didn’t seek to replan its centre, reorganise its commercial district and redevelop its outdated housing
Otterlo Meeting 1959 (also CIAM ‘59), organised by Team 10. The team of 43 participants created a schism within CIAM by challenging its doctrinaire approach to urbanism © Netherlands Architecture Institute
stock using modernist principles. To understand this, we need to explore the evolution of modernism in the last years of the war and the immediate post war years by a generation of British architects and planners who sought to synthesise CIAM’s ideas with those of Mumford and indeed Ebenezer Howard.
admiring the character and craft of the preindustrial city writing and seeking to inject some of this character into modernism. Banham was to take up the idea of an English form of modernism, championing the work of architects Peter and Alison Smithson and coining the term ‘Brutalism’ that was to define the architecture of the era. It may have been based on the ‘béton brut’ (smooth surfaced concrete) of Corbusier’s buildings, but it took-on a powerful volumetric quality in council estates, civic centres and shopping precincts of the UK. It would become one of the most vilified architectural movements of all time, largely because of its inappropriate name, but perhaps unfairly as Simon Hensley argues in his book Redefining Brutalism.
British modernism was to be shaped by two young writers who were working at the Architectural Review in the 1950s, Ian Nairn who was to champion the ‘townscape’ movement and Reyner Banham who was to coin the term ‘Brutalism’. Both set themselves in opposition to the European modernists and indeed to each other. However, the synthesis of the townscape movement and brutalism was to create a very British form of modernism that would dominate planning in the UK for much of the 1950s, 60s and 70s in a way that the purer European version of modernism was not able to do elsewhere.
Brutalism was featured in a special edition of the Architecture Review (AR) published at the end of 1955, although by this time it was rather out of step with the philosophy of the journal and Banham would move to the rival journal Architectural Design which was to become the champion of the movement. The AR had been converted to a more picturesque approach to town planning and had coined the term ‘Townscape’ in a special edition of the magazine that was credited in leading to the formation of the Civic Trust. Ian Nairn, who became assistant editor in 1954, made his name with the ‘Outrage’ issue published in June 1955. This was a broadside, not against modernism but against the sheer banality of British towns and cities, which had seen the “steamrollering of all individuality of place to one uniform and mediocre pattern”. The edition is illustrated by Gordon Cullen, and bemoaned the shocking state of British towns, dominated by suburban sprawl and destroyed by “wire, lamp posts, signs and adverts”. To describe this, he coined the
Both Nairn and Banham were taught by the art and architecture historian Nikolaus Pevsner, who we think of today in terms of his guides to the Buildings of England but in the 1930s was one of the leading promoters of modernism. In 1936 he produced a very influential book entitled Pioneers of the Modern Movement: from William Morris to Walter Gropius which was to lay the foundations for British modernism. In this he draws a line between the work of the English Arts and Crafts movement and the work of German architect Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus, a German art school founded by Gropius in 1919. He argued that “a healthy European life cannot exist in uniformity and regimentation. Should international planning impose an international idiom, nearly all of the visual pleasure would go out of new building”. In doing so, he shared a similar tradition to Mumford in
Grey sky modernists 35
Portsmouth;s Tricorn Centre © Jon King via Flickr
word ‘Subtopia’ and within days it had been used in a speech by the Duke of Edinburgh and quoted in the House of Commons. The involvement of Gordon Cullen was significant because it draws a link between Nairn and the modern practice of urban design. Cullen produced his book Townscape in the 1950s, which is better known in its abridged form Concise Townscape published in 1961. This is an illustrated guide to the way in which the local character and identity that Nairn so prized had been incorporated into the cities of the past. Illustrated with Cullen’s beautiful drawings, Townscape creates a language of urban design, describing the character of space and the experience of walking through a traditional city (serial vision) that is still referred to by urban designers today. Most people reading Townscape today would see it as the antithesis of modernism. However, if you look at many of the planning books of the time you will see Cullen-influenced serial vision drawings of some of the most brutal mega structures ever designed. The book Concepts in Urban Design, for example, by David Gosling and Barry Maitland features the authors’ own work from 1970 on Irvine new town in Scotland. A sequential space analysis illustrates the experience of walking through the mega structure that was to form the town centre, running for a mile from the waterfront to the old town centre. Indeed, Cullen himself was involved in many comprehensive redevelopment schemes with multi-level walkways and grade-separated junctions. He argued in Manchester that, from a serial vision perspective, underpasses were superior to bridges because they constrained space and created a more dramatic reveal when opening up into the plaza or square beyond. This was typical of the very particular kind of dense complex modernism that was to develop in Britain. Rather than the open grasslands of the Radiant City (the Ville Radieuse was a utopian idea created by FrenchSwiss architect Le Corbusier in 1930) with its widely spaced towns set upon piloti, British modernism was a dense web of walkways, weaving in and out of concrete 36 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
and glass structures and passing above and below sinuous roads carrying fast flowing traffic. Coventry was only the first of these modern cities. Before long most of the war damaged cities (and some that were damaged very little) were redeveloping along these lines. Newcastle, under its charismatic (and later disgraced) leader T. Dan Smith, was called the ‘Brasillia of the North’. The architecture that dominated these redevelopment schemes may have been brutal but the layouts were pure townscape. Indeed, Nairn praised the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth designed by architects Owen Luder and Rodney Gordon in the mid-sixties and one of the most extreme examples of brutalism, as ‘a great belly laugh of forms’. This grey sky modernism of the British Isles was an attempt to jolt cities out of their pre-war muddle that was seen as inefficient and inappropriate for the modern industrial age. The historic cities that the British modernists so valued were being spoiled by the industrial city and were unable to cope with the volume of modern traffic, the needs of modern industry and the necessity to create humane living conditions for the populous. Le Corbusier and the European modernists sought to completely reinvent the city to create something more efficient and civilised. The British, by contrast tried to create a modernism that retained the qualities of space and urbanity found in historic cities but could be built in glass and concrete and made fit for the modern world. Neither succeeded and they certainly didn’t manage to reinvent the city. Nairn’s ‘Subtopia’ had come to characterise most British urban areas and most planners where engaged in the much more prosaic job of making the best of a bad job. David Rudlin AoU is chair of the Academy Shruti Hemani is professor at the Aayojan School of Architecture in Jaipur Climax City will be published by RIBA Publishing early in 2018
From concrete to glass: The post-war trajectory of London’s high-rise housing London’s relationship with the high-rise is a complex one. From the post-war period to the devastation of Grenfell, high-rises have remained a controversial and divisive form of housing in the capital. Tim White and Mel Nowicki from the LSE explores the highs and lows of our relationship with vertical living.
This article traces the story of high-rise housing in London. It observes how a housing form once celebrated as an innovative solution to the housing crisis became maligned as a symbol of social decay. Today we see a complex juxtaposition of these two narratives, highlighting how our relationship with the high-rise is as much about social construction as it is architectural form.
The aftermath of the Blitz, coupled with pre-existing slum conditions, particularly in London’s East End, created an acute housing crisis in the post-war capital. High demand and public pressure encouraged local authorities to deploy pioneering rapid-build methods to develop housing quickly. One widely used technique introduced in the 1950s was pre-cast reinforced concrete (PRC). PRC buildings were relatively quick to assemble and required a lowerskilled labour force than traditional methods.
© Jim Linwood via Flickr
Background image: William Dunbar House, Kilburn, London
The rise and fall (and rise again) of the high-rise in post-war London
The 1950s-70s saw leading architects embrace concrete, functional, high-rise and high-density apartment living. Modernist architects such as Le Corbusier and Erno Goldfinger began to redefine London’s housing typologies, establishing the concrete high-rise estate as a common fixture on the capital’s urban landscape. This new form of housing was initially celebrated as a high-concept, modern and aspirational form of living
in a city desperate for a long-term housing strategy. High-rises in this era were synonymous with social housing, as the majority of these developments were owned by local authorities. Council tenants were seen as pioneers, escaping the low-quality slum conditions of the past, and establishing new ‘communities in the sky’. However, London’s love affair with high-rise living was short-lived, and from the late 1960s onwards modernist blocks were reframed from desirable solutions to the housing crisis to sites of material and social decay. The 1968 Ronan Point disaster is often cited as a key moment in which the high-rise tower block became emblematic of bad housing practice. The disaster occurred when a resident on the 18th floor of the Ronan Point tower in Newham lit their stove, causing a gas explosion that collapsed an entire corner of the tower. The incident, which occurred only two months after the building opened, validated growing concerns regarding the flawed design of PRC housing. During the 1970s, high-rise modernist architecture continued to fall out of favour. This was reinforced by the emergence of cautionary narratives such as architect Oscar Newman’s ‘Defensible Space’ theory. Newman argued that high-rise tower blocks and estates, with their stairwells, lifts and internal corridors cut off from the street, created ideal spaces for crime and antisocial behaviour. Concerns regarding the structural safety of high-rise PRC buildings were further consolidated during the early
From concrete to glass 37
1980s when it was discovered that the deterioration of the reinforced steel frames could lead to the concrete cracking. As the decades wore on, a lack of maintenance further contributed to conceptions of high-rise living in London as socially, as well as architecturally, dysfunctional. They became associated with high rates of crime, drug use, poverty and unemployment. Estates such as Broadwater Farm in Tottenham and the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark gained notoriety as hotbeds of criminality, danger and worklessness. Such rhetoric was consolidated in 1997, when newly elected prime minister Tony Blair gave his inaugural speech at the Aylesbury Estate, referring to its residents as the country’s ‘forgotten people’: an underclass of British society that existed in urban ghettoes of moral and architectural decline. As he stated: “There are estates where the biggest employer is the drugs industry, where all that is left of the high hopes of the postwar planners is derelict concrete.” (Tony Blair, 1997)
Former prime minister David Cameron further perpetuated narratives conflating moral and architectural dereliction. He regularly referred to post-war high-rise estates as ‘sink estates’, pledging to transform them for the better through large-scale estate regeneration schemes. Council estates, he suggested, epitomised state failure. The high-rise estate and the luxury tower: a tale of two cities High-rise council estates continue to be derided and dismantled. At the same time, new-build, predominantly private high-rise developments are lauded as the solution to the capital’s housing crisis. As a consequence, dualistic and divergent imaginings of high-rise living have emerged. Although the narrative of the post-war tower block as a site of criminality and social immorality continues in contemporary London, a new, parallel, understanding of the high-rise has materialised.
