Here & Now
AoU Journal No. 14 Winter 2019 ISSN 2058-9123 ÂŁ7
Creating inclusive cities
Accessible housing: The UKâ€™s hidden housing crisis The power of prototyping to design in inclusivity Urbanisation for social cohesion in Kigali Interview with Maria Adebowale-Schwarte
1 Welcome 2 Editorial 3 The Academy in action 8
Shaping better and healthier cities Nicholas Falk AoU on how cities can shape their future
Creating inclusive cities ...in focus
21 In conversation with... Maria Adebowale-Schwarte Steven Bee AoU talks to executive director of the Foundation for FutureLondon
Space for great places! A gallery of ideas and reflections on great places
My place People with places that are significant in their lives
53 Book review: Designing for liveability Characterising in a changing climate neighbourhoods Heather Claridge AoU reflects on link between liveability and 54 Sounding off climate crisis in Melbourne Frank McDonald AoU on housing issues in Dublin Including young people in the design and planning of 56 Urban idiocy our cities Brilliant but flawed ideas Simeon Shtebunaev for the city considers how to incorporate the youth perspective 59 My own view is... we need to start listening to The new Kigali: Urbanisation kids, by Jonny Anstead AoU for social cohesion Monica Laucas looks at the future promised by a new 60 Space Place Life masterplan in the city The Academy’s 15 finalists for 2020, featuring poems by Ian Accessible housing: The UK’s McMillan, drawings by David hidden housing crisis Rudlin AoU and figuregrounds Amy Francis-Smith highlights by Lathams the lack of appropriate disabled housing 76 Academicians and Young Urbanists The power of prototyping to Who we are design in inclusivity Phillippa Bannister’s describes the Her Barking project
Design template Richard Wolfströme
South Bank evolution Steven Bee AoU explains the historical influences on London’s South Bank
Advertise in this Journal! If you would like to reach our broad and active audience, speak to Delano Bart-Stewart on email@example.com or +44 (0) 20 7251 8777
Micro-units: good for cities, good for citizens? Kathryn Firth AoU says we need to think holistically about housing typologies and zoning
Learning from Ljubljana Liljana Jankovič Grobelšek and Miran Gajšek report on workshop with the Academy
Of streets and squares Nicholas Boys Smith AoU shares lessons from a study on place quality study
Improving green infrastructure with an unlikely coalition of allies Green Hands co-founders connect communities with their local green spaces
The Liberties: Ten years on Clare San Martin AoU evaluates the results a decade after its local area plan
Editorial team Alastair Blyth (Editor) Delano Bart-Stewart Steven Bee Stephen Gallagher Frank McDonald David Rudlin
24 28 32 35
Front cover image: Aarhus
Supporting people and organisations to deliver and sustain great towns and cities
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 understand, promote and celebrate what makes great places and to apply these lessons to the improvement of towns and cities across Europe and beyond. Join the Academy Become an Academician, Young Urbanist, Member or Group Member at academyofurbanism.org.uk/ membership
Academy Team Linda Gledstone Director of Operations Stephen Gallagher Director of Engagement Delano Bart-Stewart Marketing & Communications Manager Olga Gaitani Programmes Co-ordinator Mina Manik Membership Co-ordinator Rachel Howlett Research Assistant Jason Monaghan Accounts
The Academy of Urbanism 70 Cowcross Street London EC1M 6EJ United Kingdom +44 (0) 20 7251 8777 academyofurbanism.org.uk @theAoU
This is my last introduction to Here & Now as chair. It was three and a half years ago at our congress in London that I was announced as chair. The congress took place a few days before the Brexit Referendum and it dominated our discussions. It seemed that virtually no one attending was intending to vote Leave, and from within our bubble of international urbanists it was difficult to imagine that Remain could ever lose. Well they did, of course, and since then we as urbanists have been wondering whether we should share part of the blame? We had spent a decade celebrating great places and feeling good about the fact that British cities were doing pretty well. After decades of decline the larger cities of the UK were once more thriving and we recognised their success in our awards. This was not only in the cities category but also neighbourhoods, streets and places within those cities. We had also recognised successful towns, of course, but these were generally historic affluent places. What we had not appreciated was that the success of these places has not been part of a general urban renaissance. It has rather been at the expense of other towns and smaller cities that have become the ‘left behind places’. As I write this I notice that the Observer has a piece by Julian Coman that makes the same point. In an article entitled ‘How the Megacities of Europe stole a continent’s wealth’, he quotes an affluent resident of Milan saying: “Its a kind of natural selection that goes on, creating a community which is much more European, open and tolerant in its mindset. Milan is not Italy.” He refers to a report published last year by the Centre for European Reform which describes a ‘sorting’ of population. The young, educated and affluent are increasingly being sucked out of smaller cities and industrial towns into larger cities. These large cities are not only far more affluent than their neighbouring cities, they are also more multicultural and tolerant. So for the last three years the Academy has tried to broaden its reach. We have widened the scope of the awards by looking at post-war places in 2017, post-industrial places last year and inclusive places this year. We have been working with the Local Trust to run a series of pilot workshops in some of the most deprived estates in the country (and will hopefully do a larger programme next year). We also focused our Eindhoven congress on social and affordable housing and are planning a follow up event after Christmas. This issue of Here & Now picks up on these issues with a series of articles on creating inclusive cities. The Observer article describes how the Milanese Democratic party drew up a map of the Lombardy Region. It showed how constituencies in Milan, and anywhere with a fast transit connection into the city, tended to vote for the left while everywhere else voted for the right and increasingly for the far right. The same maps can be drawn in the UK and explain the Brexit vote. We can celebrate the renaissance of multicultural, tolerant, cities but we can’t forget about everywhere else. David Rudlin AoU Chair
Join The Academy of Urbanism on LinkedIn, Facebook and Flickr
Chair’s introduction 1
Support the Academy Sponsor one or more of our programmes. Please contact Linda Gledstone on +44 (0) 20 7251 8777.
Principal Sponsor Grosvenor Core Sponsors Alan Baxter Lewis Hubbard Engineering Markides Associates Reddy Architecture + Urbanism Awards Sponsors JTP Savills U+I Event Sponsors David Lock Associates Milton Keynes Council MKDP MK Gallery Perkins+Will Young Urbanist Sponsors Space Syntax Foster + Partners 2019 Congress Sponsors Eindhoven City Council BPD Arup METREX Pollard Thomas Edwards TOWN Supporters in kind Jas Atwal Associates Lathams London Festival of Architecture Monocle Place Images Prentis & Co. rtu. Rob Thompson Sarah Jarvis Space Syntax Steven Bee Urban Counsel URBED Wolfstrome
There can be many ways that an urban environment might exclude people whether intentionally or unintentionally. The question that we address in this issue is how we can make urban environments more inclusive. One key strategy is to give people agency – whether it is involving them in decisions to including them in practical actions – and this is picked up in our ‘In Focus’ section. A question often asked is why people might live in one place rather than another? The Economist Intelligence Unit recently published its Global Liveability Index for 2019 which shows that Vienna tops the list for a second year running, with Melbourne in second place. Indeed, Australia has three cities in the top ten including Sydney and Adelaide. Canada also has three, Japan has two including Tokyo, and Denmark has one. The index is dominated by medium-sized cities in wealthy countries which, says the report “… have well-funded public healthcare systems, compulsory and high-quality education, and functional road and rail infrastructure”. The report also suggests that the presence of Tokyo in the top ten shows that it is possible to scale up the characteristics. However, there are many characteristics that make cities liveable. As Nicholas Falk AoU points out, award-winning cities such as Copenhagen or Vienna are among the happiest places to live and work because they are much more equal, with much lower housing costs. Nicholas goes on to draw some conclusions from recent publications on what can be done to create healthier as well as more sustainable cities. But we should consider the smaller scale too. Urban places work because of the communities that exist and are connected. The Green Hands project seeks to connect communities with their local green spaces for the physical and mental health benefits that these provide. As Hannah Southern, Mina Manik and Naheed Hassan explain, there are a lot of small pockets of disused space in neighbourhoods which can be reused, thereby contributing to health and wellbeing of people and communities. Imagine if you could measure the attractiveness of places. Well it turns out that you can, as Nicholas Boys-Smith AoU describes how a machine-learning algorithm was used to rate the beauty of outdoor images and predict which environments people prefer. With this information, Nicholas sets out ten steps to follow for designing places that are popular with more people. Clare San Martin AoU revisited the historic Liberties area of south-central Dublin to find out what has changed a full decade after the city council adopted a Local Area Plan (LAP) for the neighbourhood, gathered around its Guinness brewery. Much of the historic city of Ljubljana has been successfully rejuvenated in recent times. In March, the Academy visited the Slovenian capital and led a workshop with the city’s Department for Urban Planning to look at how to better integrate its central railway and bus station into the city. We report on how this went. Alastair Blyth AoU Editor
2 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
The Academy in action! Housing has been a big topic for the Academy over the last six months, with three different conferences looking at different aspects of global housing issues. May saw us in Milton Keynes exploring the role of design in building homes in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc; June took us to Eindhoven to address the affordable housing crisis, and September brought us to Glasgow to further consider the essential role adequate housing plays in quality city living. Over the summer, Academicians and Young Urbanists took part in the assessment visits for the Urbanism Awards, which this year is themed on inclusivity. The Young Urbanists also cycled from Vienna to Bratislava to experience the transport infrastructure and quality of life that comes from well-thought out urban planning. If you have an idea for an event or activity the Academy should be focusing on, contact Stephen Gallagher, director of engagement: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorâ€™s introduction | AoU in Action 3
CONGRESS A PLACE TO CALL HOME The Academy’s annual Congress went to Eindhoven to discuss affordable housing, bringing together urbanists from a range of backgrounds to explore this issue facing so many towns and cities across the world. Eindhoven – a previous 2017 European City of the Year finalist – is a former industrial powerhouse that suffered decline in the 1990s after the loss of the city’s two major companies, Philips and DAF Trucks, resulting in 50 per cent of jobs disappearing almost overnight. Since then the city has reinvented itself to become a vibrant city of technologically driven innovation and collaboration, focusing on technological solutions for worldwide challenges such as mobility, energy and health. Today it is a bustling city in transition, with a constant flow of new developments in creativity, innovation, technology, design and knowledge. It’s now booming tech industry is drawing in new talent from around the world. Eindhoven is facing the urgent challenge of providing affordable housing for its fast-growing population, making it an excellent place to explore this subject. Speaking at the Congress, Eindhoven’s mayor John Jorritsma recognised the biggest challenge over the next 20 years is balancing the city and creating an inclusive place that works for all. The city is planning 40,000 dwellings over the next 15 years and wants to work with developers who contribute to social value and not just their pocket! Other inspirational talks included Yasin Torunoglu, deputy mayor for housing, Bert Jan Woertman from TU/e Innovation Space on ‘the most innovative city in the world’, and city marketer Peter Kentie on using Eindhoven’s strong brand to engage local citizens.
machine room, which has been left as is, unpolished, with the original paint, industrial machinery and vintage furniture. International speakers from Copenhagen, Helsinki, Rotterdam, Seoul and Zurich gave their perspectives on tackling affordable housing in their respective cities. Elina Eskelä shared Helsinki’s public sector led approach to housing which is focused on stable, long-term housing policy and land ownership, whilst Dr Jennifer Duyne Barenstein shared lessons from the housing cooperative model in Zurich. The keynote speaker was Lord Richard Best, chair of the Affordable Housing Commission, who treated guests to a history lesson on the last 50 years of affordable housing in England and how the stock of council and housing association homes in the country has halved from 34 per cent to 17 per cent since 1969.
In Eindhoven, the world’s first 3D printed concrete houses will be built, and delegates were able to explore these innovations at the Weber Beamix and BAM Infra facility. The conference also featured tours of Eindhoven’s housing projects in Woensel-West as well as former industrial sites, Strijp S, T and R where old Philips factories have been transformed into trendy shops, exceptional restaurants, luxury lofts and creative workplaces. Perhaps nowhere was Eindhoven’s industrial heritage more apparent than the spectacular Radio Royaal restaurant based in a former Philip’s 4 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 8 | | Autumn Winter 2019 2016
Breakout sessions looked at new directions in affordable housing; exploring how local authorities and the public sector organisations are responding to the affordable housing crisis, community-led housing models and affordability in terms of design and liveability. The factors that make a place liveable can also contribute to it being unaffordable. A workshop hosted by C: Lab at Buro Happold explored the interaction between liveability and affordability, and sought to develop interventions for neighbourhoods that can have a positive impact on both. A recurring theme was the issue of a commodified housing market. CEO of Urbandustrial and former chief executive of Trudo housing association, Thom Aussems’ position is that housing cannot be both a good investment and affordable. As well as inclusionary zoning and rent control, he argues that we need a paradigm shift; back to a local market, keeping land outside the economy, taxing unimproved capital value, limiting financial innovation and extending and improving not for profit housing.
around the town centre gave us plenty of opportunity to talk with our hosts about plans for the town centre which boasts a wide range of colourful independent shops. We were shown where new housing is going up adjacent to shopping streets and our hosts talked us through planned traffic calming.
URBANISM AWARDS ASSESSMENT VISITS
providing documents to add context and further insights.
The Great Town Award would perhaps be better named the Great Town and Small City Award, as the category is about the size of the place rather than whether it is technically a town or city.
Here are a few of the highlights of our town visits. And if you haven’t been on an awards assessment visit yet – shame on you – and I hope these snippets inspire you to come next year.
In any one year the shortlisted towns may be very different from each other. But that is one of the strengths of the Urbanism Awards. This is not a competition between places but an award scheme to showcase best practice to inspire others. We want to understand how places are tackling their challenges and what fresh thinking they can bring to the debate about how to create great places. Having said that, I’m always intrigued to find there are similarities between shortlisted towns in any particular year. This year was no exception. Dundee, Penzance and Brighton all have a seafront that brings a shared history of seafaring, international trading and being ‘on the edge’. Today that history has translated into resourceful outward looking communities that celebrate new thinking.
In Dundee, the assessment team had an opportunity to explore the emerging new waterfront regeneration and take a tour of the V&A building, designed by Kengo Kuma. Dundee is Scotland’s only Go Ultra Low City and poised to become a model city for the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). We were taken to a station with recharging capabilities for different types of EV. The irony that the space had previously been a petrol station was not lost on us. We also took a trip to a neighbourhood community centre that provides learning and meeting spaces and is home to a range of support groups. It was fascinating to talk to the team managing the centre about how it is used for the community and run by them.