The Tower, One St George Wharf © Phil McIver
Despite widespread public rejection of high-rise council estates at the turn of millennium, London’s new leadership encouraged a resurgence in this development typology. The capital’s first mayor, Ken Livingstone, strongly promoted high-rise building in his London plans, especially at transport interchanges. Although his successor Boris Johnson promised to take a harder line against tall buildings during his mayoral campaign, in practice he refused very few applications. Johnson famously approved the 237-metre Columbus Tower in Canary Wharf, reversing the decision by Tower Hamlets to reject it.
Ronan Point in east London © Daily Telegraph
38 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
Tenure is the most striking difference between high-rises new and old. Whilst the majority of new developments are required to contain some proportion of affordable housing (which may not in fact be truly affordable for local lower-income households), most new homes in these schemes are sold to owneroccupiers or, often, private landlords. The target demographic for such developments is usually young, relatively wealthy professionals, of whom perceptions differ vastly from the council estate tenant. This suggests that understandings of high-rise living are in large part dictated by who such developments are built for and marketed towards. Vertical living is now associated with luxury, where the higher the floor, the higher the price. Concrete has been replaced with glass, crime-ridden stairwells with concierges, and social stigma with financial privilege. These two versions of high-rise sit (sometimes literally) alongside one another, representing the social and economic extremities of life in London. This duality has been brought into sharp focus in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. Nearly 50 years after the Ronan Point disaster, the devastation of Grenfell calls into question the safety of high-rise living. For many, the tragedy represents a system that gives precedence to luxury private developments at the expense of investment in social housing, while representing the dangers of light-touch regulation and cost cutting. The high-rise clearly remains controversial, with battles to prevent new tall developments raging on. For example, in recent months, the construction of the 42-storey Manhattan Loft Gardens in the sightline of St Paul’s has caused uproar from conservation lobbyists concerned with the disruption of the view from Richmond Park. Such debates feed into the wider rhetoric of high-rises as diluting London’s unique character and representing a gradual shift towards a homogenous skyline.
Taking lessons from history Since the high-rise was introduced to the London skyline, our view of it has swung from an innovative reimagining of urban living, to site of moral decay, and back again. History has proven that London’s relationship with high-rise housing is as much a product of the capital’s society, culture and politics as it is a question of the architecture itself. In the face of London’s continuing housing shortage, there is an unprecedented drive to identify areas where existing neighbourhoods can be densified, and/ or land can be brought into use. Current mayor Sadiq Khan’s ‘Good Growth by Design’ manifesto, launched in summer 2017, promotes high-density housebuilding as a key solution to London’s housing crisis. As supply continues to take priority, he has supported plans for many new high-rises. These include the recent approval of a 17-storey development in Palmerston Road, Wealdstone, and a 21-storey tower block in Hale Wharf, Haringey, both of which failed to reach affordable housing targets. Recent studies suggest that there are currently over 450 high-rise projects in the development pipeline for London, which are an average of 30 stories high. In order to strike a balance between the maligned concrete high-rise and the elite glass tower, the relationship between physical and social form must be appreciated. If the mayor is to ensure that high-rises of the future promote housing equality, rather than reflecting and reinforcing socio-economic disparities, he must champion a housebuilding agenda for all Londoners. Mel Nowicki and Tim White are researchers at LSE Cities and LSE London. Their project explores how different residents experience life in London’s new high-density housing, and what spatial, design and demographic factors make them work well (or not).
View of Manhattan Loft Gardens from Richmond Hill © Sludge G
More info available at: lsecities.net/objects/researchprojects/experiencing-density
Background image: Southmere Flats, Thamesmead © George Rex All images obtained via Flickr
From concrete to glass 39
Planning cities around streets David Green AoU, Global Practice Leader, Cities + Sites at Perkins+Will argues that planning of cities should be organised around the patterns and structures of streets and routes, the physical framework, rather than a prediction of land use.
Cities have always been designed, or planned, with consideration for the uses that would eventually come to inhabit them. As far back as Hippodamus’ plan for Miletus, one can see the intention in placing certain elements, or uses, within the city in specific areas. There was a place designated for the baths, for the theatre, for temples, and for many other places that were designated for specific uses. This remained true for the following 2,500 years, as exemplified in Penn’s plan for Philadelphia, Wren’s plan for London, and Oglethorpe’s plan for Savannah, for example.
It seems such a small thing but in the end, it had profound implications on the way we planned for the built environment, not just in the United States, but ultimately across the entire globe. The process of projecting development through the projection of future uses, land-use planning, came to permeate every aspect of city planning and directly replaced the street plan as the primary element of making cities. Unbelievably, it was a process of substituting the most permanent element of the city for its least permanent element.
This all changes in the late 19th and into the 20th century, culminating with the 1926 Euclid v Amber decision by the United States Supreme Court. This decision legalised, or at least rendered constitutional, the projection of uses as a valid method for planning cities, without regard for the underlying physical framework. Previously, the system of public rights of way had been the organising, unifying structure, and now it was to become the relative locations of amorphous blobs of use scattered throughout the landscape.
This legal transformation is, of course, running in parallel with the transformation of the modern ideology of the city, particularly with the work of Hilberseimer, Le Corbusier and others. The idea of separation of uses through buffers, etc., was adopted in the canon. It provided a legal as well as ideological foundation for the planning of cities in the 20th century.
In planning for cities prior to this, the core element of the process was the creation of a physical, or dimensional, construct for the legal subdivision of land. Whether a series of blocks facing avenues, with frontages of a consistent 198 feet and cross streets of 99 foot widths, as in New York, or a series of square blocks, measuring 113 meters a side, chamfered at the corners, as in Barcelona’s Eixample, the physical construct of the city came first, and the use distribution, other than major public places, evolved as the city was populated. Use distribution was something to be managed, in the organic growth process, not something to project onto an undifferentiated plane. 40 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
This transformation in the way we understand the planning of cities changes the inhabitable, urban world from something that is adaptable and walkable to another world entirely, one that is static, difficult to change, and, for the most part, completely uninhabitable without a car. While this is true across every continent, except maybe Antarctica, it has had an inordinate effect on development in the Middle East, where new cities have usually sprung from nothing. This is particularly true because Middle Eastern cities were organised around a dendritic system of streets which was ill-suited to the new idea of land-use planning and supporting roadways that most western planners utilised. It was easier to remove the existing city instead of trying to incorporate it into its future growth. These circumstances can be
described in two instances below. The first, how Kuwait City has transformed over the past 60 years, and the second, a more specific proposition for Doha. In the first instance, we can look back to the historic fabric of Kuwait City, prior to the implementation of the 1952 masterplan. It was a moderately wellfunctioning city with uses distributed such that one could live and work in the city in the same way one might in Paris or London today. However, the charge for the 1952 plan was to ‘modernise’ Kuwait City. As such modern planning principles were instituted that rendered the existing fabric obsolete, something to be replaced with a much more efficient system. To do this, the 1952 plan recommended the complete demolition of the old town.
1960’s Aerial, 2017 Current Situation
This is further evidenced in the early development of the urban blocks in the city, still in evidence in the central Fabric Market, across from the historic souk. In this 1960’s era block, it is entirely possible to walk from building to building in shade (in some cases in air conditioned space, but mostly not). With the exception of crossing the arterial between the two areas, one can walk miles, along well populated, animated streets within the historic souk, the fabric market and beyond. The buildings look modern and are compositionally placed within the block, as objects in space, but in fact they form a highly connected network reflecting the logic of the historic souk.
1951 Kuwait, 1952 Kuwait Masterplan, 2005 Kuwait Masterplan
Interestingly, the idea of interconnected spaces, a series of souks, for instance, was so strong in Kuwaiti culture that it wasn’t possible to fully eradicate the logic of the historic city, even in its complete reconstruction. We can see examples of this throughout the city; modern interpretations of the historic city fabric. There are many examples, but two stand out. The first is the relationship between the building, street and pedestrian in the work that was completed from the late 1950s through the early 1970s. The buildings were conceived of as background buildings whose primary purpose (whether intended or not) was to reinforce the space of the street, much in the same way the walls of the old city’s homes and markets created the streets of that era. In addition, each building was designed to provide covered arcaded walkways from property line to property line, which created a system of walkable, and critically, covered spaces that extended the public rights of way to include pedestrian activity. While modern urbanists were promoting open space in cities (re: 1961 City of New York Zoning Resolution), Kuwait, however, created a modern city that reconciled the idea of modern building and planning with the context of the desert environment. In 1968 one could easily live in Kuwait City with or without a shiny new car. It was possible to move through the city, a city in the desert, without a car, and with some level of comfort year round.