As always, key individuals in each town put considerable time into planning talks and visits for the assessment team. We are hugely grateful to our hosts for sharing their knowledge and insight, and for answering the wideranging questions from an enthusiastic assessment team so honestly. One of the challenges for the host town is deciding what to include on the day’s itinerary. A day is never sufficient, and the assessment team always leave wanting more. We go back to each town with requests for further information. This year, our town hosts excelled in
Our second visit was to Penzance, the most westerly major town in Cornwall. Its history as a mercantile and fishing port has left a legacy of good quality historic buildings and streets leading up from its beaches. I was excited to hear that the pirate’s tunnels still exist beneath the town, and it was not hard to imagine pirates meeting at the ancient inn where the assessment team met for dinner the previous evening. We visited The Jubilee Pool, the UK’s largest art deco sea water lido which has been restored to a very high-quality and is run by and for the community. It is one of several key projects in the Neighbourhood Plan – Reconnecting with the Sea. An accompanied walk
And finally to Brighton, known as a rainbow city because of its reputation for tolerance and cosmopolitanism, we also discovered it has the only UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve located in a city. We took a trip up the i360 to take a high view of the seafront and understand how the beach businesses are managed to ensure a mix of uses that serve the community as well as visitors. Back down on the ground we went on a hard hat visit to West Street Shelter Hall, that is being renovated, and then on to visit New England House, an eight-story building opened in 1963 which is the first purpose built high rise industrial business centre but, though still in use, now requires urgent repairs. We met with one company working with the council looking at creative ways to utilise the space to realise its potential. Back at my desk, with the unenviable task of writing up the reports, I reflected that our visits this year had been particularly varied and innovative. All worthy winners! Michele Grant AoU is director of Blue Sail, a destination consultancy, director of The Academy of Urbanism and lead assessor for The Great Town Award.
Editor’s introduction | AoU in Action 5
Design for Living conference at MK Gallery in Milton Keynes
DESIGN FOR LIVING In the lead up to Milton Keynes’ Festival of Creative Urban Living, The Academy of Urbanism collaborated with Milton Keynes Council and MK Gallery to deliver a conference to feed into the debate on the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and the implications of plans to build a million homes throughout the arc by 2050. The two-day event began with an afternoon of tours around both central and wider Milton Keynes, exploring the how key buildings and spaces have developed over time within the city’s modernist grid as well as visiting wider areas such as Netherfield and Wolverton. Delegates also had the opportunity to use the city’s extensive Redway Cycle Network to look at the eastern quarter of Milton Keynes where large scale urban extensions are being implemented, and consider the natural and historic environment of Milton Keynes and how these assets were cleverly integrated to establish a thriving city set within a rich and varied landscape. The second day focused on planning for regional growth, housing innovation and masterplanning new neighbourhoods. Andy von Bradsky AoU, head of architecture at Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, discussed the governments approach to building on the architectural heritage, sustainability and quality at the heart at Oxford-Cambridge Arc. Speakers on the day included Sue Riddlestone OBE AoU, CEO and cofounder of BioRegional on designing in sustainability from the start and Mattijs van Ruijven AoU, head of city planning at Rotterdam on rebuilding the city in a modern way to maintain high quality of living.
Former mayoral candidate and chief planner for Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat AoU gave the keynote presentation on transformational placemaking. Jennifer stressed the importance of changing the conversation to change the city, intention and reaching a new generation. “The places we design and build either contribute to the flourishing of our societies, and our long-term sustainability, or detract from them,” said Keesmaat. “The problem is there isn’t a half way. Unfortunately a lot of places have been getting it only part way right and we can no longer afford to do this”.
UNECE GLASGOW CONFERENCE ON CITY LIVING The Academy of Urbanism collaborated with Glasgow City Council and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee on Housing and Land Management to deliver UNECE Glasgow conference on City Living. The UNECE is one of five global economic and social commissions within the United Nations and is therefore very influential in terms of contributing to major UN policy documents such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda, Transforming Our World – Agenda 2030, and the 2013 Charter on Sustainable Housing. The conference set out to discuss progress in achieving access to affordable and decent housing for all in the UNECE region through the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing; best practices for the implementation of these agreements at local, national and international
6 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 8 | | Autumn Winter 2019 2016
Jennifer Keesmaat AoU
levels; including Glasgow’s role in the UK as an exemplar of best practice in community-owned and managed housing. The event featured internationally renowned speakers including James Stockard, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, who looked at differences in ‘liveability’ between Massachusetts and Scotland, and Pam Warhurst CBE, the inspiration behind the Incredible Edible initiative in Yorkshire, on the importance and opportunity of community growing. Taking place at Glasgow Caledonian University and New Gorbals Housing Association, delegates had the opportunity to see social housing in the area before going to other parts of the city to see homes built by other community-led housing associations. The Glasgow Place Commission, led by Glasgow’s first city urbanist Professor Brian Evans AoU and supported by a number of leading independent commissioners, was launched at the conference alongside a partnership between The Academy of Urbanism and the Glasgow Urban Laboratory to support, develop and grow support for urbanism and urbanists in Scotland. The event launched a draft Glasgow Declaration on City Living which was was sent to the UNECE Committee for Housing and Land Management.
MAKING PLACES BETTER – THE PAISLEY PILOT What makes a great town centre? The Academy, in collaboration with the Revo Network (Retail, Property, Community) and Threesixty Architecture hosted a lively evening event in Glasgow to explore this question.
Focusing on the working being undertaken in Paisley, Alan Antony of Threesixty Architecture presented their strategic vision for the town to create an ‘open Paisley’ through a series of physical and cultural moves. Heather Claridge AoU shared the five learning moments drawn from Paisley’s success as Great Town 2019 winner at the Urbanism Awards. These ranged from the using culture and heritage to redefine Paisley’s narrative to encouraging greater town centre living for an ageing population. In addition, Phil Prentice, chief officer from Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) offered insight into the national landscape of town centres and the development of Business Improvement Districts to be more inclusive. The event was rounded off by a spirited panel discussion on the future role and direction of town centres. The panel was made up of Professor Brian Evans AoU, Glasgow city urbanist and Glasgow Urban Lab/Glasgow School of Art; Leonie Bell, strategic lead at Paisley Partnership; Matthew Ogg, policy advisor at Revo; and Phil Prentice of STP. The panel discussion concluded by reflecting on the need to act in response to long-term changes such as demographic, climatic and technological but also ensure there is an agility to harness current and upcoming conditions. Heather Claridge AoU
SCHNITZEL AND SADDLE CYCLE TRIP This year, the Young Urbanists sent a group of 14 people to Vienna and Bratislava between 18-22 July for the ‘Schnitzel and Saddle’ annual cycle adventure. In Vienna, the group met
Petra Jens from the Mobility Agency to understand how wayfinding tools can make the city more walkable. Following the steps of the city’s pioneering history of social housing with ‘Red Vienna’ and gender mainstreaming, we had the honour of meeting Eva Kail and Ursula Bauer, who took the group through the city’s most innovative recent social housing, around Rudolf Bednar Park. After admiring a recent new neighbourhood at Aspen, we cycled east, towards Bratislava, a fascinating green and young European capital, which has transitioned from a communist economy to a ‘wild 1990s’ market expansion. In Bratislava we met Adam Berka, a young architect and city councillor who has at his heart the city’s transition towards a less carreliant future. Less than 100km away, Vienna and Bratislava both present interesting cycling infrastructure, and an excellent Eurovelo route linking the two capitals.
CREATIVE PLACES FOR PEOPLE – GOOD DESIGN AND POLICY SUPPORT Philip Jackson AoU presented an overview of major developments in the main cities of the Republic of Ireland and promoted the virtues of Town Teams of all disciplines coming together at an early stage to ensure good design. A panel discussion was chaired by AoU chair David Rudlin and included John Kelpie and Maura Fox from Derry City & Strabane District Council and Iain Greenway from the Historic Environment Division. The event prompted good feedback and a desire to have additional events of this nature, not least because the DerryLondonderry Area Plan to 2034 is currently going through due process. Watch this space.
Schnitzel and Saddle cycle trip
4X4 MANCHESTER: SIN CITY 4x4 Manchester is a series of fun and challenging talks about cities, of which the Academy is a key and ongoing partner. This year the theme was ‘Sin City?’ and they used the event to launch URBED+, an innovative model of collaboration between URBED and Manchester School of Architecture. Oliver Wainwright, architecture and design critic for the Guardian was the main speaker, elaborating on the themes covered in his article ‘Manchattan: how the city sold its soul for luxury skyscrapers’. The talk was followed up by a lively audience and panel debate with Shelagh McNerney, an independent built environment consultant formerly of Manchester City Council and Salford City Council, Jane Brake, a Manchester-based artist, and Ola Alade, a graduate surveyor for NHS Property. Watch the talks online at 4x4manchester.com
HUMANISING URBANISM Renowned architect Dr Rasem Badran, who is a permanent member of the International Academy of Architecture, shared his approach to the design of cities and buildings, influenced by the art, culture and experiences that have shaped his life. The talk was hosted at the impressive new studio of JTP in London’s Wapping, and was organised by Dr Husam AlWaer AoU in collaboration with University of Dundee and Urban Design Group.
Housing near Rudolf Bednar Park
Editor’s introduction | AoU in Action 7
Shaping better and healthier cities At a time when local authorities seem to have so little power, Nicholas Falk AoU looks at how cities can shape their future.
The National Audit Officeâ€™s report assessing the governmentâ€™s performance on building new homes concludes that local authorities should not take the blame when so much is outside their control1. The report rightly recommends looking at the way infrastructure is financed, as this is not only critical to overcoming local objections but exceeds the cost of constructing each new house2.
the rest. The Policy Exchange and McKinsey both estimated ÂŁ500bn is needed simply to tackle the backlog, so most government offers of capital funding are quite inadequate, based as they are on backing particular projects, like Crossrail, rather than funding investment programmes from which an economic return might be expected34. Therefore, we need to learn from what successful cities in other countries do.
However, national investment in infrastructure has long been only half the equivalent in France or Germany, and the National Infrastructure Commission reckons that only a little over 40 per cent can come from taxation, with private finance covering
As I have argued in reports for the UK2070 Commission and recently for the TCPA on Sharing the Uplift in Land Values, faster growing economies give local authorities greater powers to join up development and infrastructure5. Rebalancing Britain depends on
Trumpington Meadows, Cambridge
shifting the way we tax or charge wealth, which is a more fundamental question than how to double the amount of housing we build each year. Award-winning cities such as Copenhagen, Freiburg or Vienna are among the happiest places to live and work because they are much more equal, with much lower housing costs. Public transport plus cycling accounts for two-thirds of journeys to work, which seems almost inconceivable outside cities such as London where the car generally dominates. This is because local authorities have much more control over land, and take the lead in promoting urban extensions, which are much healthier as well as more sustainable than our car-based housing estates6. So could part of the answer lie in how we grow our mid-sized towns and cities with most potential? A series of books and reports offer useful evidence. Climax cities Politicians as well as planners should pay attention to the sobering conclusions in a new book by David Rudlin AoU and Shruti Hemani based on their analysis of figureground plans at a series of scales from cities around the world. The book illustrates half of the 35 cities they have examined. The most interesting plans in my view are the Trellis plans that take a 10 km radius or 4,000 ha area around the centre, and which contrast buildings with roads and other space surrounding them7. The most recent cities such as Milton Keynes are the most wasteful of
8 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 8 | | Autumn Winter 2019 2016
Policy Focus Report • Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Making Room for a Planet of Cities
Shlomo Angel with Jason Parent, Daniel l. Civco, and Alejandro m. Blei
Climax City by David Rudlin AoU and Shruti Hemani
space (unlike the cities we enjoy most, such as Paris). This is because priority was given to getting around fast by private car when MK’s Development Corporation departed from the original principles set out in the Llewellyn Davies masterplan. By contrast, it is much more attractive to cycle in Copenhagen where parking provision has been cut back, or to use public transport in most continental cities with greater densities. Getting into shape As well as densities or floor area ratios, urbanists need to understand the ‘urban form’ or shape that cities take as they grow (or decline), as this is something that planners can influence through investment in public transport. Fat cities with holes in the middle, like Detroit, inevitably lead to longer and more expensive journeys to jobs while trapping the poor in the worst places. A free download from NYU-based expert on urban development Shlomo Angel brings together statistical data on over a hundred cities round the world in Making Room for a Planet of Cities8. He considers factors such as density and dispersal, as well as what he calls the ‘fragmentation of city footprints’, and his conclusion is that there is simply not enough room in cities in emerging economies such as in Asia to handle the projected population expansion. He rejects the model of the European
Making Room for a Planet of Cities by Shlomo Angel
‘compact city’ in favour of planned growth on the edges by investing in advance in the land needed to build a peripheral kilometre grid, which incidentally was the model used in Milton Keynes. A very different view is taken by architect Brian Love, whose book, Connected Cities, makes the case for growing towns and cities along the existing railway lines. He has demonstrated the potential of areas surrounding London, such as Hertfordshire, where many of the original garden cities and new towns are located. Another useful picture is provided in Professor Michael Batty’s latest book on the future of smart cities9. Mike is particularly interested in geometric relations, such as the ‘fractal city’, and recognises, like Shlomo Angel, that land area requirements can far exceed the growth in population. He praises URBED’s Uxcester Garden City model, which updates Ebenezer Howard’s original diagrams, and offers a range of other models. However, he concludes that it is impossible to know what the future will bring. Not only are so many different factors at work, but who can say what values will ultimately prevail? Yet, as the science fiction writer William Gibson wisely observes: ‘The future is already here; it is just
not evenly distributed’. Cities, like companies, compete for investment, and can learn from each other. So with the benefit of having visited and given awards to so many cities and places, what could The Academy of Urbanism contribute? One modest set of suggestions is set out in a timely report, principally drawn up by Jon Rowland AoU but with a lot of help from other urbanists10. The report proposes adopting a simple set of principles, with four recommendations to: 1. Reform strategic planning 2. Raise the standard of design 3. Open up new markets 4. Make housing affordable A practical example comes from Cambridge, which my recent review ten years after the Quality Charter and related panel were launched shows, is well accepted by the development industry. Indeed, the Southern Fringe includes recent housing that could have come from the Netherlands11. However, a cautionary book from World Bank economist and planner Alain Bertaud combines economics and urbanism to question whether planners can do much to change market trends and consumer behaviour. The most desirable cities such as Vancouver, Melbourne and San Francisco have price-to-income ratios for housing that are twice those of sprawling cites such as Atlanta and Dallas, while London Editor’s Shaping introduction better and| healthier AoU in Action cities 9
and New York come in the middle. He concludes that the best way of making housing affordable is to focus on transport, and that artificial constraints such as green belts or density ratios are counterproductive. Achieving good urban form With so many pressures on planning, and so little power to combat the forces of either money or traffic engineering, how can urbanists enable towns and cities to change direction? Here are four suggestions from my own experience of learning from cities that have transformed large areas, and others can be found in Charles Landry’s excellent booklet Cities of Ambition12. Start with connectivity Instead of infrastructure following on from development it should play a leading role in planning where new development is located and how car dependence can be minimised. The experience of how the Netherlands planned a hundred VINEX new suburbs is particularly relevant, as those who attended the AoU Congess in Eindhoven can testify. As there are some 2,500 railway stations, plus perhaps another 150 where a new station could be justified, by focusing at first on land within 400 km of the station, a transformation could be achieved. Measure what counts Too often quality suffers because it is intangible and hard to value, like
truth and justice. But the components can be identified and analysed, as Tim Pharoah is suggesting in a checklist produced for Transport for New Homes. By simply starting with the principles of holding car mileage constant, as Freiburg successfully did, a modal shift could be achieved which would be healthier for all. Learn from what works The most effective way of changing attitudes is to take mixed groups to places that face similar challenges but that have adopted different solutions. A good example is the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust’s scheme at Derwenthorpe, which benefitted before it was built from the Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods Network, but also from a visit to some Dutch new planned suburbs13. Go for fishbones, not grids The final idea, which the URBED Trust is developing as a research project with the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis is to design sustainable urban neighbourhoods that support both public transport and walking or cycling, rather than car use. Can the rapidly growing and aspirational middle class in countries such as India be persuaded to share cars or public transport? It would be interesting to get others’ views on this under-researched subject.