Fabric Market Souk, Fabric Market Block
In both there is the absence of land use projections that require, or prescribe, certain building and urban typologies. Instead we see the primary operation as the projection of the ways (streets, alleys, souks) that connect and subsequently, to reinforce this apriori public framework, the design and construction of buildings, whether through connected, covered arcades (think Bologna in the desert) or through the creation of interconnected souks within the buildings themselves. The uses along these souks, and along the streets, are easily adapted. Each can accommodate multiple types of publicly accessible use at the ground level, and above can be institutional, commercial office, residential, etc. Unfortunately for Kuwait City, the residual value of this has been systematically erased from the discussion
Planning cities around streets 41
Compressing Doha, 2015 QRDC Masterplan, QRDC Streets and Souks
about the future of the city and country. Today we see large towers, paeans to egomaniacal designers, almost completely disconnected from their surroundings, with large plazas, that may reinforce the â€˜iconicâ€™ tower upon which they sit, but does nothing for the urban fabric, fulfils none of its obligation to the collective, instead opting to exercise the rights of the individual in the creation of something, the city, that should be viewed primarily as a collective endeavor. This is being driven by the fact that parts of the city are simply projected as future uses, in isolation, and not as a systematic framework of rights of way.
needs while addressing, and accounting for, the more basic needs of pedestrian circulation. In this case the streets are structured to promote pedestrian activity, as are the secondary pedestrian routes, with the intention of using the secondary ways as a tool for both creating connectivity, but also to reduce the size of the buildingsâ€™ footprints, which was a major concern for large, institutional buildings that were initially planned for the district. To support this, a very simple set of guidelines and regulations were put in place to ensure that the basic principles of the district were addressed in each of the coming projects.
At this point, Kuwait is at a crossroads, and can protect the great examples of this convergence of modernism and regional context, as well as build this into planning for the future of the country, or it can continue to eradicate the cultural foundation upon which the country was built.
In the end, this is a very simple idea, and one that we used to plan cities for millennia. We all walk down great streets, through tightly connected neighbourhoods or districts, and we enjoy the result, but somehow when we plan cities we revert to the projection and budgeting of land use and let the physical structure fall away, to be led by requirements for some future use that may or may not ever emerge. There is much more to learn from the patterns and structure of Kuwait City in 1952 than the suburbs of America, but somehow the discussion always devolves into the uses that are planned for an area, how much land is needed and how many cars must be accommodated. All of this is important, to be sure, but not more important than the physical disposition of the place we are making.
An example of how this might work is evidenced in the proposed master plan for the Qatar Research and Development Complex. This project was a mandate to populate a section of Education City with a specific use. In this case, it was research. However, instead of conceiving of this as a project, an undifferentiated plane upon which one could place buildings, it was conceived of as a series of streets and passages. The idea that there should be space between the buildings and that each building would be an iconic element, sitting in a privileged position, was discarded and replaced with the idea that the buildings would simply be the background for the public realm. The diagrams above demonstrate this simple idea. In this scenario, much as with the Fabric Market in Kuwait, a double layered system of more conventional streets was incorporated alongside a system of pedestrian ways that were internal to the blocks. In this way it was possible to accommodate modern transport 42 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
David Green AoU is global practice leader, Cities + Sites at Perkins+Will.
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People with places that are significant in their lives
This is the fourth in a series of exhibitions begun back in the noughties at the Harrogate Conference Centre and the University of York. The first exhibition, MY ARCH, featured photographs of school students posed with and telling the stories of their favourite arches. Many adults joined them in the show and the kids were thrilled to be exhibiting with the likes of Lord Norman Foster with his Wembley Stadium arch. We followed up with MY TOWER, starring Lord Richard Rogers with his Leadenhall Tower, and MY PLACE with Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. MY PLACE TOO stars a less famous but no less important person, John Thompson, founder of the Academy of Urbanism, under whose banner these shows are now exhibited. MY PLACE TOO features young people who are taking part through photography and creative writing competitions in their schools. This year the competition has involved children at Peebles High School in Scotland, mentored by Mary Tweedie, and The American Lyceum School in Lahore, Pakistan, mentored by Safeer Ahmad. Our hope is that through sharing their love of their own special places the children will come to appreciate that there is only one race, the Human Race, and only one place, Planet Earth, which we must all share and care for because – my place is your place too.
Towards the end of the last decade, John Mullin AoU set about exploring the relationship between people and the places that matter to them. Here & Now brings you some of the highlights of his extensive and evocative archive.
The Back Road, Innerleithen
Model Town Extension, Lahore
I travel this route twice a day by car with my two young children. The road is much narrower, windier and arguably more dangerous than the main road between Innerleithen and Peebles but it provides me with the quickest route to nursery and then on to work. Admittedly, in the mornings I’m normally travelling it in a state of panic that I won’t make it to work on time, having wrestled with the kids to get them ready and bundled them in the car whilst replying to the older child “Yes, you are right, darling… Mummy’s boss will indeed put her in jail if she is late today.” Parental blackmail, bribery and lies are allowed before 9am you see!
There can be only one place for me, to which I still have access and where a current photograph is available: my home, where I’ve lived since 1983.
I’m not much better on the return journey home to be honest, and neither are they as they want their tea “NOW” and are too young to understand why Mummy can’t turn around whilst she is driving to see a tiny precious gem, otherwise known as a pebble, which was placed in a trouser pocket many hours earlier. But this stretch of road never fails to take me out of myself. It helps me to take a deep breath, reflect on the positive things in life and also kindly provides a number of horses for the kids to take delight in en route! The trees which line the road give it the feel of a tunnel which will lead you away, like Narnia, to an unknown destination of the imagination. As the road rises up it feels to me like another place, not home, not work, but a place away from it all. I am never bored by this journey. Its beauty is ever evolving as the seasons and weather change. In the winter after a crisp frost it shimmers and glistens and on a sunny day shards of light fall in a striped pattern across our path before we speed over them. Further along, the trees give way to the breathtaking rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, reminding me how lucky I am to live in a place of such beauty.
John Mullin AoU 44 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 8 10 | | Autumn Autumn2016 2017
This is where I lived with my mother and father, who passed away in 1988 and 1997 respectively. My wedding took place here, and my three children were born here. I entered my place as an agile teenager but I am now getting old, and climbing to my room upstairs, requires due care. My children feel very attached to this place, although I would rather move away. Nevertheless, it does hold great emotional value, since it’s here that I was saved spiritually, found by Grace and began to see more aright. It was the night of 25th December 1987. I’m content now with the knowledge that all religions and scriptures which exist today are true, and from the same One source. My place is in a lively suburb, Block M of Model Town Extension, where a good collection of services is within easy reach. I’m a high-school teacher by profession and although I entered the teaching field only because it happened to be an available option, I soon found that the profession was absolutely in line with my temperament, mind and soul, despite the fact that I have had to work long hours as a daily routine for many years. That aside, I feel blessed that I have made my contribution to so many young lives.
Space for great places! Schoenhauser Allee Anna Rose AoU
The great places here are an opportunity to share what we love and know about the urban environment. As you can see they range from small to large, inside and outside, and singularly identifiable to abstract ideas of what a great place is.
Please send us your great places so that we can share them in the next edition. Be imaginative and creative â€“ we want to make these places live on our pages. Send us an image, a drawing, a poem, aâ€Śyou decide. Send contributions to email@example.com
This central part of Berlin benefits from the layering of attractive high-density living and mixed-use building stock, plenty of space for outdoor seating at ground level, mature city greenery, and decent mobility infrastructure. This is not just a street crossing, but a vibrant civic space enjoyed by a diverse group of people.
My Place 45
Storm clouds over the City Chris Pagdin AoU
Cofferidge Close, Stony Stratford Alistair Barr AoU
This exemplar mixed-use scheme was designed in 1977 by MK architects to link a Georgian high street to high quality landscaped public realm. Terry Farrell commented in the AJ that â€œit is ironic that it takes a New Town to do something positive for an old townâ€?.
46 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 8 | | Autumn Autumn2016 2017
Piazza del Duomo Alessandro Melis AoU
Though less celebrated than its regional capital, Florence, the Tuscan city of Pisa is still well known internationally, in large part because of its medieval landmark Bell Tower. However the urban design of the whole complex of the Piazza del Duomo in which it stands, is actually the result of 19th century transformations influenced by British Romanticism.
PraĂ§a Ramos de Azevedo Pauline Niesseron Great places are not always beautiful. I like this functional and low cost solution to accommodate pedestrians, motorised and bicycle traffic in one of the busiest intersections in the city centre of SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil.
High Line Park Bright Pryde-Saha
Taken a mere month after the last section of New York’s High Line park opened in September 2014, this colourful mural was spotted from atop the transformed rail line. Based on an iconic New York City photograph from 1945, ‘V-J Day‘by Alfred Eisenstaedt, Eduardo Kobra’s mural has become one of the most photographedsections on the High Line - a vibrant burst of colour amid the concrete and glass of Midtown Manhattan.