Dr Nicholas Falk AoU is executive director of The URBED Trust
Aerial of Rieselfeld, Freiburg
1. National Audit Office, Planning for New Homes, February 2019 2. Nicholas Falk, The Steps towards Quality Growth: towards a new business model for housebuilding, report for Cambridgeshire Horizons, 2010 3. National Infrasturcture Assessment, 2019 4. Dieter Helm et al, Delivering a 21st Century Infrastructure for Britain, Policy Exchange 2009 5. Nicholas Falk, Sharing the Uplift in Land Values: a better system for funding and delivering housing growth, Town and Country Planning, August 2019: urbedtrust.com/sharing-the-uplift-in-landvalues-tcpa-policy-paper 6. Transport for New Homes Project and Summary, 2018: transportfornewhomes.org 7. David Rudlin and Shruti Hemani, Climax City: masterplanning and the complexity of urban growth, RIBA 2019 8. citeseerx.ist.psu.edu. 9. Michael Batty, Inventing Future Cities, MIT 2018 10. AoU housing report 11. Refreshing the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth, urbedtrust.co.uk 12. charleslandry.com/blog/cities-ofambition 13. Solutions: how can local authorities build sustainable urban neighbourhoods, 2012, JRF and URBED Trust
10 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 8 14 | | Autumn Winter 2019 2016
Learning from Ljubljana Much of the historic city of Ljubljana has been successfully rejuvenated in recent times. In March, The Academy of Urbanism visited the city and led a workshop with the Department for Urban Planning to look at how to better integrate its central railway and bus station into the city. Liljana Jankovič Grobelšek, head of the Planning Office in the Department for Urban Planning, and Miran Gajšek, head of the Department for Urban Planning, take up the story.
Active development and renovation of Ljubljana
Pictures after renovation: Prešeren Square and Triple Bridge pedestrian area. Fish sculpture on Gallus embankment © City of Ljubljana
Over the past 13 years, Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana and its city centre, has experienced a bona fide renaissance under its mayor, Zoran Janković. The banks of the Ljubljanica River have been renovated. Many previously traffic-heavy areas have been transformed into spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. Parking has mostly been removed from streets and squares into new underground garages. Remarkably, areas with no motor traffic have increased six-fold since 2006. A new recreational area was created north of the city, near the Sava River. Social housing, communal areas in district centres, new cycling routes and much more is being built. Sustainable measures affecting the structure of the city and leading to an improved quality of life have brought numerous awards, including the European Prize
for Urban Public Space 2012, European Green Capital 2016 and shortlisting as a European City of the Year finalist at the 2018 Urbanism Awards. Ljubljana is a historic city. Its first known inhabitants, the pile-dwellers, populated marshes to the south 5000 years ago; the world’s oldest wooden wheel (3200 BC) was recently found on the Ljubljana Marshes. The main southeast avenue of Ljubljana is built on top of the ancient Roman Cardo Maximus. The city’s medieval structure, still perfectly preserved today, was formed in the 11th century, with baroque, neo-classical, art nouveau and modern layers added over the years. Even today, Ljubljana still has six main avenues facing four European regions: Mediterranean, Alpine, Central Europe and Southeast Europe. Spatial planning guides the spatial development of Ljubljana Slovenia’s stable, yet still posttransitional, circumstances dictate the importance of the active presence of city planners. The spatial development of more important areas is regulated by the detailed municipal spatial plans, which may be commissioned by various investors, but are guided by the city and confirmed by the council. The drafting of the municipal spatial plan (MSP) is a continuous and active planning process. It was implemented in 2010, but has already been revised and amended three times – in 2013, 2015 and 2018 – due to constant changes and new demands. In the autumn of 2019, we have begun drafting the fourth revision of the MSP.
Shaping better and healthier Editor’s citiesintroduction | Learning |from AoULjubljana in Action 11
The primary objectives of Ljubljana’s spatial development, as set out in the strategic plan, are: • Quality upgrades to previously urbanised areas, the regeneration of degraded urban areas and urban sprawl, and the completion of the public social and economic infrastructure •
The construction of a durable city, adapted to climate change, and assurances of the rehabilitation of buildings and areas that pose a threat to inhabitants’ health
• The encouragement and promotion of the sustainable use of space, with construction outside of populated areas only permitted in exceptional cases •
The observance of the principles of rational spatial use, the long- term safe supply of natural drinkable water, effective energy consumption, sustainable mobility, the conserv- ation of green areas, the implementation of environmentally-friendly solutions and the encouragement of local self-sufficiency.
The Academy of Urbanism and City of Ljubljana workshop The City of Ljubljana Department for Urban Planning organised a workshop during the visit of the delegation of the The Academy of Urbanism (AoU) to Ljubljana in March 2019. The aim of the workshop was to gain the perspectives and suggestions of our fellow urbanists from the AoU for Ljubljana’s greatest unrealised challenge: the central railway and bus station (Ljubljana Passenger Centre) and Ljubljana Railway junction. The project relates to a longstanding dilemma: is Slovenia ready for and capable of extending the railway into a tunnel under the city centre? The issue was raised by Ljubljana’s urbanists Miran Gajšek, Liljana Jankovič Grobelšek and Irena Ostojić. Sufficient traffic connectivity is necessary in the Ljubljana urban region, Slovenia and Europe. As the capital of a European Union member state, Ljubljana must consolidate its strategic position in the EU cities’ network and beyond, so that it can be active in the area of territorial cooperation. Ljubljana is the only EU capital being involved in three EU macro regional strategies: Alpine, Danube and Adriatic Ionian.
City’s strategic municipal spatial plan: Guidelines for urban and landscape design (2010, 2018) © City of Ljubljana.
Increased traffic flow due to daily migrations and international transit must be supported by the development of public passenger transport, primarily rail transport. This should be a national-level priority, supported by the government and included in the country’s spatial and traffic policies. Appropriate measures should be introduced or implemented as soon as possible. In reality, however, the projects in question are at a standstill. The Ljubljana railway station, modern when it was built in the 19th century, is now outdated. The railway infrastructure is insufficient for modern traffic demands and ecological standards. The nearby bus station is much the same. For this reason, the City of Ljubljana urges to the Ministry of Infrastructure that Slovenia should prioritise the modernisation of its railway network so that it caters for most passenger and cargo transport, rather than the motorways. Ljubljana, the hub of two EU core network corridors, the BalticAdriatic and the Mediterranean, must have a modern railway connection between Ljubljana Airport and the port of Koper in the northern Adriatic. The Ljubljana railway junction is a key project for both Ljubljana and Slovenia. It includes extending the railway underground, and building a new, modern railway and bus station.
12 12 Here Here& &Now Now || AoU AoUJournal JournalNo. No.14 8 || Autumn Winter 2019 2016
Other aboveground railway branches, the areas adjacent can be considered degraded areas, should be used for the regional light rail (S-Bahn) system. Despite the city’s efforts, starting with an international urban design competition in 2002, these major projects are not moving forward. During the discussions with visiting members from the Academy, and Mayor Zoran Janković, we were urged to ‘think big!’ on the Ljubljana passenger centre – as Bilbao did with its Guggenheim Museum – making it the focus of a new urban centre north of the medieval core, and set up a new organisation to implement the project. It was also stressed that land ownership and control were crucial, as shown by the examples of Helsinki, Barcelona, and Haussmann’s renovation of Paris. The discussion emphasised the synergy of the projects on the railway infrastructure development axis in the east–west direction located north of the old city centre. Its core is the Ljubljana passenger centre project, in connection with the Ljubljana railway junction project. Logistical activities are being developed on the eastern side of this development axis. The detailed municipal spatial plan for the railroad terminal and intermodal logistic centre have been approved by the City in 2017 (the main investors being Slovenian
Railways, BTC and Mercator retail). Ten years earlier, the City had organised an international urban design competition for ‘Šmartinska partnership development’, which paved the way for the development of business, service, commercial and recreational activities in the vast area of BTC previously used for storage warehouses. North of the Ljubljana passenger centre, the City has already drafted a detailed municipal spatial plan for the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. In addition to the aforementioned projects, the Ljubljana passenger centre with the Ljubljana railway junction is the focal point of Ljubljana’s further development into a modern EU capital city. Development on this infrastructure axis will bring Ljubljana in line with Europe in the areas of sustainable traffic, transport and logistics. This is dictated and encouraged by the city’s position on the Baltic-Adriatic and the Mediterranean.
City’s strategic municipal spatial plan: railway infrastructure on the Baltic-Adriatic and Mediterranean corridors (former TEN-T) (2010, 2018) © City of Ljubljana.
The members of the Academy emphasised in their conclusion that Ljubljana already has several remarkable arrangements in place. The beauty of European cities, such as Ljubljana, is one of Europe’s advantages. With projects as large as these, a true relationship between pragmatic flexibility and rigid rules is crucial. The predominant opinion was that Slovenia will likely not be able to implement the Ljubljana passenger centre project (an estimated value of 300,000 million euros) with the Ljubljana railway junction (with an estimated value of 2 to 3 billion euros) projects by itself. International participation, as well as the acquisition of funds from the European Union, is thus required to put Ljubljana on European and world maps for transport and logistics.
3 4 2 1
Ljubljana’s railway infrastructure development axis:
Liljana Jankovič Grobelšek is head of the Planning Office in the Department for Urban Planning at the City of Ljubljana. Miran Gajšek is head of the Department for Urban Planning
1. Ljubljana passenger centre 2. Rail-road terminal and Intermodal logistic centre 3. BTC and the ‘Šmartinska partnership’ 4. Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre
This workshop was attended by members of The Academy of Urbanism: Nazaket Azmili, Steven Bee AoU, Sarah Farrugia AoU, Linda Gledstone, Grace Manning-Marsh AoU, Aleksandra Milentijevic, David Rudlin AoU and Jef Smith AoU
Learning| from Editor’s introduction AoULjubljana in Action 13
Of streets and squares What does the data from the largest ever empirical study of place quality tell us about which public places people want to be in and why? Nicholas Boys Smith AoU has the answers. ‘The art of architecture studies not structure in itself,’ wrote the English historian and poet Geoffrey Scott, ‘but the effect of structure on the human spirit’. I wish he was right. Even now, despite an explosion in the ease with which urban data can be accessed and analysed, too little of what is written about ‘good design’ is empiricallybased. This matters. It’s not for nothing that key bodies such as HM Treasury or major pension fund investors continue to ignore much that designers and urbanists write. For Create Streets’ latest study, Of Streets and Squares, we asked the basic questions: what turns space that is public into a public space? Why are
some streets and squares valued, yet others shunned? Why do people tend to prefer some places rather than others? How does this affect their behaviour? But we did so empirically. We read existing numerical research into why people like some squares and streets. We conducted carefully controlled visual preferences surveys with Ipsos-MORI on a sample of 2,000 into preferred spaces and facades. And for our principle research, which we termed our Place Beauty Analysis, we combined a machine-learning algorithm developed by Create Streets’ fellow, Dr Chanuki Seresinhe, with Create Streets GIS data analysis. This algorithm can rate the beauty, or ‘scenic-ness’ of outdoor images. It has featured in Nature magazine and was trained on over 200,000 images of Great Britain rated over 1.5 million times, by over 20,000 people. It is able to predict, with a high degree of accuracy, which environments most people prefer, due to their appearance. We ‘dropped’ this tool into 18,966 places, took four images via Google street view and then performed a regression analysis, linking the algorithm’s findings to the form, nature,
Variety in a pattern © Adam Architecture
14 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 8 || Autumn Spring 2019 2016
age and shape of the immediately surrounding city. Among our key criteria were how densely built an area is; the proportion of historic buildings; the richness of land uses and of commercial activities; and the presence of urban furniture, like benches and fountains. Our data was primarily sourced from the Ordnance Survey, from the Consumer Data Research Centre and from Open Street Map. What did we find? Well, using our evidence, we set our ten steps that anyone should normally follow, if they wish to design places that are popular with more people, more of the time. Some will be very familiar territory to good urbanists. Some may be a little more challenging. Here they are: 1. Gentle density is your friend – but ‘fine grain’ it! The best and most beautiful streets are typically in areas of ‘gentle density’, half-way between the extremes of tower block and extended suburbia. They are rarely more than three to seven storeys high, with a land-use coverage between 45 and 65 per cent and dwelling density of between 50 and 150 homes per hectare. Squares
between 80 and 100 metres wide and blocks between 50 and 150 metres long (depending on centrality) are normally best. 2. When it comes to greenery, little and often’s normally best. People like being in green places. Urban greenery is associated with increased physical and mental wellbeing, as long as it is used. You can maximise this by ‘spreading it around’, with frequent green spaces inter-weaved into streets and squares. Street trees are normally a no-brainer. However, greenery on its own does not normally ‘do it’, if most other things are wrong. Squares can be lovely, popular, relaxing places, without a blade of grass in sight – above all, if the buildings are beautiful and the micro-climate is neither too hot, nor too cold. 3. Benches and statues should be structured, not randomised. Where seating is matters. Horizontal infrastructure, with a bit of structure, helps humans play the right roles: benches that face a fountain; an arcade that faces a square, with a statue or a podium in it. Brownian motion should not apply to the horizontal infrastructure. You cannot put ‘bench wash’ on an ugly, windy chasm, or ‘art wash’ on a traffic island. Or, you can, but most people will still avoid them. The best squares typically have an average sitting area of between 6 and 10 per cent of the total open space. 4. Beauty really really matters. The most popular places with a predictable 70-90 per cent of the population have a strong sense of place and ‘could not be anywhere.’ They have ‘active facades’ that ‘live’ and have variety in a pattern. They have streets that bend and flex with the contours of the landscape. They are not designed by committee. More finely-grained developments tend to be more long-lasting and resilient, better able to adapt to changing needs. Their coherent complexity interests and reassures. Most beautiful cities are intense, coherent and rich in architectural detail. Health correlates more with ‘scenic-ness’ than greenery. 5. Mix it up! Places with a textured mix of different land uses, and active façades, are nearly always more successful. They attract more people and generate more diverse and engaging environments.