Archibald Corbett Community Library Maria Adebowale-Schwarte AoU
I’ve always loved libraries. The older, the better. So, one of my favourite places is a local library. Nested between St Andrew the Apostle Church, a local school, and a row of Victorian terraced houses. Built as part of the Corbett Estate its remains a beautiful building, with a fantastic glass dome that keeps the building lit with natural sunlight. Formerly Torridon Road library, it survived the disastrous culling of local libraries, and remains at the heart of the estate taking on the name of the philanthropist and its benefactor Archibald Corbett - Community Library. And, it’s also become a local Arts and Heritage Centre.
48 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 8 | | Autumn Autumn2016 2017
Brilliant ideas that ruined our cities Part seven – Streets in the sky
Much of the architectural idiocy that we have covered so far in this series relates to well-meaning policies taken too far or misapplied. However, there is another type of idiocy that comes from a reimagining of the future in a space that is part architectural and part science fiction. In 1951 we were very excited about the future. It was on display under the Dome of Discovery as part of the Festival of Britain, holding out the promise of a future free from the dirt and grime of the pre-war industrial cities. The country was emerging from post-war austerity, the Labour government had created the Welfare State and the National Health Service and the people had shown their gratitude by replacing them with the Conservatives who came to power on a wave of optimism in the election of 1951. The ‘home of the future’ on display at the festival was incompatible with the cramped terraces and tenements that characterised British cities and the damage done by wartime bombing created an opportunity to build something very different. The big issue to be addressed was traffic. Even though levels of car ownership were tiny compared to those of today, people had stated to see the various functions of the street as being incompatible. There was already a long history of illustrations of the city of the
© Popular Science Monthly
In 1951 the results of a major architectural competition were announced. The winners were three academics from Kingston School of Art who had each submitted separate entries to improve their chances. The practice they would go on to form — Chamberlin, Powell and Bon — would build their winning entry for the Golden Lane Estate – shortlisted in this year’s Urbanism Awards – and would later go on to design the Barbican. However, theirs was not the most influential entry to the competition. That belonged to a practice who were not even runners up but who were very good at getting their work into the mags. Alison and Peter Smithson were the darlings of the architectural press at the time and their big idea for Golden Lane was the street in the sky.
future including multi-level streets. A drawing by H.W. Corbett dates from 1913 and another from Popular Science Monthly in 1925 imagines the city of 1950 with underground subways and high-speed streets. Layered above this are levels catering for deliveries and local traffic while above this are the pedestrian walkways spanning between buildings with landing strips for airships at roof level. Much later Paul Rudolph would suggest something very similar in his 1962 scheme of mega structures built over the multi-layered Manhattan Expressway. However, all of these are still fundamentally streets. The movement may be split onto multiple levels but the buildings front onto the street and the structure of the city would still have been recognisable to a 19th century urbanist. The modernists, however, had no time for such traditions. In their view the ‘corridor’ street as they called it, was no longer able to deal with the speed and volume of traffic required in the modern age. Better to create an entirely
separate system of expressways and access routes free from frontage development and separated from pedestrians. The Ville Radieuse (The Radiant City) buried its roads below ground leaving the ground plain clear for open space with accommodation contained within regularly spaced towers. These towers contained internal streets, indeed Unite d’Habitation in Marseilles has a very successful street on the fifth floor with a small general store and even a café. This may have inspired the Smithsons but in their plan for Golden Lane they took the idea much further. Their idea was essentially to lift the terraced house from the ground into the air and stack it along elevated walkways which would become ‘streets in the sky’. It was not the first time that flats had been accessed off balconies. The early Peabody blocks were designed around a courtyard lined with balconies but the blocks themselves addressed the real ground-level streets. The Smithsons envisaged that the streets in the sky Editor’s introduction | AoU Urban in Action idiocy 49
would become a new circulation system for the city allowing pedestrians to move around in the fresh air and daylight far above the traffic below. For this to work the buildings would need to be linked together so that walkways and bridges connected the blocks at the upper levels. The resulting plan is the city turned inside-out. The buildings become the structuring element rather than the streets, and snake their way over the landscaped site in a way that was entirely alien to any city planning that had come before. The Smithsons were one of those practices whose publicity of their unbuilt schemes gave them a reputation far greater than their built output. It wasn’t until 1966 that the Greater London Council gave them the chance to build their streets in the sky in a commission for Robin Hood Gardens in Poplar, east London (recently demolished to the consternation of the architectural community). However, by that time streets in the sky in the form of ‘deck access housing’ had become an accepted and widely-used typology for council housing. The first substantial scheme to be completed was Park Hill in Sheffield, designed by Jack Lynn
and Ivor Smith, who acknowledged their debt to the Smithsons. They had been commissioned by John Lewis Womersley, Sheffield’s City Architect, who would go on to form Wilson and Womersley in Manchester, the practice responsible for the largest of all the deck access schemes — Hulme in Manchester. Park Hill is now a Grade II* Listed building and is in the process of being refurbished by Urban Splash. It has the great advantage of being able to use the sloping sites so that each of the walkways is accessible from ground level. To the south it starts as a four-storey block and the roof line remains constant as the site falls away until it eventually reaches 12 storeys. There is one walkway for every three floors and they are wide enough to accommodate a milk float. Having a walkway every three floors is what makes the proportions of Park Hill so pleasing. It is achieved by use of an ingenious cross section with front doors giving access to flats below and above the walkway. The more typical arrangement, seen in Hulme, was to use two-storey maisonettes and so to have a walkway every other floor. The problem with the Park Hill model
Park Hill, Sheffield © Soreen D via Flickr
is that the walkways are lined with front doors and no windows. There is a famous picture of 1960s housewives gossiping on their doorsteps but it must have been staged because despite their name the walkways never functioned as streets. As anyone who – like the idiot – has ever lived on a deck access estate knows, they suffer from fundamental flaws that means they can never work as streets. Typically they were carved into the building so the environment consists of blank front doors on one side, a concrete ceiling and a precipitous drop on the other. There were no eyes on the street and no way of avoiding trouble coming in the other direction until you got to the next stairwell or lift. Once in the enclosed stairwell no-one at all could see you (and the smell of ammonia became over powering). They also failed the basic test of a street in that they didn’t go anywhere and generally ended in a dead end many storeys off the ground. As a result the only people who shared the walkways with their residents were the drug dealers and muggers who prayed on them. Peter Smithson came to recognise this. Interviewed in the 1990s he said: “In other places you see doors painted and pot plants outside houses, the minor arts of occupation, which keep the place alive. In Robin Hood you don’t see this because if someone were to put anything out people will break it… The week it opened, people would shit in the lifts, which is an act of social aggression”. Streets in the sky are a sad story of what happens when architects try and dictate the way people will (or should) live. They imagine scenarios of children playing on streets in the sky while their parents gossip on doorsteps and the friendly milkman stops for a chat. It is a romanticised view even when applied to a traditional street, but for all of the artist’s impressions of happy people, the street in the sky is an illusion. Thank goodness we have put this idiocy in the past! Except of course for all of the recent high-rise apartment blocks that include ‘sky gardens’. Just as in the past the word ‘sky’ makes it cool and the CGI’s of people having happy communal barbecues in what, in realty is a windswept place is just as misleading. The Urban Idiot
50 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
My own view is...
There is an art to borrowing by Robbie Kerr
Is it really wrong to borrow from the past, from place or from context? The last 18 months have seen a tangible shift away from the homogenising effects of globalisation towards people seeking a reinforcement of local identity. Place-making has grown out of the underlying shift in emphasis and effort to reflect changing trends, however, the concept is overused and often underdelivered. Place-making is never going to be achieved with blobs and arrow master planning that does not take heed of the finer grain of site detail. In order for development to be successful and a sense of place achieved, work must start from basic principles of strengthening references to the context around them. Good master plans embed themselves in the setting and the customs of the individuals who live with or around the outcomes of master plans. Many will at this point wonder how this is at all different from what many professionals will practice and preach. Yet a recent conversation with someone outside of the profession led to bewilderment when it was pointed out that many architects and urban designers sneer at the idea of designs that take on board lessons of the past, or borrowing characteristics of their surrounding context. It was astounding to this person that there was such a primacy to originality and a desire to challenge the artistic perception of place. To most people, comfort is found in traditional evolution of a place, integrating details and borrowing characteristics as places change. Traditional design consistently comes out being more popular with the public. The underlying sense of familiarity that such design engenders provides the context around which we define ourselves and influences our identity, so why ignore it. For many, personal
identities are formed around home and to lose sight of this must undermine the success of design proposals. If new development must happen, it should strengthen local identity rather than disrupt it. To borrow is not to copy, and familiarity is not a sin. The cumulative intelligence engendered by generations provides context, knowledge and identity that, if removed, undercuts the very essence of â€˜place-makingâ€™ most schemes seem to seek. It is possible to be creative but not deny the existence or importance of what has gone before. Originality is of course desirable but true originality in architecture is almost impossible. Every architect is influenced by those that have gone before and by their own experiences of the world around them. Human requirements change very little and using untested means of construction rarely leads to positive outcomes. Daily experiences are shared by and with others and are part of what makes the interesting tapestry that we exist within. The art of borrowing is a skill. It does not need to be complicated, but like a language, the more refined it is, the better the output becomes. Mies van de Rohe said that architecture could be worked on as a language, and if you commanded this language really well you could be a poet. The sentiment is exactly as it should be but the poet will only be heralded if the language is understood. There is no point trying to express yourself in terms that only a handful of select professionals find exceptional if the rest of the wider community cannot join in.