They can work for longer portions of the day, by mixing people at work, people at lunch, people at home and people at play. Mixed land use is also more walkable and is associated with lower car use, as it is possible to combine trips more easily. In King County, Washington, residents in mixed-use neighbourhoods don’t use their car 12 per cent of the time, compared to 4 per cent of trips in single-use areas. We found that ‘richness of land uses’ influenced the perceived ‘scenic-ness’ of a street or square almost 60 per cent more than the average of all urban elements studied. 6. Edges attract and protect. The edges of streets and squares attract us. This is partly-lived experience. (It is where we are used to pavements going, even when a street is pedestrianised). But it is also sensory. There is more to look at (shop fronts, cafés) and (in a square) edges allow us to step back and either watch the world go past, or sample the space. 8 out of 10 people, in our sample, preferred to sit with their back against the wall and face to the court. 7. People like to feel enclosed… up to a point. Most people like to spend time in places that are enclosed and human scale, without feeling too claustrophobic. There is a necessary moment for views that open up as you round a corner, for grand vistas, for open parks, but many of the most popular streets surrounding and linking such views and vistas are surprisingly human-scale. Few of the most popular streets are wider than 30 metres or narrower than 11 metres. Popular wider streets (Paseo de Gracia or Champs-Elysees) normally ‘break up’ their width with avenues of trees. Many of the most popular squares and public spaces are between 50 and 100 metres in width. Street height-to-width ratio is normally best between 0.75 to 1.5. Most successful urban squares or plazas have a 1:3 to 1:2 height-to-width ratio. 8. It’s not what you spend, it’s where and how you spend it. Investing money in improving carriageways, pavements and horizontal infrastructure often works. Our Place Beauty Analysis found that investment in public realm was associated with increasing ‘scenicness.’ Normally, you should invest in
places where the ‘intrinsic’ quality of urban form and design are good, but poor maintenance, or poor-quality public realm, is needlessly letting them down. Also find tactical ways of improving streets, without big expenditure, and support communityled initiatives wherever possible. On average, in our sample, investment resulted in ‘scenic-ness’ increases of 0.46 or just under 14 per cent. 9. Walkability works, but does not quite mean maximising space to walk. Compact, walkable and ‘bikeable’ environments are good for you. People walk in them more and are healthier and happier. A complex array of elements encourages or discourages people walking or cycling rather than jumping in the car. More walking is encouraged by beautiful engaging façades, regularly spaced trees, and frequent small parks, the presence of resting places, arcades or colonnades at the edge of busy squares, outside cafes, sufficiently wide pavements and cycling lanes. Huge pavements with everything else wrong won’t necessarily be very attractive. Our Place Beauty Analysis found that the ‘Presence of footways’ influences ‘scenic-ness’ by almost 20 per cent more than the average of all urban elements studied. Normally you should design residential streets with a speed limit of 20 mph, continuous walkable environments that are more than 400 metres long and plant trees every 8 to 15 metres, depending on the street type. 10. Do people say they like it? And do they mean it? Design isn’t rocket science. We all spend time in towns, streets and squares. People are very good at judging what they like and where they want to be. And it is increasingly easy to use technology to map this. This can correct for the ‘design disconnect’ (the measurable difference between the design preferences of design professionals and everyone else) and help crowdsource making better places, which people really like.
Nicholas Boys Smith AoU is the founding director of Create Streets, a commissioner of Historic England and co-chair of the UK Government’s Building Better Building Beautiful Commission.
Of streets and squares 15
Improving green infrastructure with an unlikely coalition of allies Earlier this year, an unlikely group of allies joined forces to bring a common objective into reality. Hannah Southern, Mina Manik and Naheed Hassan explain how their social enterprise, Green Hands, aims to connect communities with their local green spaces for physical and mental health benefits.
Appearing at the birth of the modern environmental zeitgeist, and in line with the mayor’s London Environment Strategy, we’ve focused on the borough of Newham, a diverse and eclectic borough in London’s East End, the home of the 2012 Olympic Games, to set about our work. Newham falls within the five per cent most deprived areas in England. Green Hands, with a fundamental concern on the connections that exist between one’s built environment and social reality, have found particular interest in greening a 12,000 sq ft disused brownfield site in Custom House. Littered, neglected and attracting antisocial behaviour, this piece of land, a former council estate, has been barren and unused for years. The site is part of a ‘meanwhile space’ project that aims to place the Custom House community at the heart of a new model of regeneration. Spearheaded by Civic, an organisation leading community change projects with an international scope, this project in particular aims to use collective ownership of local spaces across a community to drive local pride and enterprise in the neighbourhood. There has been a rise in the establishment of meanwhile spaces up and down the country which have become vessels of innovative use of space, particularly in providing socio-economic value to a place. The project of greening this vacant 12,000 sq. ft piece of land has been handed to Green Hands, and we have stepped in with determination and enthusiasm. Our group of ‘unlikely allies’, as we’re aptly calling our team arrangement, is
Hannah Southern’s Herb workshop
being facilitated by Civic. Where else would you find an investment banker, a communications manager and a social historian all in one company and executing a green infrastructure regeneration project? Green Hands and Civic are working side by side with PEACH (People’s Empowerment Alliance for Custom House) and with local residents, business owners and influencers in the community. This is what we hope to see more of in the future; multi-disciplinary approaches to projects with the interests of the local community at the heart. Green Hands first formed from the theoretical underpinnings of one of our founders, Mina Manik, who spent time researching for the Urban Design for Mental Health (UDMH). In particular, Mina developed an interest in biophilic theories, which state the importance of human interaction with nature. This stems from the therapeutic benefits and meaning that we gain from our interactions with nature. This research hammered home the importance of local green spaces in a densely urban
16 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
environment such as London, and in particular, an incredibly deprived neighbourhood. With this in mind, as a team, we have delivered a number of environmentally-focused events with communities that directly helped improve participants’ mental health. We have particularly looked at parts of Newham which have been deprived of mental health resources. Naheed Hassan, another of our founders, spent 25 years living in Newham. His local knowledge has allowed us to get a close understanding of life as a resident in Newham and what changes could have a positive impact on the borough. It’s been a life-changing summer with partnerships secured with Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham, and The Project Surgery Newham NHS practice. These partnerships have allowed us to facilitate social prescribing programmes in Newham to tackle the issues we are passionate about. This, coupled with the green infrastructure project we are building,
Newham and contains the remains of a 12th-century Cistercian abbey where monks once ran a kitchen garden. A leading figure who launched this was local resident Torange Khonsari, who has been a senior lecturer in architecture at London Metropolitan University since 2000. Torange is also one of the original co-founders of the art and architecture practice public works.
in the form of a community garden, now provides us with a solid base to do our activities and workshops. In particular, a workshop curated by one of our founders, Hannah Southern called ‘Urban Herb Gardening’ shows how people can make herb gardens out of recyclable plastic containers. In a borough where most residents lack access to a gardening space, this is one way that you can get your fingers green despite being poorly resourced. The community garden that we will build at Custom House will not only be a pivotal location but will provide
a space for local community to grow food, to take part in mindful nature activities, and will be a place to relax amidst a bustling and vibrant London borough. We have already learnt from examples, such as Abbey Gardens, which is an open-access harvest garden in the borough. In 2006, a group of local residents formed Friends of Abbey Gardens with the aim of rescuing a derelict site from vandalism and neglect. Through closer inspection it was discovered that the Abbey Gardens site is one of only two scheduled ancient monuments in
Our first event Urban Herb Gardening in June 2019 was held at Abbey Garden and the passion for re-utilising disused space was infectious. This is a great case study for Green Hands to learn from and we look forward to the results of our collaboratively-led green infrastructure development project. Who knows who we can inspire next?
Hannah Southern, Mina Manik and Naheed Hassan are co-founders of Green Hands. Outside of the social enterprise, Hannah works as a communications specialist, Mina works at the The Academy of Urbanism and Naheed works in financial services.
Editor’s introduction Butler’s| Wharf AoU inrevisited Action 17 17
The Liberties: Ten years on In May, Clare San Martin AoU revisited the historic Liberties area of south-central Dublin to find out what has changed a full decade after the city council adopted a Local Area Plan (LAP) for the neighbourhood, gathered around its Guinness brewery.
As leader of the masterplanning team, a productive collaboration between JTP and Metropolitan Workshop, I had got to know the place and people well and developed a great fondness for them. But the property crash in 2008 meant that developers, once hungry for land in the Liberties, put ambitious plans on hold and dashed the community’s hopes of delivering new social infrastructure and environmental improvements. So ten years later, I was unsure what to expect. Had the whole exercise been a waste of time? Would any of the transformative projects have happened? What I found took me by surprise and made me reflect on the value of the work we’d done. Back in 2008, the Liberties community was passionate about defending their neighbourhood from what they saw as poor quality, inappropriate
development. Indeed, they had good reason to be alarmed. In the 1960s, historic streets in the Coombe area of the Liberties had been left derelict for years, blighted by road ‘improvement’ plans before being demolished to sever the neighbourhood with brutal fourlane highways. Hard drugs had devastated the community in the 1980s. Historic buildings were left empty and many demolished as they deteriorated beyond repair. At the time we were appointed, the Guinness brewery was considering moving significant parts of its production elsewhere. The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) was also talking of moving out of the area – and all this at the same time as other areas of the city, including Docklands, experienced a boom.
Developers were turning their eyes towards the Liberties and promoting plans for new buildings on the scale of those in Docklands. The community strongly objected to schemes they felt would threaten the special character of the area. They were not against change but were adamant that development should be of an appropriate scale, include the restoration and re-use of heritage buildings, and ensure that existing residents were not driven out. The LAP involved many hours of workshops and discussions with the community, Dublin City Council and other interested parties. A comprehensive participatory community planning process led to the establishment of the Liberties Forum with focus groups facilitated by consultants developing action plans for different aspects of the regeneration strategy. The final LAP included proposals to improve connectivity by establishing routes through some of the large industrial sites earmarked for redevelopment and detailed plans for improving the public realm and increasing green space. New library and sports facilities were planned. A tourism strategy was designed to enable local traders to benefit from the million visitors coming to Guinness Storehouse each year with a heritage tourist trail to encourage visitors to walk through the area. The LAP’s mandatory heights strategy set parameters to protect views from the Storehouse and other places. Former industrial sites were rezoned for mixed use including new homes to accommodate around 7,000 new residents and a rolling programme of Dublin City Council (DCC) housing estate redevelopment was agreed that ensured existing tenants could move into well-designed new homes in the same area.
A. Iveagh Market
G. Chamber Weavers
B. Vicar Street
H. Depot Lands
I. James St Harbour
D. Bridgefoot Street
F. Digital Hub
L. Guinness Lands
18 18 Here Here& &Now Now || AoU AoUJournal JournalNo. No.14 8 || Autumn Winter 2019 2016
But like the rest of the development sector, we did not see what was coming next. By 2009 when the LAP became policy, the property crash had changed everything. Revisiting ten years later I found some parts of the Liberties unchanged, which is what I’d
fantastic, although it was disappointing to see the visitors arriving and leaving on a tour bus rather than wandering down past the antique shops along Francis Street or experiencing the colourful market on Meath Street as we had hoped.
New pedestrain route with view of St Partick’s Tower, Europe’s largest smock windmill that once powered the Roe Whiskey Distillery
feared and expected. But other areas were transformed — some in the way we planned but some in completely different ways. A local group invited me to a workshop to plan how to involve more local people in the design and management of a new park at Bridgefoot Street on derelict land owned by Dublin City Council, where they already had a community garden. In 2014, DCC had published a Greening Strategy focusing on sites they owned and which had a ‘realistic chance of being implemented in the medium term’. Many of these public realm improvements have now been completed. One of the great surprises was the revival of brewing and distilling – historic Liberties industries that had seemed in decline. Much of the LAP was based on industries moving out and freeing up land for development of housing and other uses, but Guinness has built a state-of-the-art brewery and was about to open its new whiskey distillery, branded as Roe & Co. Three other whiskey distilleries had also been built – each with an interesting story and each regenerating part of the Liberties. The Pearse Lyons distillery on James’s Street has delivered a highly innovative re-use of the former St James Church and the sensitive restoration of its historic graveyard is nearing completion. The church now hosts whiskey tasting and has a dramatic glass spire. Another LAP objective was the regeneration of Newmarket, a neglected area with an historic market square located to the south of the Coombe. Two new distilleries have been established there. This is
Newmarket also demonstrates another phenomenon seen throughout the Liberties – new student housing. Just outside the LAP boundary, several large blocks have been built in a striking contemporary style. There is also a three-star hotel with a rooftop bar. Residents I spoke to welcomed students and tourists but feared the amount of student housing would result in a transient community overwhelming other residents and changing the character of the area. The close-knit Liberties community where families have lived for generations is part of its unique charm. The same combination of student accommodation and a hotel has been built around the Digital Hub, a cluster of digital media and internet companies that occupy former industrial buildings on Thomas Street. A new pedestrian route creates a convenient cut through a big urban block; a pop-up coffee shop was doing a brisk trade on the route. The LAP heights strategy has preserved the setting of St Patrick’s Tower, an historic windmill, and a network of internal routes and courtyards with restored historic structures and contemporary buildings has created a lively new quarter. Bringing derelict historic buildings back into use, an important LAP objective, is evident throughout the area. But there are also many examples of important buildings left empty and deteriorating. A notable and tragic example is the Iveagh Markets on Francis Street, an indoor market opened in 1906 which has been empty since the 1990s. The decaying structure blights surrounding streets that were once a bustling hub of small independent shops and street traders. Disappointingly, there was no evidence of DCC’s social housing estates being rebuilt or of the new library, which was a central part of the cultural regeneration strategy. However, DCC’s 2009 housing scheme at Timberyard in the Coombe by architects O’Donnell + Tuomey, provides an excellent exemplar for future social housing in the Liberties.
government introduced a new fasttrack planning system in 2017 whereby planning applications for housing developments over 100 residential units and 200-plus student bed spaces can be made directly to Ireland’s national planning appeals board, An Bord Pleanála. All applications must be determined within the target period of 16 weeks and, although pre-application discussions with the local authority are required, the time constraint means these are limited. Many people I spoke to were concerned that design quality and the Liberties regeneration objectives would be ignored in the rush to get housing built. So, on reflection, the Liberties LAP covered such a complex area and in so much detail that it was unrealistic to expect to find it implemented as planned, even without the economic downturn. But it did provide a robust framework for public realm improvements that enabled DCC to implement them, knowing that each individual improvement would support the creation of a cohesive place over time. There are certainly successes to celebrate like the Digital Hub and the new distilleries. But urgent action is needed to save the Iveagh Markets and other heritage gems. The improvement of DCC’s housing estates remains a challenge and the increasing amount student housing a concern. If left unchecked, it could reach a tipping point that drives other residents away including the indigenous Liberties families who are the heart and soul of the place. The Liberties still has huge untapped potential. There are major opportunity sites to be brought forward. Its community is still passionate about protecting its heritage and way of life. With many long-planned projects now underway, the vision seems much closer to being realised even though it has taken a lot longer than expected and will need to adapt to changes we can’t foresee.
Clare San Martin AoU is a masterplanning consultant at architectural and placemaking practice, JTP
In response to the slow delivery of housing nationally, the Irish
The Liberties: Tenin years on 19 Editor’s introduction | AoU Action
Creating inclusive cities In Focus How do we achieve greater inclusiveness in our towns and cities? For Maria AdebowaleSchwarte (p21) the priorities are around creating opportunities for cities to be shaped by their citizens, innovating social justice, improving accessibility to homes, and creating legislation and policies that encourage public and private agencies to include all interests in the planning process as well as the urban design of localities. The urban professions must be better connected to the communities they serve, and ready to pass on the baton of social justice to younger and broader interests. Simeon Shtebunaev (p28) picks up on this and notes that in a world where an adult’s views seem to carry more weight, a young person’s perspective is often dismissed or restricted. He looks at how different initiatives around the world incorporate the youth perspective into urban planning. Adults think they know and, with the best of intentions, make policy decisions as if they do, but they probably don’t. Remember those decisions your parents or significant others made on your behalf when you were a teenager? Our children probably feel the same way. These are all issues that are being picked up in the new masterplan for Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. Monica Laucas (p32) looks at the future promised by the new masterplan and its attempts to foster greater social cohesion in this fast-growing city. What though could be learned from a city like Melbourne? Ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the second most liveable city behind Vienna in its Global Liveability Index, Heather Claridge AoU (p24) looks at how it is approaching climate adaptation and mitigation and using urban strategies to maintain its economic competitiveness. One area of focus is on housing, with future residents being involved in the project from design to occupation to create the mix of housing type and affordability needed for a diverse community in that part of the city. Also looking at what can be learned from other countries, Kathryn Firth AoU (p44) explores the increasing focus on micro-units in cities like Boston and New York and argues that we need to think more holistically about housing typologies and zoning to accommodate the diversity of large and very small households. Housing in 21st century Britain, remains one of the most important and contentious points in the sociological framework and, as Amy-Francis Smith (p35) notes, demand continues to outstrip the current housing stock. But just beneath the surface lies another type of housing crisis; the need for accessible disabled housing – only seven per cent of homes in England have even the most basic accessible features. Making places more inclusive is not just something to be tackled on a large scale as Phillippa Bannister (p38) shows in the Her Barking project, which received a Young Urbanist small grant in 2018. With her initiative Street Space, Philippa is working with people to reimagine their streets and spaces to create social connection and showing how everyone can be given some agency to improve our urban spaces, however small the scale.
20 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 8 | Autumn 2016 20 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
In conversation with... Maria Adebowale-Schwarte Foundation for FutureLondon Maria Adebowale-Schwarte’s role in promoting broader engagement with placemaking in all its forms has taken her into many different organisations and places over the last 25 years. Maria was appointed executive director of the Foundation for FutureLondon in February 2019, having formerly established and led the placemaking consultancy and thinktank Living Space Project. The Foundation was established by the former mayor of London to fulfil the London Olympics promise to achieve broader local engagement in what will become London’s biggest cultural quarter. It is doing this through funding local community involvement in cultural and artistic experience, and in co-designing the spaces and places by which the new locality will come to be recognised. This will not only create local jobs (40,000) and activities (100k pa), but Maria expects over time that the Foundation will pass on the baton of placemaking to local people, including the new locals moving into the thousands of new homes being built in what we have to get used to calling the ‘East Bank’. Steven Bee AoU caught up with Maria to discuss inclusivity and reducing imbalances.
Steven Bee AoU (SB): Are the concepts, language and terminology that we use to debate and address exclusion and inequality becoming clearer and more helpful, or more obscure and obstructive? Maria Adebowale-Schwarte (MAS): I think that the way concepts and terminology change over time is generally healthy. It suggests that new interests and communities are being heard and learned from. The Foundation accepts flexibility in the way that a community describes its concerns and aspirations. Some misunderstanding is a small price to pay for encouraging more voices. Provided that the morals and principles that underpin our intentions remain sound, the way that we describe specific activities and perspectives should be allowed to evolve, encouraging innovation. We should respect the way people describe themselves and their interests and make the effort to understand what is meant, rather than just what we might initially hear.
In conversation with Maria Adebowale-Schwarte 21
SB: What would you say are the three highest priorities in achieving greater inclusiveness in the governance of our towns and cities? MAS: Creating opportunities for cities to be shaped by their citizens should be the primary goal. Increasing urbanisation globally makes this ever more important, but also offers new opportunities for, and models of, inclusion. We should be exploring and sharing innovation in social justice to overcome the reluctance and suspicion of those currently excluded and the unwillingness of those already enfranchised to give up their privileges. Secondly, and associated with this, is improving accessibility to homes – both in their affordability and their design, and that of their surroundings. Thirdly, the legislation and the policies that guide public and private agencies have to be tuned better to the obligation to include all interests in the planning process and the urban design of localities. Groundbreaking ceremony for East Bank supported by mayor of London
If I’m allowed a fourth, the urban professions must be connected better to the communities they serve, and ready to pass on the baton of social justice to younger and broader interests. The Foundation is supporting apprenticeships in design, arts and other creative careers, not only to open doors to professions but to introduce new ideas to the urban agenda. All professions need to expand their reach and adopt fairer practices. Entry to architecture is expensive both in time and cost. Scholarships, apprenticeships and work experience can offer new ways into urbanism careers and working with schools would help open young people to the possibility and satisfaction of work in our field. Reaching out further might not be comfortable at first, and practitioners may be apprehensive about getting it wrong, but it’s important to try. And it’s not really that risky – no more so, in view, than the conventional process of employing people. SB: How do you reduce power imbalances between the community and decision-makers? Are there new imbalances arising? MAS: You have to start by handing over some of the power – letting go of your own agenda. If you listen to others you’ll get a feel for where to start. This applies to communities as well as professions. There are good examples in the US where the ‘creative city agenda’, stimulates debate about placemaking that’s more energetic and less defeatist than it tends to be in the UK, where mistrust of developers tends to get in the way. Engaging in the conversation is a great catalyst for moving on the way we think about cities. The concept of placemaking is probably better established in the US where there are some really good organisations that have been doing it for 20 years. They are helped by a strong tradition of philanthropy that has brought large and established funds to support local initiatives. 22 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
Sadiq Khan and founding partner and official sponsor Westfield Stratford City
The UK is getting there with place-led funders like the Esme Fairbairn Foundation making major contributions. But a challenging place-led agenda is not just about development. The Raynsford Review of Planning, in which I was involved, identified the loss of the social agenda that had guided planning policy in its early years alongside the creation of the NHS. We need to get that back. SB: One of the articles in this edition of Here & Now is on designing in inclusivity through prototyping based on the Her Barking project. To what extent do you think citizens have to take direct action to change their environments? MAS: It’s good to see a project that is exploring the issue of safety for women of all communities, and encouraging ideas that can influence urban design. It is an important matter globally, as the UN Habitat agenda demonstrates safety for women, children and vulnerable groups. Social change is often achieved through power being taken rather than offered. Co-design as a concept takes us away from the conventional implementation of centralised policies by professionals to initiatives that are borne out of the recognition of local imbalances. This may require some ‘protest’ to get things moving. City-making and urban design should involve everyone, but it requires energy, time and resourcefulness, and people have many commitments and responsibilities. Recognising this and building into projects the resources to cover the costs of participation can encourage new involvement. We shouldn’t rely on voluntary engagement. For instance, I ran a project supported by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) on sustainable cities, in Islington,
Poplar Paints, a project by Art Clubbers supported by Foundation for FutureLondon and City of London © Eric Aydin Barberini
where our research was supported by a children’s nursery, payments for travel, and trainers in the room providing learning skills. Such measures help to level the playing field between professional and community involvement. Co-design includes timing and locating meetings to fit the caring responsibilities of participants. As urbanists, we have to recognise that others come with experience that is equal to ours, if different, if we can facilitate their participation.
I don’t advocate disruption for the sake of it, but we should not avoid it just because it is uncomfortable. Discomfort is a component of recognising the need to move the agenda on. Equitable environments won’t be achieved without allowing a platform for difficult questions and accepting the vulnerability of leaving behind old perceptions in order to adopt more inclusive ones. SB: How do see your new role with The Foundation for FutureLondon as an opportunity to achieve the greatest diversity of access to the legacy of the London Olympics?
SB: The subtitle to your book The Place Making Factor is ‘disrupting environmental and social grant making’. How do we ensure that disruption of the status quo does not slip into creating new imbalances?
MAS: It begins with ensuring that the East Bank increases access for the communities of the four boroughs (Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest) to London’s £47bn creative industries sector. We’re funding a programme to create jobs, training and lifelong learning to broaden co-design of the public realm and a greater sense of belonging to the area. We’re building relationships with the big cultural organisations (V&A East, Smithsonian London, Sadler’s Wells, UCL, UAL London College of Fashion and BBC) moving to the area, helping them shape their corporate investment to fit the East Bank context. We’re also building links between local schools and colleges and these institutions to balance the big exhibitions and events with local initiatives that can stimulate participation and raise local expectations.
MAS: Human activity has to be disrupted if it is to evolve in response to changing circumstances. My book arose out of a leadership programme in which I was involved, and my frustration at the rather ‘high-brow’ professional conceptualising of social constructs that got in the way of action. This was typical of the way environmental movement used to struggle to engage people in the climate change debate. A really good report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation a few years ago called ‘Rainforests are a long way from here’ (a quote from a participant) looked at the disconnect between the questions being asked, reflecting professional perspectives, and people’s everyday experience and priorities. For most people the environment is what they see outside their window – their street, their neighbourhood. You have to start the conversation from the way people see it and move to the wider agenda from there, rather than the other way around.
Steven Bee AoU is a director of The Academy of Urbanism.
In conversation with Maria Adebowale-Schwarte 23
Designing for liveability in a changing climate
Heather Claridge AoU gets the low down from down under on how the City of Melbourne is approaching climate adaptation and mitigation and using urban strategies to maintain its economic competitiveness. Her trip was supported by the RTPI, Places for People and The Julie Cowans Memorial Trust as a result of winning UK Young Planner of the Year in 2018.
24 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 8 | Autumn 2016
ÂŠ cafuego / Flickr
A visit to Melbourne last month gave me the opportunity to reflect on the intrinsic link between urban liveability and climate crisis in planning and designing cities. I picked Melbourne because of its leading approach to urban resilience and in particular retrofitting green and blue infrastructure, but also its global recognition for being one of the most liveable cities (losing out on the top title to Vienna in August 2018). I was however intrigued to understand the nexus between startling climate projections, rising living costs and population rise, how it was dealing with these and balancing growth, sustainability and social inclusion.
Greening the grey Across the City of Melbourne, hard surfaces are being transformed with street trees, green roofs, open spaces and rain gardens in an effort to adapt to the climate. Behind the scenes sits a suite of policy documents and pilot projects, guiding the way. For street trees, it’s the Urban Forest Strategy which has set targets to double the tree canopy by 2040. In inner Melbourne the temperature is between four to seven degrees celsius hotter than the rest of Greater Melbourne, so as a direct response to the ‘urban heat island effect’, clear goals have been introduced for street and public tree planting. A street by street approach to planting is being deployed through implementation plans. Partnership working with local universities is being used to identify the right diversity and supply of species, able to cope with the changing climatic conditions. Alas, many of Melbourne’s indigenous species such as the Elm tree are not suited to the city’s shifting climate. Achieving good green coverage in private developments is also a key goal. The Urban Forest Fund uses the fees collected from unavoidable public tree removals to provide grants for green community/entrepreneurial projects. Through this, financial support has been provided to an urban farm on a rooftop (opening later this year), a laneway on the university campus which is testing grape vines for urban cooling potential, and some smaller community projects. With 80 per cent of residents in the City of Melbourne living in apartments, a concerted effort is being made to ensure the connection between people and nature is not lost, as well as protecting their health by cooling the urban environment.
Street trees in Highlander Lane, cooling Melbourne’s central business district
Whilst heat remains a top priority for the city, so too is managing surface water and freeing up capacity in the drainage network. Not having to provide new drainage is a powerful persuader for introducing targets for more green facades and green roofs, encouraged through the Green Our City Strategy. When this strategy was developed in 2015, the city only had 38 green roofs, amounting to five hectares. A target of doubling this figure over the next 4 years was set and this is likely to be comfortably met. The potential of the city’s laneways for greening was also identified in this document and following this, the public were invited to nominate lanes for green interventions. Over 800 nominations were received and four lanes selected. The features introduced ranged from vertical growing, street trees, community managed planters to eco murals. Whilst dealing with multiple ownerships, differing residents’ views and technical constraints was not straightforward, the lane transformations act as exemplars for the remainder of the city’s grid. Open space provision is another key aspect for both climate action and urban liveability. Over the last few years, and through the Open Space Strategy, the City of Melbourne has reclaimed road infrastructure for green space. With only a quarter of the land in the city owned by the local authority, this tactical approach to increasing the amount and quality of parkland space in the dense city’s fabric has been necessary. In north-west Melbourne, Gardeners Reserve and Railway/Miller Street Reserve serve as great examples of this approach. Water sensitive urban design has been another mainstay of turning the grey to green. Through Melbourne’s Total Watermark Strategy, refreshed in 2017, a target to make over 20 per cent of each
Skypark, a public roof garden above Collins Street opened in October 2018
Designing for liveability in a changing climate 25
water catchment permeable was set. There is an obvious celebration of water in the city, ranging from interpretation boards next to rain gardens, a series of self-guided urban water walks to even a sign in the public bathrooms at Federation Square highlighting that the water used to flush the toilets is rainwater collected from the public space. The conscious reminder of water is perhaps a direct response to the millennium drought which ended in 2009 after over a decade of water shortages and damage to the city’s natural assets. Maintaining a compact and affordable city Now turning to the built environment, Melbourne has already made significant strides in encouraging more residential living in the central area. However to accommodate increasing populations and support a compact city, the northwest of the centre, in the former industrial area of Arden and Maclauley, is being primed for future regeneration. A new metro station is being built to enable sustainable connections into the centre and encouraging higherdensity developments. The neighbouring University of Melbourne and its world-class biomedical research cluster is set for expansion in this area and the precinct plan is being prepared in a design-led approach with themes such as celebrating water, human centric streets, environmentally conscious buildings and a restored river corridor, covered. Affordability is also at the forefront to the city’s regeneration work. In an effort to provide more affordable housing and address the shortfall in the inner city, a new city policy is currently being developed. This will regulate for 15 per cent of housing on public land to be affordable and six per cent on private land.