of varying scales that reinforce the identity of the place being developed. It could start from the field boundaries that have historically divided the land, perhaps no longer there today in bushy form but recognisable at certain scales of observation, or pick up features that give the area the character. In cities, it might be the grain of the fabric around, the way people have lived, move or come together. These are such fundamental points it seems hardly necessary to write but so often it is forgotten or denied, and when it is picked up it is frequently abstracted. To borrow we need the understanding of why it was as it was, and now how it is. Borrowing allows people living with schemes to recognise the familiarity and identity with the place they move through. The reproduction of borrowed elements or knowledge will inevitably lead to some degree of invention and this is where the art of borrowing can enrich our development. By the very nature of each person being slightly different, to interpret the smallest elements of solid and void in a varying manner and of course designing in differing periods does mean that the detail borrowed will never be exactly the same, and that is a good thing. If we can understand what we are borrowing, we can create a language such that professionals in the world of architecture and those that live with the world of architecture can coexist and work together for better places. Robbie Kerr is a Young Urbanist and director of Adam Architecture
And so, what is it exactly that is being borrowed? There is no shortage of interesting points of reference or definitive lists but it is the elements
Editorâ€™s introduction Gallery | My | AoU owninview Action is... 51
CITY TOWN NEIGHBOURHOOD STREET PLACE
Poetry Ian McMillan Drawings David Rudlin AoU Figure grounds
Words City Kerri Farnsworth AoU Town Michele Grant AoU Neighbourhood Tim Challans AoU Street Alistair Barr AoU Place Francis Newton AoU
In this year’s awards you will find some places that you might not have expected. There amongst the beautiful streets and lively cities that you would expect of the Urbanism Awards you will find bit of modernism, even dare I say a dash of brutalism. This is because we decided this year to focus on post-war development. As a result we shortlisted Milton Keynes, Corby and Coventry in the Town category, along with the Golden Lane Estate and the Brunswick Centre in London, Byker in Newcastle and Smallbrook Queensway in Birmingham. Certainly as artist-in-residence I have enjoyed exploring these post-war places and trying to capture some of the optimism of the era in which they were built. We have become very dismissive of our post-war places and it is true that many of them were a disaster. However there are also some very good ones, created with the same aspirations that we have today, indeed with a good deal more optimism and idealism. It’s sometimes hard to see this when they are covered in grime (one of modernism’s faults is its inability to age gracefully), but squint a little and catch them on a sunny day and you can see how good they really are. It is significant that Neave Brown, architect of the Alexandra Road estate in Camden, received the RIBA’s highest honour this year. It won’t be long before we start a full reassessment of our modernist past. This year’s awards have provided an excellent opportunity to engage in this debate. These places may be good architecture, but are they good urbanism as their creators claimed? They were not trying to recreate traditional urban places, even though they appropriated the language of the piazza and plaza. They were trying to create a new form of urbanism that was equally attractive. Occasionally it worked as our finalists demonstrate, whether it should be repeated is another matter. Our other shortlisted places are an equally mixed bag. We have three great European Cities in Vienna, Ljubljana and Bilbao, even though they are very different in size and history. It could be argued that it is unfair to compare anywhere to the grandeur of Vienna but Bilbao is a poster child for urban transformation and Ljubljana, perhaps the least known of the three, is an object lesson in how a small city can become green. Then we have some extraordinary ‘new’ places: such as Smithfield in Dublin, which was once a huge cattle market place on the edge of the city and is now at the heart of a new urban quarter; Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff Bay, somewhere that has been brought to life through a programme of animation; or Gaol Ferry Steps in Bristol where new mixed-use development has created a lively street and waterside area. Throw in the regenerated Humber Street in the heart of Hull’s Fruit Market and the rather lovely High Street in North Berwick and you have an amazing mix of places. Throughout the summer our doughty assessment teams have visited all of these places. We have walked their cobbles and tested their beer (all in the spirit of research you understand) and most importantly talked to the key players from the community, the public and private sectors. We have understood a little of what makes them tick and retraced the journey they have travelled to achieve what they have. If you haven’t been on one of these visits you are really missing out! We are also grateful to all of the representatives from all of the places for making us so welcome and sharing their enthusiasm for their place. We ask a lot of our shortlisted places who complete a self-assessment form as well as taking time out to host the visits. We should remember that they never asked to be nominated — the Urbanism Awards are not something that you can apply for! We are also grateful to Lathams for producing the figure ground plans of each finalist and of course to Ian McMillan for once more capturing the spirit of each place as a poem. On the following pages the lead assessors set out some of the lessons from their visits, a process that we will continue through our Urbanism book series. The places shortlisted this year complete the set for the second book, currently in production with a view to publication next year. In all it means that we have now visited, drawn and produced poetry for 180 places, a remarkable archive of learning and experience. David Rudlin AoU Chair
BILBAO City as performance art, as conceptual art, As a place that makes you stop and see yourself Framed in the morning’s affecting, effective Light; there’s the graft and sweating craft Of industry here, too: the art of making Something from nothing, of making money From something made from nothing. This Is the glorious tension at Bilbao’s heart, Performance heart, conceptual heart, a meeting Of the making and the thinking and the way space Is used to make more spaces that ponder and sing. Bilbao: make an exhibition of your splendid self! With intelligent use of public assets, collaborative planning and exemplar partnership working, Bilbao has achieved a remarkable transformation over the past 30 years. From the literal ashes of its factories, foundries and shipyards amidst the global industrial crisis of the late-1970s, Bilbao has emerged a vibrant modern metropolis of almost one million people – a city
where culture is seen as an investment, not a cost; and where accountability and social inclusion underpins every action. Rejuvenated historic fabric and green and blue infrastructure is augmented by brave new icons like The Guggenheim. And citizens have a unique stake too, having funded their city’s rejuvenation via additional city taxes – meaning the city has
had zero debt since 2010. Bilbao was awarded World City of the Year in 2011, but they know their job is far from finished: strengthening its economic performance further and countering an ageing demographic are two key objectives. Their success to-date augurs well!
LJUBLJANA The green-ness here dances in front of your eyes Creating a colour so new, so different, so luminous You have to describe it as Ljubljana Green. Define it, This shade of green: well, it’s a practical green, A green that holds all the cars back from the centre, Giving you time and space to breathe bike-deeply. Put a green shirt on if you want; the city certainly has, Knitting the ancient green with the modern green Until it’s a colour that embraces all colours, Winning awards and reflecting the water in the air And the air in the water. All colours, then, Merging past, present and future in Slovenian light. A UNESCO City of Literature, its historic centre is beautifully preserved, with an extensive pedestrian-priority network. A youthful population of 280,000 contributes to its warmth and vibrancy. Officially the safest city in the world, it has high quality of life and levels of social equality. No resident is more than a 15-minute
walk from permanent greenspace. Yet Ljubljana was not even a capital city 30 years ago. Under an entrepreneurial yet pragmatic mayor, it has worked hard to reach the global map. The award of European Green Capital 2016 is a testament not just to its remarkable physical rejuvenation, but in transforming citizen mindsets and
behaviours. But it is not complacent: balancing the growing pressures of tourism with quality of life; harnessing long-established industrial and cultural expertise to create an ‘ecosystem of innovation’, especially in green technologies, which will retain and attract skilled professionals.
VIENNA A river runs through it, come and look, And stand by the river, the rivers, Never the same river twice. The Danube, Or The River of Art, The River of History, The River of Today and the rushing, Bubbling, singing River of Tomorrow. A city like Vienna is built round the flow Of thinking’s tributaries, ideas that stream Across the tight streets and into your mind. It’s never the same Vienna twice, this place That changes from morning to evening, From idea to idea, from then through to now. 30 years ago Vienna was an ageing city with a shrinking population, but is now growing at 9.4 per cent per year. The city’s excellent arms-length strategic agency, TinaWIEN, has spearheaded a number of programmes to augment its existing high quality of life and ensure integration of newcomers. Vienna is now home to 25 per cent of Austria’s
population – a third of whom are under the age of 30. To accommodate this growth, and counter young families moving to the suburbs, Vienna needs to build an additional 130,000 residential units by 2025. It is on track to achieve this through a combination of upgrading existing stock but also new development, including whole
new neighbourhoods – such as Aspern Seestadt, a 245ha former airfield – with a very high quality of housing and living environment. Investment in infrastructure such as public transport and civic facilities are seen as key to enabling growth.
CORBY By the time you finish reading these lines Corby will have grown even more than before And will have begun to burst spectacularly Out of this poem and over into tomorrow, Swelling as it goes, like a sunrise fills the sky And it could all have been so different, a tale Of rust and neglect, but here is the station, Here are platforms for change, here is a cube And here’s a Savoy, and here’s a long pool The whole town can swim down, splashing To a future that’s bright as steel, bright as hope, Bright as the feeling this town expands into. In the last 10 years Corby has become a desirable, affordable, well-connected place to live, whether you commute into London on the new direct service or work locally in one of the many businesses it has attracted to replace the steel industry. The juxtaposition between ancient woodland and the town centre is extraordinary, linking the Olympic
size Corby East Midlands International Pool, the Cube and award-winning cinema with the woodland and the shopping centre. The town is on course to double its population by 2030 and Corby is creating new communities focusing on the quality of the design of its housing stock and the early delivery of social infrastructure in these urban extensions.
These achievements owe much to Corby’s civic leadership and regeneration framework, which created a vision that the city continues to deliver today as its blueprint for change while also working closely with adjoining authorities.
COVENTRY History has ridden through this Midlands city Naked on a horse, leaving footprints everywhere. It’s not that they’re erased now; they’re enhanced, Leading us down Friargate as we step from the train To walk into a present that’s a future on the move Built of steel and glass and stone; time to take the air And pull it deep into your lungs. Coventry is a city That never stands still, takes the big decisions And stands by them, and lets them breathe as far As Far Gosford Street which is nearer than you think, Rebuilt and reimagined like this city, like the culture It’s creating, like the jewel it is becoming. Coventry was significantly rebuilt and redesigned during the 1950s. Today it’s a young city with a diverse population and two of the top 12 UK universities. The growth in university students and student accommodation is partly shaping the look and feel of the city. Coventry has been shortlisted for City of Culture 2021 and is using culture
to connect the city’s heritage with its diverse population. Much work has been undertaken to make the city more pedestrian-friendly. The redevelopment and redesign of the station gateway involving the bridging over of the ring road is remarkable. The city is focused on delivering several big projects including City Centre South
and Far Gosford Street – performance space, business start-up units and a marketplace – created out of former car manufacturing sheds. Coventry has achieved significant change through partnership working from Far Gosford Street to the 70-acre Heritage Action Zone promoting heritage-led regeneration.
MILTON KEYNES Of course this place isnâ€™t named after the poet And the economist, but letâ€™s pretend it is, Because Milton Keynes is made from a meeting Of art and building, of planning and words; This can be a new town that never grows old, Renewing itself like a roundabout renews flow Placing knowledge at the swirling centre Of lives reflected under widening skies. Break the code of the future like they broke the code At Bletchley Park; find the layers of history And use them to point the way forward. Milton Keynes: add up the future and write it in verse. Milton Keynes is unique â€” a bold urban design experiment to create a new town for the future as perceived 50 years ago. The strength of the original design, and at the heart of the vision of the grid, was the quality and innovation of its housing neighbourhoods and city parklands. These have stood the test of time. New housing refreshes that good practice and The Parks Trust
uses innovative funding arrangements to ensure the long-term maintenance of greenspace. The city centre has a strong commercial base. MK is in the forefront of new transport technology and already has the largest fleet of bikes to rent outside London, an electric bus service and the most comprehensive network of electric vehicle charging in the country.
The city sees a doubling in its population as an urban design opportunity. Its success will be to replicate the vision of its first 50 years.
BYKER, NEWCASTLE Another brick in the future, another life For the wall, another tale told of rebuilding, Another shifting in the air, Tyne fog clearing To show this: regeneration playing the music Of renewal, a music we can all join in with Because we know the tune already, because this Is a place built on songs of building and Rebuilding and have you noticed how this poem Turns and turns and renews itself, like Byker Does, like the North East does? Walls are what We live in, and by, and behind, and in front of: Itâ€™s how they lift your soul that counts. The word iconic is overused, but it is fully justified for the Byker estate, which is probably the most famous and radical British public housing development of the late 20th century. Designed by Swedish-based architect Ralph Erskine and his partners, it replaced traditional Newcastle terraced housing with a unique design more
familiar in Scandinavia than in Britain. However, by the 1990s, the condition of the estate had deteriorated and, although listed in the early 2000s, Byker was in need of regeneration, physically, environmentally and socially. The Byker Community Trust was formed in July 2012 following a stock transfer without any outstanding
debt commitments, from Newcastle City Council. The trust secured the much-needed investment to upgrade the estate; involving residents in greater direction of services and to â€¨ensure essential improvements for tenants. In four years Byker is again becoming the sustainable, high-quality public housing it set out to be.
GOLDEN LANE ESTATE, LONDON All you need, anywhere, are streets paved with gold: The gold of community, the gold of mutual benefit, The gold of allotments in the early evening sun That reflects on the windows of places built for living. All you need anywhere is an island in the city Connected to everywhere, central to the world And looking out and in at the very same time And so I give you the gleaming Golden Lane estate! All you need is this: a place to live and breathe, Gold spun from ideas, a Golden Lane of people Because the people are what make this place. There: I said it. Now let’s get on with living. Golden Lane was built in the 1950s on post-war bombsites to house a range of City workers and it was considered a model of social integration. There is a strong sense of place on the estate because of the consistency of design and management and this is expressed in the way that residents use the public realm. Following ‘right to buy’ in the
1980s the tenure and social mix of the estate has changed to about 50/50 private ownership and social housing, but there is still a viable social mix and the whole estate appears tenure ‘blind’. The strength of Golden Lane as a neighbourhood lies in its unique design qualities, its proud and diverse community and its secure and safe
environment. Strong and flexible estate management from the City of London Corporation supports all of this and its skills are exemplified by the creative approach to the refurbishment, which is taking place without overly disturbing or decanting residents.
SMITHFIELD, DUBLIN This poem takes place in Dublin light Printed on the sky like a serving suggestion. Heard the one about the square That turned out to be hip? Well, this is it, A proper square, revelling in the built geometry Of history, cantering tradition, a fiery drink In a tiny glass seen from a tower built of dreams As you stand in the middle and turn and turn To take it all in. This square is a 24-hour clock, Listen: the day ticks round from early aubades To late-night nocturnes. Heard the one about Smithfield Square? Oh, you will. You will.
Smithfield first appears on the 1756 map of Dublin as a livestock and produce market. Most famously, it was the location for the monthly horse fairs and it is the largest open paved area in central Dublin. In the 1990s, following the creation of the public space, the owner of the land to the west – the Linders family and its development partners – developed a large part of its site with a combination of apartments, cafés, restaurants, retail and an ‘anchor’ cultural use: the Light House cinema. On the east side in the former Jameson distillery there is a visitor centre, restaurants, a gym and a hostel. All these uses serve tourists, residents and office communities during the day. The history of the Smithfield area gives it distinctiveness and a real sense of place. The city council-managed public space and the surrounding private sector developments have created a place with real character, with a variety of architecture and building types with a very diverse population.
HIGH STREET, NORTH BERWICK Changing seasons, changing sea sense, Changing skies, changing times And a high street that changes Your mind about how high streets work. Some high streets are tribute acts Or historical re-enactment societies But not this one: this one lives, breathes And hums with the rhythms of commerce And innovation; if a high street could sing Then this one would sing long clear notes That hang in the air and make you listen And walk, and shop, and sit, and talk. Local involvement in this street has been very high and a series of consultant exercises have harnessed public opinion in a positive manner. The High Street has a powerful character that comes from the use of local stores throughout. The orientation of the street minimises level changes and shields users from
the strong coastal winds. There is a fantastic local initiative called â€˜Why not?â€™, which encourages pop-up businesses in combination with local food initiatives, social enterprises and tourist information.The underlying strength of this street is the way it has adapted to changed circumstances. Modern life has thrown many
challenges at the town and in every case it has come back with innovative responses.This demonstrates how flexibility and forward thinking can overcome any challenges to create a vibrant street experience. The community involvement impressively gets things done at both local and regional level.
HUMBER STREET FRUIT MARKET, HULL I left the station, The Paragon, and Guided by volunteer after volunteer Ended up here where gulls speak Hull And the fruits of culture are everywhere: On the walls, in the air, in the tightness Of a place that still gives you breathing room. Listen: there’s music here, and applause, And something that grew from ideas And now pulls us here and lets us sit down And take in the sights and the sounds Ideas make when they fizz, when you peel them To get at what’s inside, down by the water. Humber Street is a dynamic street where the changes of the last five years are creating many positive outcomes. The process is a great example of public and private organisations working together to create a great place. This will be a vibrant quarter were people can meet to live, work and play.
There are many layers of history here and the designers and developers have allowed the buildings to show their past with pride whilst allowing new, innovative alterations. The initiatives have also obtained a range of government grants to kick start developments and have been able to pursue unconventional development
models. Humber Street forms the spine of the long-term regeneration of Hull’s fruit market as a new urban village. The project has worked with the grain and character of the area to create a very successful identity that the development can build on.
SMALLBROOK QUEENSWAY, BIRMINGHAM It’s the curve that’s the thing, the curve against The ever-shifting Birmingham sky. It’s the way The street pulls you both ways, draws you in And draws you out. Draws you in another way, Too: draws and paints you into the street, Not like a figure in an architect’s drawing, But a real person, moving through a real place. Here was modernism exemplified, and here is Modernism revisited, but in a Birmingham sense: Friendly, approachable, a nod of the head, a smile That says here is a street we can live in and live by. Stand here for a moment while I draw you closer. This street has been enhanced, galvanised and challenged by the Birmingham Big City plan of 2010. The local Business Improvement District has risen to this challenge within the wider Southside BID neighbourhood to emphasise the street and how it connects into the wider context of the area.
This is a significant example of bold post-war planning that has created a dramatic curved streetscape with heroic aspirations. We enjoyed this optimism of the 1960’s urban design. Chinatown, The Gay Village and Theatreland are all connected by the street, and the attitude of diversity, inclusivity and openness is striking.
This proves that a powerful 1960’s design statement can still be relevant to changing lifestyles, technology and aspirations. With New Street Station now complete there are other major schemes that will impact of the connectivity of the street but the exciting changes so far give great hope for its future.