Vertical growing introduced as part of the laneway greening project
One alternative example which straddles both affordability and climate-responsive design is the Nightingale Housing project. Whilst located outside of the City of Melbourne’s boundary (due to high land values) it has delivered developments in the inner north. The Nightingale 1 development in Brunswick was developed as a direct response to the worsening quality of housing in Melbourne by a group of local architects. The 20 homes within the scheme have been shaped by guiding principles including affordability. The project profits have been capped at 15 per cent through the use of ethical investors and legal agreements with the owners used which restricts the sale of apartments for more than the average price rise of the neighbourhood. Sustainability also forms one of the guiding principles. The building operations are 100 per cent fossil free and it is also car free, located close to train, tram and bus routes and features aspects like water harvesting and a productive roof garden. Future residents have been involved in the project from design to occupation, demonstrating the deliberative design principle. The ground floor entrance to the development is activated by a social enterprise cafe supporting pathways out of homelessness. With further schemes at various stages of delivery including a 200 home village, the development has learnt and evolved from the early project whilst retaining the core principles in scaling up operations. Finally, transport often forms the cornerstone between climate action and liveability. The City of Melbourne recently published the Transport Strategy for 2030. During its preparation, the city used weekly media releases to pre-test ideas, gather intel, and gauge public reaction to proposals. Traffic modelling was also undertaken and this identified that 43 per cent of city centre traffic was through traffic. Using the media, the City was able to proactively demonstrate key points to the public such as ‘through traffic is bad traffic’ for both the climate and people. Through guiding strategies, established targets and both public and private sector led projects, Melbourne is incrementally readying its urban environment for the changing climate – hotter, wetter, more unpredictable and denser. Whilst affordability remains a growing concern for city regeneration, alternative projects led by the environmentally minded are starting to scale up and show promise. In a city like Melbourne, there is a lot to be learnt about the intrinsic link between liveability and climate action. Heather Claridge AoU is a principal design officer for Architecture and Design Scotland. She is currently on secondment from Glasgow City Council to lead on a new project Place Planning for Decarbonisation in partnership with the Scottish Government.
26 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
the built and natural environment
Kings Cross Central, Granary Square
We are a leading consultancy of engineers, planners, scientists and economists delivering places for existing and new communities to thrive across the UK. To find out more about how we could help you, visit peterbrett.com
@PeterBrettLLP Peter Brett Associates email@example.com
Including young people in the design and planning of our cities Young Urbanist, Simeon Shtebunaev, considers how different initiatives around the world incorporate the youth perspective into urban planning.
Adultcentrism denotes the bias that our society places on the views of adults in comparison to those of children and young people. In social practice, the term is closely related to the exaggerated egocentrism of adults in relation to youth. In a system where the adult’s views carry more weight, young people’s perspective is often dismissed or restricted. Indeed, one’s citizenship rights and privileges are closely related to one’s age – we acquire the right to drive, drink, tattoo, buy cigarettes and most importantly, participate in democracy, at specific time intervals of our lives. Our right to participate in the planning and design of our cities is often derived through our citizenship rights. Yet, we use, alter and appropriate the built environment all throughout our lives. Youth are not passive recipients but active shapers of our urban environments, yet are often seen as an external force to the planning process. Since the 1989, the United Nations in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, stipulate: “Children and young people have the right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them and have their opinions taken into account” (UN, 1989). However, there has been almost no systematic progress in involving young people in urban planning, arguably the policy aspect of most relevancy to them. So, why don’t we include young people in the planning and design of our cities? And if we did, how? Co-design and education Historically, the discussion about children and young peoples’ participation in the built environment, has focused on two main areas – the design of facilities of direct relevance to them, such as schools, kindergartens and youth centres; and the 28 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
education of young people about architecture and town planning. Participatory design with children and young people has a long tradition in architectural discourse. Researchers such as Dr Rosie Parnell have discussed the benefits of a constructive dialogue between architects and children in the design of their immediate environment. The online anthology Designing with Children showcases a wide range of initiatives. Architectural practitioners, such as Chiles, Evans and Care Architects (CE+CA) are an example of practices which actively research and publish their participatory design activities with children, ranging from kindergartens to secondary schools. Beyond the physicality of educational buildings, teaching youth about the built environment is another way of promoting youth participation. The received wisdom states that the more youth know about their city and the processes which drive it, the better equipped they will be at taking action when they have the ability to do so. Box City is one initiative spearheaded by the Center for Understanding the Built Environment (Cube), a Kansas based organisation. Box City is a curriculum in which young people can engage with a city plan and learn how to negotiate their individual building designs using a framework of grids and boxes. My own experience of co-running a youth summer school in architecture and design for the past four years has shown that when presented with an understanding of the system, young people can successfully come up with ideas for the wider benefit of the place they are designing. The pioneering RIBA National Schools Programme takes a similar approach, connecting young people
Rainbow sidewalk negotiating infrastructure at Minu Balkanski summer school in Bulgaria
complex balancing game a city planner engages in. The game had attracted more than 100,000 players of which the 18-34 demographic had been overrepresented, demonstrating the interest of younger people to engage in innovative ways of participating in urban planning.
in schools with professionals in up to week-long workshops, where they can be introduced to the concepts of architectural design and understand the drivers behind city design. Hybrid organisations, such as Build Up London, combine the two ideas of co-design and education by putting young people in control of small-scale construction projects within communities across London. Youth can in this way actively pick up construction skills and contribute to the place where they live. All of these examples look to a small scale and long-term approach, where participation of young people is confined within the extended realms of education and local communities.
Participatory urban planning Discussing youth participation, the role of the local authority and planning department is paramount in cases that transcend the individual building. In the city of Boulder, Colorado, an ongoing project can show us an example of participatory planning in which youth have a meaningful voice.
Games as ways of co-creation
‘Growing up Boulder’ is a partnership, since 2009, between the University of Colorado, the City of Boulder and Boulder Valley School District. The project aims to engage young people in the planning process and aims to transform Boulder in an exemplary child-and youth-friendly city. There are more than a dozen individual planning projects, in which young people under the age of 18 have been involved in the planning process; through the definition of brief, assessment of planning application and, later, dissemination of the final outcome. The innovation comes in the direct communication between groups of young people and city planners, facilitated by educators and researchers, specifically in the honest exchange of views and ideas. The young people are seen as cocreators in the process and given the opportunity of two-way feedback process, assessing final proposals against the brief they had co-developed. The direct engagement of planning authorities and decision makers from the city council is key to a meaningful representation and participation.
A step further towards city design and we see a way of engagement which is gathering popularity, yet needs to be further researched in regard to its effectiveness, is the crossover between gamification and urban planning. In her book Play the City, the architect Ekim Tan has devised a methodology of collaborative decision making, through the use of physical games. The accessible nature of playing a game has the potential for wider inclusion, specifically in low-skilled groups such as young people. On the city scale, the ‘Plan Your Brisbane’ project led by chief planner, Dy Currie, has employed both the physical and digital possibilities of gamification to engage its citizens in the production of the new local plan. The traditional ways of engagement such as surveys, school activity sessions and forums have been complimented by a custom build online housing game which aims to demonstrate the
Including young people in design and planning 29
Power and politics
Ultimately, involving young people in the planning of their cities in a structural manner concerns tackling the power imbalance which exists between decision makers and youth communities. In the UK, youth organisations are emerging and starting to challenge this dynamic. Birmingham’s Beatfreeks in their annual ‘Brum Youth Trends’ survey consults young people between 16 and 24 in the city about their needs. In 2018, key findings indicated that young people aren’t aware of major developments in the city and lack non-transactional spaces to occupy with their friends. The West Midlands Combined Authority has listened, setting up in 2019 its Young Board, aiming to tackle the lack of youth viewpoints. In Manchester, the research project Jam and Justice is working with young people from the Children’s Society and the Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority to tackle the issue of youth voices missing in the political discourse. Charities have also identified this issue of political representation. Planning Aid Scotland’s project named ‘Bridging the Gap’ aims to match young people with planning committee councillors in effort to exchange views and skills, such as understanding of the planning system and digital inclusion. All of the above examples demonstrate various ways to tackle the real gap in ability of young people to be represented at the decision-making table.
Digital technologies and their advances in the planning of cities can also provide an opportunity for the enfranchisement of young people, however, they can also serve to further entrench the already existing deep exclusions. India’s 100 Smart Cities programme has come under a lot of criticism in the way it engages with citizens. A project by the National Institute of Urban Affairs called Child Friendly Smart Cities, recognised the lack of engagement of young people in the process of smart city development and is currently researching what are the specific needs youth have in the ‘smart city’. However, the project still bases itself in the theories of advocacy planning, rather than looking towards more progressive co-creation processes. In Canada, a co-creation model called 30Lab, led by Youthful Cities programme, looks towards the engagement of thirty 15 to 29 year olds towards solving a specific theme within the city. The programme encourages the development of innovative ideas, which after being presented at a public forum, have an opportunity to win seed funding. Closer to home, the Newcastle City Futures project, a collaboration between north east councils and the Newcastle University, has developed an open-source device called JigsAudio which aims to solicit views from the public by talking and drawing. Again, the accessibility of the technology can encourage lowskilled citizens such as young people, to take a more meaningful part in the planning process.
Engaging youth with built projects at Minu Balkanski summer school
All of these projects aim to engage with the transient and diverse community of young people, employing varying definitions, but largely working within the age range of 10 to 25 year olds. There is a real need to understand the perceptions and awareness amongst young people about urban planning and their role in the participatory process, in order to achieve meaningful engagement in the design of our cities and overcome the adult-centric bias prevalent within urbanism today. Simeon Shtebunaev is a Young Urbanist, and a PhD student at Birmingham City. His research project is entitled: ‘Young citizens’ perceptions and participation in the planning of the future ‘smart’ city.’
1. Derr, V., Chawla, L. and Mintzer, M., 2018, Placemaking with Children and Youth: Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities, New Village Press, New York 2. Wilson, A. and Tewdwr-Jones, M., 2019, Let’s draw and talk about urban change: Deploying digital technology to encourage citizen participation in urban planning, in Environment and Planning B; Urban Analytics and City Science, 1-17
30 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
› perfect example for the European credo on integrated urban development – the “Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities” › in 2020 the European Ministers for Urban Development will sign the updated Charter in Leipzig again www.leipzig.de/leipzig-charter
In conversation with... Richard Upton 31
photo: Hans-Georg Unrau
› a vibrant, compact European city in Germany with high quality of life on its way to sustainable growth
The new Kigali
Urbanisation for social cohesion A new Kigali master plan, which will lay out the development roadmap for Rwandaâ€™s capital city over the next 30 years, is expected to be unveiled in Autumn. Monica Laucas looks at the future promised by the new masterplan and its attempts to foster greater social cohesion in this fast-growing city.
ÂŠ Adrien K / Flickr
32 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
In June 2018, the City of Kigali began a process of reviewing and updating the current master plan, adopted in 2013, that was praised worldwide for its visionary development ambitions, but also received criticism on the polarising effects it would have had on the city.
This will be achieved through comprehensive public consultations which include the use of digital platforms and social media, and the combination of international best practices with a bottom-up approach. This is based on extensive socio-economic data collection and analysis and continued interaction with local and international stakeholders such as UN-Habitat, International Growth Centre (IGC), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and the World Bank.
To pursue the objectives of sustainable urban growth, economic development and environmental design, much of the cityâ€™s built environment was planned to be demolished. Shopping malls would replace street markets, the skyline transformed with the introduction of a new business district and informal neighbourhoods making way for gated communities, repositioning the city as a â€˜gateway to Africa and the worldâ€™.
The proposed Kigali City Master Plan will be implemented in five phases and each phase has been aligned with specific development activities expected to generate at least 1.7 million jobs in the next 30 years. It is set to introduce a more equitable, flexible, and incremental approach to city development, allowing for mixed-use neighbourhoods throughout the city and facilitating the creation of a large variety of affordable housing solutions as well as improvements in public transport, a tourism strategy and the enhancement of green resources.
The revised master plan is set to address the shortfalls of the previous plan as well as widespread concerns by city dwellers on multiple issues including the shortage of low-cost housing, open spaces for recreational parks, ease of owning a home and access to public facilities and the relocation of citizens from high-risk zones and unplanned neighbourhoods.
The new Kigali: Urbanisation for social cohesion 33
Rwanda demonstrates an intention to be at the forefront of environmental and economic sustainability. This master plan is far from being the African urban fantasy described by Watson in 2014 when politicians and urban planners alike wanted to reinvent Kigali as a way to transform the country into the ‘Singapore of Africa’. Despite the contrast and conflict this roadway to development is likely to cause, with the removal of unplanned settlements in high-risk zones and the emphasis on a knowledgebased economy, the master plan seems to have a deeper societal meaning. This outstanding attempt to transform Kigali into a world-class city, and with it transform Rwanda’s economy, it will contribute to the creation of a new legacy for the city of Kigali (as well as the country) enabling them to silence their violent past. In 1990, civil war broke out in Rwanda’s rural north, sending some 200,000 migrants to the city in search of security. This influx of population overwhelmed Kigali’s infrastructure and housing as war continued to devastate Rwanda’s agricultural economy. During 100 days in 1994, between 800,000 and 1,000,000 people from the Tutsi ethnic minority were slaughtered alongside Hutu dissidents across Rwanda. The social, economic and political effects of the genocide were catastrophic for Kigali. Land disputes and fresh violence sent hundreds of thousands of migrants to the city. Population estimates have undergone dramatic changes in the last three decades, decreasing from nearly 235,664 in 1991, to around 50,000 in 1994, given the war and genocide. After 1994, the population grew at an unprecedented rate due to an influx of repatriated refugees, the majority of whom converged on Kigali. The 2002 census revealed the population of Kigali to be 608,141 inhabitants, with an average annual growth rate of nine per cent since 1991, and a net immigration of 230,257 inhabitants (a third of its overall population size) in only eight years. Kigali’s population was 1.3 million in 2012 and is projected to reach 3.8 million by 2050. Service delivery and infrastructure provision have not kept pace with the dramatically fast rate of population growth and urbanisation; housing, sewage and sanitation infrastructure remain serious problems in Kigali. In the years following the war, migrants settled on any land they could, self-building new neighbourhoods in peripherical areas, including disaster prone land and wetlands. It is estimated that over 70 per cent of Kigali consists of informal settlements, most of which are found in high-risk zones. Uncontrolled urban growth as well as affordability are topical issues impinging on Kigali’s sustainable development. A high demand and urban land use regulations affect the market for plots of land and housing, making them increasingly speculative. 34 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
The residential plots being developed in line with urban plans are costly, insufficient in number and create a scarcity of affordable land for the majority of urban dwellers. As a consequence, while many efforts are being made to modernise the city according to the urban and district plans, spontaneous settlements by low-income households often represent the only strategy for the poor to settle in the city. Therefore, they are likely to continue to develop within the city and in its peripheries unless the new master plan tailors implementation of its policies and strategies according to households’ financial means. Most of the issues that the master plan is set to overcome, including social inclusion, the production of quality and affordable housing, sustainable infrastructure and the facilitation of a world-class economy seem very ambitious. Notwithstanding speculations on the probability of the master plan succeeding in transforming Kigali into a more inclusive and sustainable city, the master plan itself and the urbanisation policies that the Government of Rwanda have elaborated since 2000 appear to be an attempt to modernise the country’s image abroad as well as to promote national reconciliation. This is clear in the active effort to create a new national identity based on being an urban citizen rather than working the land. Prior to 1994 and the genocide, the political regime encouraged the narrative of an ethnic Hutu peasant whose connection to land represented both Rwandan nationalism and independence from colonialism and a Tutsi minority. In fact, as pointed out by Shearer, many blame this national ideology for the ethnic tensions that led to the genocide. In contrast, the master plan and the focus on urbanisation idealise a very different national identity promoted by Kigali’s future inhabitants who are set to be post-ethnic, cosmopolitan, environmentally-conscious and technologically-savvy urban citizens. The new Kigali Master Plan promises a new urban future that transcends the violence of the past to allow the city and its inhabitants to emerge from the shadow of the genocide. This will contribute to the creation of a new narrative about the city and its national identity, in an attempt to foster greater social cohesion in a future which alleviates the tensions at local as well as national level. Monica Laucas is a consultant at Temple Group with a strong interest in the social and economic impacts of urbanisation and climate change.