BRUNSWICK CENTRE, LONDON From a distance the Brunswick looks a cake, A cake you could live in, eat in, sit and see A film in about people, well, eating cake Because thatâ€™s how it feels here; it feels Like the Brunswick refers to itself and refers To the world; itâ€™s like a set of staircases that lead To each other and then lead somewhere else That you never knew was there before. A part Of the city that is its own city, a part of the city That is its own film, a part of the city apart From the city and deep in the city. Take a slice Of this cake and celebrate. There will be no crumbs. The Brunswick Centre is an early experiment in planned mixed-use development, of housing with retail and commercial uses, situated in Bloomsbury in the London Borough of Camden. Although idiosyncratic, the buildings successfully respond to the historic street geometry with the distinctive cascading terraces
producing a form and sensitivity that does not impose on the surrounding streets. The scheme possesses a uniqueness, warmth and liveability perhaps less evident in many social housing schemes from a similar era. The assessment team observed a harmonious, social place with a good level of social exchange evident within
the development. This is an exemplar of post-war architecture and planning for schemes of its kind. It has withstood the tests of time both physically and politically and is continuing to evolve to sustain a vibrant mixed-use community.
GAOL FERRY STEPS, BRISTOL Steps. That’s what you need to take, to make, To remake, when you’re building a new place That the old place shines through. Connections. That’s what the steps need to be; footfall, Footprints, connections and, yes, footsteps. Here is a ribbon that ties one end of the city To the other, as though it’s a parcel you want To unwrap. Take the weight off your footfall For a minute; sit in front of this full white plate, Take steps to turn it into an empty white plate That shines like a full moon over Gaol Ferry Steps Stepping across the Bristol sky like the future will. The recently completed Gaol Ferry Steps represents the first phase of a new mixed-use development at Wapping Wharf in central Bristol. Gaol Ferry Steps has clearly become successful in a short space of time – residential properties were all sold on completion and commercial space is fully let. The early signs are hugely
positive and what is perhaps most striking about this place is the complete absence of the usual national chain coffee shops, pubs, restaurants and convenience stores. As a development project, some elements perhaps seem unremarkable, but the funding model and the vision and commitment of the developer has certainly challenged
conventions. For this, it should receive particular acclaim for breaking the mould and offering an alternative to cloned places that have too often become the default in UK urban regeneration.
ROALD DAHL PLASS, CARDIFF A big friendly giant of a public place, A city’s face turned to the sun And the occasional Cardiff rain; words Tumble into the day’s accepting air, A decision-maker takes time out to wander, A note still hangs around from last night’s gig. Someone comes to the Plass for the first time And you could paint the wonder in their eyes. This is city punctuation: somewhere to pause, Stop for a moment, exclaim in delight, and question The idea of what a city can be, here and now. And many of the answers are here, just waiting. Situated next to Cardiff Bay, the Roald Dahl Plass now forms a new focal point between the historic Butetown, the centre of ‘Tiger Bay’ to the west, with the Wales Millennium Centre, Welsh Senedd and Pierhead Building rising boldly to the east. It has defined itself as a gathering place, not only for the city but for also for Wales, most importantly
as a new seat of government. The range of events on offer act as a major draw, with the space providing a venue for celebration, commemoration and even protest. Roald Dahl Plass is noteworthy for the vivid sense of place that has been created, particularly the approach to management and the notion that a new place must be nurtured if it is to
succeed. It must also be commended for its inclusiveness, its informality and vibrancy in a modern, highly unique urban setting.
DIRECTORS From top left to right Kathryn Firth Andrew Burrell Prof Kevin Murray Henk Bouwman Janet Sutherland John Thompson (Honorary President) David Rudlin (Chair) Steven Bee Dr Deb Upadhyaya Tony Reddy Biljana Savic Tim Stonor Alistair Barr
ACADEMICIANS Arthur Acheson Prof Robert Adam Marcus Adams Lisa Addiscott Maria AdebowaleSchwarte Dr Husam Al Waer Julie Alexander Kyle Alexander OBE Pam Alexander OBE Malcolm Allan Joanna Allen Ben Allgood Charles Anderson Ewan Anderson Kathryn Anderson Nigel Anderson Simon Andrew Catton Ian Angus Debbie Aplin Judith Armitt George Arvanitis Jamie Ashmore Jas Atwal Thom Aussems Jeff Austin Jeanette Baartman Dr Samer Bagaeen
Jamie Baker Prof Chris Balch Yolande Barnes Prof Lawrence Barth Prof Hugh Barton John Baulch Marga Bauza Will Bax Alan Baxter CBE Simon Bayliss Ian Beaumont Matthew Bedward Paul Bedwell Simon Bee Andrew Beharrell Neil Bennett Robert Bennett Duncan Berntsen John Best John Betty David Bishop Deirdre Black Philip Black Adam Blacker Alastair Blyth Christian Bocci Martin Boddy Nicholas Boys Smith Rosemary Bradley Angela Brady OBE Torben Brandi Nielsen Chris Brett Eddie Bridgeman Mark Brierley Jane Briginshaw Patricia Brown Robin Buckle Craige Burden Mark Burgess Sarah Burgess Jonathan Burroughs Richard Burton Prof Georgia Butina Watson Peter Butter Karen Cadell Bruce Calton Fiona Campbell Kelvin Campbell Charles Campion Steve Canadine
Ian Cansfield Esther Caplin Fredrik Carlsson Matthew Carmona James Carr Peter Carr Sam Cassels Philip Cave Prof Nikola Cekic Tim Challans Joanna Chambers Dominic Chapman Ian Chater Ming Cheng Alain Chiaradia Nick Childs Dominic Church Shane Clarke Tom Clarke Clare Coats Dr Jim Coleman Robert Coles Sarah Collicott Simon Collier Garry Colligan Paul Collins Martin Colreavy Max Comfort Brian Condon Karen Cooksley Prof Rachel Cooper OBE Ian Corner Cara Courage Will Cousins Rob Cowan David Cowans Michael Cowdy Timothy Crawshaw Toby Crayden Chris Crook Adam Crozier Paul Cureton Linda Curr Peter Cusdin Jennie Daly Justine Daly Jane Dann Alex Davey Philip Davies Eric Dawson James de Havilland
68 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 | Autumn 2017
Neil de Prez Sophia de Sousa Ian Deans Ioanni Delsante Toby Denham Guy Denton Nick Dermott Clare Devine Andrew Dixon Herbert Dreiseitt Prof John Drever Eugene Dreyer Craig Driver Peter Drummond Tony Duggan Paul Dunne Alex Dutton John Dyke Nigel Dyke Richard Eastham David Edwards Stephanie Edwards Elad Eisenstein Luke Engleback Gavin Erasmus Karen Escott Roger Estop Prof Brian Evans Martyn Evans Roger Evans Wyn Evans Patrick Eve Dr Nicholas Falk Kerri Farnsworth Max Farrell Sir Terry Farrell Mahmood Faruqi Ian Fenn Jaimie Ferguson Stephanie Fischer Andrew Fisher Sue Flack David Flannery Prof Carlotta Fontana Bernie Foulkes Jane Fowles Simon Foxell Edward Frampton Alan Francis Peter Frankum Daisy Froud Sandra Fryer Mark Furlonger Catherine Gallagher Carole Garfield Tim Garratt John Geeson Peter Geraghty Lia Ghilardi Andy Gibbins Ian Gilzean Menelaos Gkartzios Stephen Gleave Dick Gleeson Pippa Goldfinger Guy Goodman Keith Gowenlock Marcus Grant Michele Grant
Mark Greaves David Green Ali Grehan James Gross Richard Guise Paul Hackett Leo Hammond Tim Hancock Stephen Handley Philip Harcourt Geoff Haslam Roger Hawkins John Haxworth Michael Hayes CBE Peter Heath Tina Heathcote David Height Russell Henderson Simon Henley James Hennessey Paul Hildreth Colin Hill Steve Hilton Stephen Hinsley Eric Holding Peter Hollis Stephen Hollowood Glenn Howells Jun Huang Simon Hubbard Anthony Hudson Nigel Hughes Michael Hurlow John Hyland Tony Ingram David Jackson Julian Jackson Philip Jackson Colin James Timothy Jemison Cathy Johnston Eleri Jones Gregory Jones Howard Jones Peter Jones Rory Joyce Claudia Juhre Gesine Junker Martina Juvara Dr Kari Kankaala Dr Kayvan Karimi Philip Kassanis Despina Katsikakis Daniel Kaye John Kelpie Steve Kemp Jonathan Kendall David Kennedy Angus Kennedy OBE Justin Kenworthy Anne Kerr Mary Kerrigan Ros Kerslake OBE Anne Kiernan Graham King Martyn Kingsford OBE Angela Koch Chris Lamb Charles Landry