Accessible housing: The UKâ€™s hidden housing crisis With a growing population, higher life expectancy rates and improved healthcare resources, demand continues to outstrip the current housing stock. Yet as Amy FrancisSmith argues, beneath the surface lies another type of housing crisis.
Housing is seen as one of the ultimate consumer investments and ownership acts as a status symbol, though for the average person the idea of owning can seem like a distant dream. Decades of underfunding by local authorities, and short-sighted governmental policies have led to the desolation of a once buoyant council housing stock, resulting in an almost total reliance on private developers to build the nationâ€™s homes. Within the housing market itself there is a largely silent battle; the need for accessible disabled housing is at an even greater crisis point. There are 13.9 million disabled people in the UK, meaning that one in five are part of the largest minority group in the country. 1.8 million people are in need of accessible housing and yet only 7 per
cent of homes in England have even the most basic accessible features, such as a level threshold, wider doorways and a downstairs toilet. Of the roughly 27.2 million homes in UK, studies indicate 16 per cent would need major structural alteration to become fully accessible and in 28 per cent of homes, the alteration would not be feasible. Due to the lack of provisions, hundreds of thousands of people every year will have to move house, spend thousands adapting their property to gain some dignity and freedom or risk becoming trapped in their own home; losing independence and autonomy over their own lives. Disabled people are often left to the mercy of social housing to provide them with a safe and accessible space to live. Many tend to be in the The new Kigali | Accessible housing 35
1.8 mil 13.9 mil UK disabled people
are in need of accessible housing
1 in 5 people (19%) in UK are disabled
lower percentiles of earnings due to a lack of wider societal inclusion, poor physical infrastructure in the built environment, difficulties finding employment or chronic health conditions. These factors contribute to disabled persons’ monthly living expenses, which are 25 per cent higher on average. Economic, societal, gendered and geographic disparity affect the quality of housing, with sporadic council provision, many are forced to rely on charitable foundations that aim to address the government’s shortcomings. This shortfall creates desperation, with tenants accepting substandard housing; grateful for just a few accessible features. Thankfully, the once commonplace medicalised institutions that removed many disabled people from mainstream society have been closed following revelations of systemic abuse, isolation and extreme social control; previously rationalising the treatment as ‘care’ of the helpless. However, councils are now failing their tenants by leaving people waiting on average 25 months before being relocated. If allocation rates continue at the current rate it would take six years to house the demand, not factoring in further applications; many people will live and die before being able to enjoy their basic human rights. Private housing is one of the last areas of the built environment that remains largely untouched by accessibility regulations, with developers under no obligation to adhere. Some legislation, such as Lifetime Homes; now Category 2. Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings and Category 3. Wheelchair Adaptable/Accessible Dwellings provision in Part M, start to address the issue. However, the optional uptake on this has been disproportionate across the country, tending to only be enforceable in social/ affordable developments, with the percentage of delivered properties at the mercy of individual councils and feasibility negotiations. Not all disabled people are eligible for funding grants due to means testing, so many families are 36 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
left to raise the money to cover their own adaptions, or are forced to sell and move. Prospective free market home buyers cannot always afford to purchase outright, so are often dependant on the welfare state. Councils have a duty of care to insist on the building not only of affordable housing but accessible properties too. However, no end of developments have managed to flout this suggested allocation; often cutting a deal around S106 and CIL contributions due to financial viability. There is no doubt that this is a tough call to make, as some homes are better than none at all, but the repeated undersupply has drastic consequences to people’s lives. Speculative housebuilders have dominated the residential market, trading units as economic assets rather than acknowledging the deeper societal benefits of creating communities. Due to financial pressures, many are reluctant to adopt an accessible house-type without legislative requirement, concerned that implementing further space standards would result in a reduction in quality. The HBF (Home Builders Federation) recently lobbied against more accessible standards; questioning the validity of the many predictions of an ageing population and with it an increased demand for accessible housing. By failing to build at the rate of demand, it is leaving people in spaces that directly affect their mental and physical health. Poorly designed architecture and inaccessible spaces are proven to have a negative impact on existing conditions, with the resulting stress potentially inducing further issues. The design of a domestic space impacts on our behaviour; self-esteem is intrinsically linked with the ability to participate in activities with greater mobility, independence and confidence. Without a basic level of dignity, disabled people are statistically more vulnerable and prone to the
exposure of detrimental accommodation as many are housebound and at risk of depression and loneliness. Living in an inaccessible home means one is four times more likely to be unemployed, with everyday tasks becoming mammoth challenges. Negative psychological stressors from the environments we inhabit have direct consequences to not only our mental but physical health. Repeated exposure to poor architecture can have a visceral effect on its inhabitants, if forced to dwell in uncomfortable places of high perceived threats.
to buyers, the often-ugly mobility aids and makeshift home adaptations are deemed so aesthetically unpleasant that they are stripped out, wasting both money and future potential. Shows like DIY SOS have highlighted the plight many families struggle with, but it shouldn’t be up to TV shows to fix one-off charity cases, as millions are struggling in similar conditions across the country. Our culture is now shifting to a socially responsible and inclusive atmosphere for many minority subgroups, but the fabric of the built environment struggles to upgrade at the same pace. Wheelchair users are most likely to experience architectural discrimination, with architects, planners and urban designers in the best position to help resolve inaccessible fabrics.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission revealed disabled people are often ‘demoralised’ and ‘frustrated’ with their housing situation, feeling segregated and likening their inaccessible homes to prisons. The UK has been repeatedly criticised by the United Nations for repeatedly failing its disabled community.
It has long been the role of architects to deliver what they believe to be the best proposition, something that is being further enhanced by recognising the value of user-led design. Designers who adopt these principles are rewarded by deeper understanding of their clients; manifesting in a more resolved and satisfying scheme for all parties.
Providing more accessible homes could alleviate the strain on the NHS by £3bn per year. Equally, even small adaptations could increase the length of time before needing a social care facility; allowing people to stay living at home with their loved ones. The benefits would also be felt across the wider society, with taxpayer-funded health and social care budgets alleviated of the added pressures from ‘bed blocking’ in the NHS, as well as avoiding institutionalising disabled people in care home facilities.
Accessible ‘Part M’ requirements are seen as a niche field that is attached at the end of a scheme rather than integral to a project; comparable of the attitudes towards sustainable architecture of the 1990s-2000s. Through education, cheaper materials, societal pressures and legislation, green design is now present from the outset and taught in architecture schools internationally. Yet inclusive design has tokenistic mentions on courses, often in relation to toilets and lifts, but is not promoted as a fundamental cue for inspiration. Once the education system and the industry acknowledge the importance of accessible user-centric design, they too can then act as advocates.
Our requirements as to what constitutes a suitable home change as we move through life, be it halls of residence, a family home or downsizing due to decreased mobility or progressive aging. The practical consideration of lifestyle choices, and our aspirational desires match closely with the spaces we want to inhabit. But unless you are directly affected by disability, the notion of access is not usually a priority on sales listings with the likes of gardens, parking or schools.
There is huge potential for improvement, both in new builds and renovation work, to increase health, happiness and quality of life. With a few basic adjustments to the design process, the housing stock could be elevated to improve the lives of millions of people, not only for the disabled, but for their family, friends and care workers.
It is often optimistically assumed that accessibility will not become an issue for us, yet we are all susceptible and it can come at any time, be it temporary such as a broken leg or pregnancy, old age or a catastrophic injury; the human condition is inherently fragile. We would be wise not only to empathise with another’s situation but to pre-empt our own declining health in later years. Studies have found that eight out of ten disabled people were not born with a disability, but acquire one throughout their lifetime.
Creating a more inclusive, considerate, dignified and accessible world will benefit everyone; flexibility and independence allows every intersection of society to feel comfortable and confident in finding their own voice unaided in the world. Recognising diversity as a strength allows households, communities and nations to thrive.
Private renters tend to be the most detrimentally affected due to the unwillingness of landlords to install adaptions or undergo structural work in their property, having to make do due to little choice of alternatives on the market. Quite often homes that were partially converted for elderly family members are sold on. Instead of acknowledging the value of a rarefied asset and promoting the accessible features
Amy Francis-Smith is an RIBA Part II architectural designer and passionate advocate for inclusive design, with her research and work focused on providing decent accommodation for the disabled.
Accessible housing: The hidden’s UK housing crisis 37
The power of prototyping to design in inclusivity Phillippa Banister launched Her Barking to gather key insights on the issues affecting how women navigate and inhabit spaces and routes through Barking town centre, and collaboratively design a range of small changes to the built environment, testing them to see if they can have any impact on perceptions of safety and increase community cohesion. Phillippa talks about what they have achieved so far.
38 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
As a Young Urbanist (YU) small grant recipient 2018, I used Her Barking to launch Street Space, a social enterprise working with people to reimagine their streets and spaces to make them feel safer, bring joy and social connection. Sounds like a big leap, from a small grant of just £400(!) but alongside other community engagement and collaborative design projects, the YU grant and Her Barking has helped shape the future of Street Space and our emerging purpose – to support people to practically transform spaces making them more liveable; with a small amount of money, harnessing a lot of imagination. Supporting people to unlock a sense of agency and permission to shape local spaces is hugely rewarding. That look you get when the penny drops that places aren’t fixed – they don’t have to be a certain way, even if they’ve always been like that. Fred Kent famously coined the phrase: ‘If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic.’ It’s the same thing with anti-social behaviour and spaces where people don’t feel safe. We get the behaviour and perceptions we design for. When you design an alleyway like this, it’s not surprising you get fear, daytime urination, litter and fly-tipping.
with Her Barking, get feedback on initial ideas and light the spark for more reimagining of different spaces across the town centre. It can feel uncomfortable and stressful, putting something out into the world that’s unfinished, low cost, might not work or cause controversy. But this is an important part of the change process in both communities and design work. We try and embrace these (measured) risks and that feeling of not being in control and usually reap the rewards of the discomfort! Why bother? London Borough of Barking and Dagenham council data tells us over half the population of Barking (mostly women, older and disabled people) don’t feel safe in the town centre. There’s a big gap between the perception of safety and actual crime figures when compared to other boroughs with similar crime rates.
One of the resident-identified spaces for an intervention to make it feel safer – St Awdry’s Walk, Barking
It wasn’t surprising when St Awdry’s Walk soon came up during our initial engagement for Her Barking – letting the ‘crowd’ identify streets and spaces in Barking town centre that don’t feel safe. Through Her Barking we are trying to reframe the conversation about many of these unloved and unfriendly spaces across the town centre – turning them into asset based, citizen to citizen exchanges, resulting in a culture of experiments, ideas and action.
In a borough where building trust both between citizens and between citizens and ‘authorities’ is recognised as one of the biggest challenges, we think that creatively addressing the narratives of fear and perceptions of (un-safety) through temporarily providing a new narrative or experience in a space could be the first step. We know that the stories we tell ourselves are what we become. If for 20 years you’ve been walking down this alleyway scared for your life of being raped, attacked or robbed then no stats or evidence about crime levels or the likelihood of this is going to change your reality. We have to try something different. Equally if someone asks you in a consultation, ‘how would you improve this space?’ – you’re unlikely to be able to imagine something different. You’re living in fear, operating at the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – fight or flight mode on standby.
Our aim is to harness the creativity of everyone and use a collaborative and human centred-design approach – applying it to the built environment. We want to explore the impact of temporarily transforming spaces identified as not feeling safe in the town centre, on how safe people feel, and therefore, how open they are to social connection. Connections are formed when there is space for people to gather, people feel relaxed, it’s not too noisy, there’s opportunities to watch other people, things to see and do. This isn’t going to be easy in St Awdry’s Walk, but there’s been some fantastic examples of bringing life, colour and joy to alleyways like St Awdry’s Walk all around the world. How can we be a catalyst for this kind of thinking and action in Barking, whilst putting local residents at the helm of decision making?
By changing the question and applying a new context: ‘If you were holding your best friend’s birthday party in this alleyway – how would you change it with £50?’ we can prompt a great richness of ideas for us to explore. We couldn’t leave the ideas here. We had to try and bring them to life.
Off the back of the YU small grant we have recently received £10,000 of grant funding from the National Lottery to develop and test further interventions over the Autumn, which is hugely exciting. But in practice – how do you actually go about live- testing ideas on the street, in the real world, without a lot of money?
After months of talks and meetings with the local authority representatives and other landowners we found ourselves live prototyping the ideas across four spaces in the town centre. These prototypes weren’t perfect. They didn’t look very ‘professional’ or ‘polished’, they were installed by a band of passionate volunteers all keen to explore the same question – can we change collective narratives of a place and individual perceptions through low-cost, temporary interventions? How does this impact on people’s sense of safety and openness to connection? How can we capture this?
In June, as part of London Festival of Architecture 2019 we took the opportunity to bring to life early stage ideas, beyond workshop contained, modelmaking and pipe-cleaner environments, into the real world. We knew we wanted to continue to build a network of local people to continue to get involved
The power of prototyping to design in inclusivity 39
We don’t have all the answers and all this is very much a work in progress. But surely – if we want a world where people share a collective ambition to make change and feel a part of that change, prototyping (in the built environment) can provide that link – literally showing people that it’s ok to have a go. To look at a problem and bring something of yourself to try and fix it. To apply our creative ideas and agency to our local spaces and places – to show that they are not fixed – we can reimagine and use our skills to re-shape, reinvent and repurpose.
Her Barking collaborative design workshop and small scale prototypes.
Through the process of being in the spaces, setting up our experiments and monitoring any changes in behaviour through surveys and observation we met with over 50 residents who want to be a part of this movement. Who want to get involved and make change. By offering the invitation and opportunity by showing up and doing the little we can, we can work towards something much bigger. Often, when ‘regeneration’ professionals come in to an area, or the local authority with a new development plan, or a consultation consultancy with their expensive boards on easels – a little bit of each of us loses agency. We believe and are told, it’s not up to us. This alleyway is someone else’s problem, not mine. By putting something out into the world in its nascent form – an idea, waiting to be shaped, iterated and adapted in public we can truly see what it takes to make change and believe that maybe this too is within our capacity as citizens and members of a community that can thrive.
Testing ideas to bring a human scale to Abbey Green
Testing a way to bring some new life to Barking Station forecourt
Resident feedback on St Awdry’s Walk
40 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
Phillippa Banister is the founding director of Street Space.