Richard Latcham Derek Latham Diarmaid Lawlor Michael Leahy Emilie Leclercq Prof Steffen Lehmann John Letherland Ning Liu Fred London John Lord Mark Lucas Aylin Ludwig David Lumb Nikolas Lyzba Kirsty Macari Carol MacBain Robin Machell Roddie Maclean Peter Madden David Mahony Keiji Makino Geoffrey Makstutis Lee Mallett Grace Manning-Marsh Andreas Markides Christopher Martin Paul Martin Dr Katherine Martindale Agustina Martire Andrew Matthews Bob May Steve McAdam John McAslan Frank McDonald Prof Michael McGarry Kevin McGeough Martin McKay Craig McLaren Craig McWilliam Alessandro Melis Nikola Miller Joel Mills Stephanie Mills Dr Negin Minaei Shane Mitchell Lucy Montague Dr John Montgomery Rob Moore Cllr John Moreland Paul Morsley Richard Motley John Muir Ronnie Muir John Mullin Neil Murphy Allan Murray Dr Claudia Murray Deborah Murray Prof Gordon Murray Peter Murray Dr Lucy Natarajan Stephen Neal Jon Neale Katy Neaves Marko Neskovic Francis Newton Victor Nicholls Dr Olli Niemi
Ross Nimmo Malcolm Noble Hugo Nowell Richard Nunes Craig O’Brien Calbhac O’Carroll Killian O’Higgins Emmet O’Sullivan Stephen O’Malley Dr Dellé Odeleye Simon Ogden Tiago Oliveira John Orrell Emeka Osaji Trevor Osborne Paul Ostergaard Erik Pagano Chris Pagdin Kevin Parker Phil Parker Michael Parkinson Fiona Parry Sowmya Parthasarathy James PattersonWaterston Richard Pearce Adam Peavoy Russell Pedley Ross Peedle Prof Alan Penn Hugh Petter Richard Petty Alex Phillips Graeme Phillips Justin Phillips Jon Phipps Karen Phull James Pike Prof David Porter Sunand Prasad John Prevc David Prichard Paul Prichard John Pringle Stephen Proctor Steve Quartermain CBE Helen Quigley Shane Quinn Colin Rae Christian Rapp Andrew Raven Mike Rawlinson Layton Reid Stephan Reinke Lawrence Revill Elizabeth Reynolds Eric Reynolds Christopher Rhodes Patrick Richard Sue Riddlestone OBE Antony Rifkin David Roberts Marion Roberts Prof Peter Roberts OBE Steve Robins Dickon Robinson Dr Rick Robinson Sandy Robinson Bryan Roe Nick Rogers Angela Rolfe Raj Rooprai Anna Rose Richard RoseCasemore Graham Ross Jon Rowland Dr Andrew Ryder Robert Sakula James Salman John Sampson Prof Flora Samuel Clare San Martin Peter Sandover
Ryan Sandwick Hilary Satchwell Arno Schmickler Dominic Scott Sharon Scott Symon Sentain Chris Sharpe Cath Shaw Richard Shaw Keith Shearer Yihan Shen Gorana Shepherd Michael Short Paul Simkins Erin Simmons Dr Richard Simmons Andrew Simpson Anette Simpson Tim Simpson Alan Simson Anna Sinnott Ann Skippers Dave Smith Jef Smith Malcolm Smith Roger Smith Carol Somper Carole Souter CBE Adrian Spawforth Ben Spencer Catherine Stevenson Alan Stewart Peter Stewart Susan Stirling Rosslyn Stuart Peter Studdert Nicholas Sweet Seiji Takamatsu Ian Tant Jonathan Tarbatt David Taylor Ed Taylor Nick Taylor Rebecca Taylor Sandy Taylor Nicholas Temple Ivan Tennant Alison Tero Prof Mark TewdwrJones Gary Thomason Alan Thompson Dr Emine Thompson Matt Thompson Rob Thompson Dale Thomson Dr Ying Ying Tian Niall Tipping Damian Tissier Andrea Titterington Eime Tobari Ian Tod Steve Tolson Paul Tostevin Robert Townshend Rob Tranmer Stephen Tucker Richard Tuffrey Neil Tully Jeffrey Tumlin Jonathan Turner Stuart Turner Roger Tustain Nick Tyler CBE Julia Unwin Richard Upton Giulia Vallone Hans van Bommel Mattijs Van Ruijven Atam Verdi Jonathan Vining Andy von Bradsky Prof Lorna Walker Thomas Walker
Julia Wallace Ann Wallis Russell Wallis Alan Wann Andy Ward Nathan Ward Ralph Ward Elanor Warwick David Waterhouse Stuart Watson Camilla Ween Oliver Weindling Dr Michael Wells Allison WestrayChapman Pam Wharfe Peter Wheelhouse Victoria Whenray Paul White Lindsey Whitelaw Stephen Willacy Martin Williams Peter Williams Patricia Willoughby Marcus Wilshere Richard Wolfstrome Nick Woolley Gary Worsfold Tony Wyatt Wei Yang Stephen Yarwood Bob Young Gary Young Rob Young Paul Zara Parsa Zarian Jack Zheng Qu
Hugh D’Alton Lilly Dai Dan Daley Poppea Daniel Hanaa Dasan Sean Davey Aaron Davis Vito De Bellis Felix de Gray Aya Dibsi Amy Dickens Ina Dimireva Louise Dredge Isabelle Dupraz Akrem el Athram Ben Eley Alexander Evans Nadia Everard Alexander Farr Tobias Fett Alisha Fisher Diana Fjodorova Martin Fleischmann Andrea Forsberg Hannah Fox Alex Frankcombe Anna Freiesleben Matthew Gamboa Joel Gandhi Ross Gilbert Nicholas Goddard James Goodsell Katsushi Goto Emily Greenaway Amanda Gregor Julie Guilhem Anastassia. Gusseinova Zarreen Hadadi Rosie Haslem Ines Hassen Francesca Heathcote Sapey Laura Heinritz Alice Hewitt Simon Hicks Alan Higgins Sarah Hill Dominik Hoehn Sinead Holmes Thomas Homfray Leanne Hoogwaerts Hasanul Hoque Lewis Hubbard Saskia Huizinga Henry Hunter Julia Hurley Emma Hutton Loukia Iliopoulou Ross Irvine Omar Islam Fred Jerrome Alice Johnson Alice Johnson Jennifer Johnson Osman Kalifa Foteini Kanellopoulou Georgios Kapraras Charlotte Kemp David Kemp Robert Kerr Isobel Knapp Anna Kravec Melissa Lacide Tatum Lao Christian Lapper Will Lawton Yeonhwa Lee Alex Lee-Bull Mark Leitner-Murphy Michela Leoni Philip Liu Iacovos Loizou Stephen Lovejoy Tierney Lovell
YOUNG URBANISTS Esra Abdelrahman Khalifa Abubakar Alexandros Achniotis Sidra Ahmed Eva Aitsam Amer Alwarea Patrick Andison Ben Angus Jennifer Angus Kinda Ayoub Nouha Ayoub Alexander Baker Simon Banfield Sangeetha Banner Jacqueline Barrett Laura Bartle Chris Bate Jordan Benson Sarah Birt Natasha Boardman- Steer Mark Bori Mark Boyd Michael Bredin Ciaran Brown Laura Burnett Matthew Carreau Chow Chun Chi Cecil Nairita Chakraborty Victor Chamberlain Roland Chanin-Morris Simon Chinn Heather Claridge Ian Collier Alison Collins Saul Collyns Lindsay Conn John Cooney Daniel Cooper Jonathan Couturier Rebecca Cox Robert Cox Charles Critchell
Laetitia Lucy Alina Ludviga Madeleine Lundholm Ava Lynam Richard MacCowan Belinda Mackay Giacomo Magnani Claire Malaika Tunnacliffe Theo Malzieu Nick Mann Ryan Manton Patricia Martin del Guayo John Mason Carl McConnell Chloe McFarlane Rachel Meunier Shawn Meyers Darcy Millar Jose Monroy Graeme Moore Lucy Moore Tristan More Antonia Morgan Jelly Moring Olga Mun Katerina Nagnopol Louisa Nie Pauline Niesseron Jim Nightingale Bobby Nisha Szymon Nogalski Nicole Norman Marketa Nosalova Alex O’Hare Killian O’Sullivan Eleana Orr Floriane Ortega Sejal Patel Victoria Payne Claudia PenarandaFuentes Francesca Perry Victoria Pinoncely Kerstin Plain Julie Plichon Bright Pryde-Saha Kseniia Pundyk Longning Qi Mura Quigley Cristina Racsko Emma Rainoldi Dinar Ramadhani Ronald Riviere Reuben Ross Megan Rourke Jonah Rudlin Rebekah Russell Renelle Sarjeant Alice Saunders Charlotte Savage Ross Schaffer Alexei Schwab Shane Scollard Alec Scragg Eleftherios Sergios Amanda Sheppard Safeer Shersad Shreya Shetty Claudia Sinatra Roxana Slavcheva Emilia Smeds Andy Smith Henry Smith Tom Smith Rihards Sobols Bethania Soriano Emma Spierin Matthew Spurway Mark Stewart Catherine Street Rebecca Sumerling Lucy Sykes
Tracey Taylor Gideon Thomas Natalie Thomas Gavin Thomson Kieran Toms Jasmine Tredget Joanna Turner Gozde Uyar Mariangela Veronesi Emilie Walker Michelle Wang George Weeks Dr Frederik Weissenborn Robert Wellburn Roger White Tim White Jennifer Wiles Niall Williams Derek Wilson Evelyn Wong Nicola Wood Mengqian Wu Timothy Wu Mirjam Wurtz Yigong Zhang Maria Zouroudi
HONORARY ACADEMICIANS Prof Wulf Daseking Jan Gehl George Ferguson CBE Christer Larsson Manuel Salgado John Worthington MBE
IN-RESIDENCE David Rudlin AoU Artist Frank McDonald AoU Writer Ian McMillan Poet
Academicians and Young Urbanists
Inequality Itâ€™s locked into the spatial layout of towns and cities. It influences the social, economic and environmental performance of places. How people feel. How healthy they are. Inequality can blight places, but targeted spatial design and service delivery can help to address it. Working with our clients and partners, Space Syntax is committed to the creation of thriving life through the planning and design of great places. Let us know if we can help you tackle your challenges of inequality. firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on Nov 28, 2017