South Bank evolution The makings of a popular public space From it’s beginning as part of the Festival of Britain in 1951, Steven Bee AoU explores how the perfect storm of vision, leadership and location transformed London’s South Bank into a widely used public space
‘Public space’ is used as a simple distinction for space that is not private. In many circumstances that is sufficient, but in terms of the occupation and use of space, ‘public’ is not an absolute distinction. ‘The right to access, to occupy and to use urban space is always restricted to some extent. This restriction may be physical, regulatory or perceptual, and it can apply variously to different ‘publics’. The Guardian Cities campaign to expose ‘pseudo-public spaces’ in 2017 aimed to expose the insidious control of spaces promoted as public in London and to stimulate debate through international comparisons. The campaign flared and faded, but debate and discussion continues – promoting a greater awareness of such trends in public space management.
today. The London County Council (LCC) bought industrial land on the south side of the Thames as a site for its County Hall, completed in 1933. Earlier plans for civic and commercial development were formally adopted in the 1943 County of London Plan. The idea of celebrating the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition had also been mooted, but in the early years of the new welfare state, fuelled by postwar euphoria and optimism, a festival of the people became a political and cultural beacon as well as an antidote to austerity. The didactic elements of the exhibition would be considered paternalistic and condescending today, but the dedication of the site as a public space survived the six-month exhibition, which was swiftly dismantled by the returning Conservatives in 1952.
My case study of London’s South Bank, part of a masters at UCL in 2018, stemmed from an historical interest in the 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition and the evident popularity of the area today. The spaces of the area, now formally the South Bank Centre, accommodate a diversity of attractions, activities and participants. I explored how this had evolved and whether its diversity and inclusiveness was real or illusory. Historical influences and influencers are both relevant to the circumstances today, and consistent with theoretical and philosophical positions, such as that of Henri Lefebvre on the social ‘production of space’.
Herbert Morrison was both home secretary and leader of the LCC at the time, so a deal was swiftly struck between the two bodies – the LCC contributing the land and the government funding, including £2m for the Royal Festival Hall (RFH). The idea of creating a new public place with views of the river and the buildings of state opposite attracted the enthusiastic participation of designers and artists in all media, establishing the careers of many. The speed with which the festival was designed and constructed was spectacular, but the political commitment to creating a public place was genuine and thoroughly embedded.
The South Bank Centre stands entirely within that of the 1951 Festival of Britain exhibition. The history is multi-layered and fascinating, and well-recorded, but its origins, purpose and champions established a ‘path-dependency’ that influences its publicness
The promenade and the RFH survived, but with resources for maintenance drying up, the spaces became bleak and underused. This passive neglect encouraged informal uses of the spaces to establish de facto rather than by public policy.
The power of prototyping | South Bank evolution 41
The Royal Festival Hall, 1951
London’s South Bank visualised in 1972 by Ron Herron with Diana Jowsey © Archigram Architects
Eventually, the sale of the Shell Centre site secured finance for the Queen Elizabeth Hall (QEH)/ Hayward/Purcell Room complex – the South Bank Centre (SBC) – in the mid-1960s. This remarkable architectural composition contributed to the public spaces in two important ways. First, it separated ground level traffic and parking from upper level pedestrian routes. Pretty quickly, this proved, unsuitable for the intended storage and car parking, but informal uses – notably homeless shelter and skateboarding – took advantage of continuing passive neglect. Secondly, it created the variety of terraces and connections that have only recently found a purpose. Allowing people to occupy space as they chose was a radical objective of the original SBC’s architects, but at the time the interests of conventional culture ruled and the spaces were rendered virtually inaccessible for decades. The responsibility of the Greater London Council (GLC) for the RFH had led Tony Banks, its arts committee chair to introduce, in 1983, the open foyer policy. This opened the extensive foyer areas of the RFH and the SBC to everyone, every day, all day. This not only achieved better use of a public amenity, but served a wider range of publics than had previously been allowed. The success of the open foyer approach led to the use of the terraces as event spaces as well. The continuity of public ownership and responsibility somehow survived the abolition of the GLC, passing to the Arts Council and eventually to a charitable trust. The success of the open foyer policy and its reinvigoration in the ‘festival approach’ of the SBC Trust, has protected the principle of public access from serious challenge. South Bank spaces today are carefully managed, but with no obligation to buy, consume or attend. Catering, free seating 42 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
and events create a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere, encouraging natural and unselfconscious behaviour. The conflict between formal and informal activity crystallised in the mid-1970s in the case of the skateboarders. The undercroft of the QEH had been appropriated by a young and diverse community for whom the neglected walls and ramps offered a ‘space of representation’. Attempts by the SBC to close this down helped create an international cause-celebre (amplified by political opportunism). Eventually it had to acknowledge that the undercroft activities were valued not only by those that used it, but also by spectators and commentators. The sense of this is demonstrated by the permanent accommodation now being incorporated in the latest iteration of the South Bank’s adaptation. Investment in the buildings of the South Bank has more recently included the idiosyncratic spaces around and above them – as the original designers had intended. The original use is now enshrined in the seasonal festivals that celebrate diverse interests in the spaces today. The area is now one of London’s top attractions. People enjoy the South Bank as a place to be at least as much as to do. The demographic profile of visitors may differ from the surrounding area, but the free events programme, the variety of food and drink outlets, and outreach work with schools and community groups all help broaden the welcome. The facility with which different publics occupy and ‘produce’ the spaces to their own ends reflects the informality of their presentation and management, and the historic commitment to public access instils organisational confidence that can accommodate dissent.
The QEH undercroft 2018
Shared space, enjoyed by families young and old
The original vision of open access to entertainment, education and enjoyment has been reinforced by the vision of key individuals.
and remarkable. They have become iconic as result of their style, purpose and history. The split levels introduced by the 1960s walkways, extending the RFH terrace datum, were criticised for being ‘cold and windswept’ but their distinctive forms, spatial arrangement and excellent views are now appreciated better. Access improvements have eventually achieved the ‘landscape’ originally envisaged by its designers, and the weather doesn’t seem to be a constraint.
The enthusiastic commitment of Herbert Morrison, LCC leader and deputy prime minister was a major influence on the 1951 festival’s success. The confident and co-operative culture within the teams that created it achieved a remarkably successful and popular event. The later design of the SBC by the LCC Special Works team reflected the confidence and conviction of its lead members. Jude Kelly, artistic director from 2006 to 2018, extended Tony Banks’ open foyer approach to the external spaces, developing the ‘festival seasons’ of diverse and popular events to broaden the site’s appeal. In both cases, personal commitment was guided and amplified by their organisations’ commitment to the widest ‘public’.
Festivals are by definition ephemeral, celebratory events. They are intensive, explorative and outside normal behaviour. The 1951 festival that introduced such experience to the South Bank was successful but lacked momentum. Although cultural facilities were expanded, it was not until the 50th anniversary that the spirit of ‘festival’ returned to the site. The success of that event inspired the ‘festival approach’ that promotes entertainment, discovery and selfexploration.
Physical components of publicness The central London location bestows a status and profile that would be hard to replicate. The riverside location creates an open foreground to the vista beyond, enhancing the sense of space and amenity. Unrestricted pedestrian access and public transport links make this amenity available to the widest possible public.
For this public space at least, the combination of location, vision, leadership, public ownership and stewardship, and accommodation of dissent and diversity contribute to an imperfect but happy and safe location for the widest public to enjoy themselves and each other.
The boundary of the site has no official gateways or symbols of entrance. Public routes are open 24 hours a day. They are not intuitive or particularly convenient, but over time this has added to the variety of spatial experience. The riverside setting was an important component of the 1951 Exhibition and remains so today. It helps the site to accommodate the intensity of its most active times. The architecture of the main buildings is unique
Steven Bee AoU is a director of The Academy of Urbanism.
South Bank evolution 43
Micro-units: Good for the city, Good for citizens?
Thinking more holistically about housing typologies and zoning will improve our public realm, says Kathryn Firth AoU
44 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
As economically booming cities such as Boston, New York, San Francisco and London struggle with housing their growing populations, there is an increasing fixation on the micro-unit in the name of increasing residential provision. Also referred to as the compact unit, architects and developers are bringing ingenuity and investment to creating spaces that have pared domestic life down to its minimalist essentials. These small units have catalysed a new relationship with the public realm. Looking to Europe one can see a long tradition of using the city as one’s living and dining room, where urban middle-income units are small in relation to North American dwellings. In the United States, however, it is relatively recent that Americans are choosing to live in city centres. Part of the appeal of the suburbs was the generous indoor and outdoor private space. The move downtown, where the offer is generally a smaller dwelling, has meant less private space, and so our new city dwellers are venturing out of their homes to pursue their social lives. This is good for our cities. This is good for our local economies. But who are these micro-units for? On the face of it, this ‘progress’ is meant to help address both the accommodation of sheer numbers of people and the affordability of living in the city. However, it is impossible not to question how tiny units truly answer this need. It has become apparent that we are creating city centres that cater for a thin slice of the population: prenesters and empty-nesters. The problem is threefold: the units being built are, even if not micro, rarely larger than two-bedrooms (and a tight two-bedroom at that); secondly, only a very small percentage are ‘affordable’, not to mention that the definition of ‘affordable’ means
iLive Urban Living in Köln © Raimond Spekking
many lower-middle-income people do not qualify for support; and, thirdly, the city’s amenities and services are often unaffordable as they cater to the affluence of those who can afford the newly built units. For the millennials currently sharing a dwelling unit, they are forced out of the urban centre to the suburbs when they want to have families. Even if housing and services affordability is not the barrier, there are few homes catering to households requiring threebedrooms or more. People are left little choice but to join the swathes of commuters emitting carbon, undoubtedly against their better judgement.
Similarly, the contemporary public library can become a space that projects and attracts vibrancy. The Idea Store in London is a good example of this. Community infrastructure — from gathering space to recreation to cultural events — provides clues as to the sorts of uses that co-exist well with the public realm. This may call for revisions to existing zoning to allow for diverse ground-floor uses — indeed, redefining ‘active frontage’. The concept of the Business Improvement District (BID) has been a fantastic mechanism in many city centres, improving the safety, cleanliness and temporary events in many downtowns. However, it may also be time to redefine the scope of the BID, enforcing ground-floor activity even if that means providing space to a tenant that is not a commercial enterprise, such as a cultural institution or community use. Positive, or negative, incentives to lease empty shopfronts may be required.
There is a further related concern. Thanks to policy and design guidance, many condominium buildings are designed to accommodate retail or food and beverage on the ground floor. However, despite the fact that people may be looking to the city to fulfill their entertainment needs, we find increasing numbers of empty shopfronts on our main streets and city centres. In this era of online shopping and food delivery, it is acutely obvious that we can no longer rely only on shops, cafes, bars and restaurants to activate our streets. Meanwhile, competing for market share, developers provide their condo buildings with gyms, meeting spaces, makers’ spaces and indoor dog runs. It is time these amenities are literally brought down to the ground. Let’s redistribute the activity.
It is time to promote — even demand — building types that accommodate larger households and instigate mechanisms that facilitate the distribution of amenities and services across the scale of not just a building but an urban block or blocks. This entails exploiting the trend to blur the distinction between dwelling, working, leisure and learning. In this way those people living in micro-units — as it is unrealistic, nor even desirable, that they all disappear — as well as larger multi-generation households, will have a more interesting city to venture into.
As learning and making become more widely accessible and less institutionalised, one can imagine these sorts of uses occupying ground floors and attracting public interaction. Boston’s downtown was boosted when Suffolk and Emerson Universities came to occupy both bespoke and existing buildings. As students do not lead a nine-to-five lifestyle, ground floor activity and ‘eyes on the street’ have improved round-the-clock.
Kathryn Firth AoU is an architect and urban designer currently based in Boston USA where she is working at NBBJ and teaching at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design
Micro-units: Good for the city, good for citizens? 45
Lathams is an award winning architecture and urban design practice that specialises in evidence based contextual design. Our work includes the design of new buildings and places, especially those in sensitive or challenging locations, and the development of strategies for the sustainable re-use and revitalisation of underused or underperforming property and land. lathamarchitects.co.uk
firstname.lastname@example.org Nottingham Derby London
0115 828 0422 01332 365 777 020 7490 0672
Space for great places!
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 poemâ€Ś you decide. Send contributions to email@example.com
The Oodi Library Carlos Soto The Oodi library is not a simple building. I would rather define it as a sheltered public place in Helsinki. The mostly wooden interior design along with the facilities for both educational and leisure activities of all ages, makes this library an example of inclusive urban dynamics with good aesthetics.
Dawn, Aarhus Docks Chris Pagdin AoU
Hellville Nosy Be, Madagascar Sara Serilli
This French colonial architecture can be found in Hellville; composed of Le Grand MarchĂŠ gaudily painted in yellow and Le Theatre Municipal, in white. I love the way they delineate such a meaningful space and a vibrant atmosphere, framed by the noise of yellow tuk-tuks and the scent of spices.
Taipei Gemma Hoult Nestled within the heart of central Taipei, I found colourful residential streets, like this one, a welcome oasis from the loud traffic of busy highways. Like most streets in the city, plants Chicago skyline seep out of balconies, windows, and Chris Pagdin AoU walls, quietly softening the rough edges of a sprawling concrete metropolis.
48 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 8 | Autumn 2016
It was painted for his son who lives in Chicago but with a twist! Can you spot which building has crept in from another city?
If you would like to take part in MY PLACE, simply email your photo and a text of up to 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org
People with places that are significant in their lives Millennium Bridge, York
in the area and is an icon and landmark for the city and, importantly, it is my home!
Mark Whitby Engineer I believe I should have been a sculptor but in the late 60s my parents rebelled at the idea (my father was an architect) and I became an engineer. Finding working for others far too conventional, I decided to set up my own company, with no idea of the consequences, other than being able to determine my own destiny. In many respects, having been given the opportunity to make bridges such as the one in York, I am not far from having found my true vocation. My place in York was born from the York Millennium Bridge Trust’s desire for a bridge that was ethereal, combined with my thoughts about the city and the site. York is bounded by medieval walls but the city grew beyond them and at the proposed site of the new bridge, the town met the country. The bridge would celebrate again the boundary between town and country just as the walls had in the past. We wanted an arch that was so fine that it would defy logic. We developed the idea that we could hold all the loads of the bridge on a box of stainless steel 600 mm wide and 200 mm deep, cut from a section of a circle. It would be braced by radial wires which work in exactly the same way as the spokes of a bicycle wheel. I was reminded of a line of poetry from my student days, from Donne’s A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, ‘Like gold to airey thinness beat’ and this became my metaphor for the design. We brought the idea together over a few weeks and as we finalised the submission I checked the poem. It is as if it had subliminally had more influence than those first few lines, because the last lines are: ‘Thy firmness makes my circle just, And makes me end where I begun’. Perhaps, in time, people will associate my bridge with these lines.
Henshaw’s Arts & Crafts Centre, Knaresborough Ruth Bush, Architect
Hilton Tower, Manchester Ian Simpson, Architect I was born in 1955 and educated at Heywood Community School and Liverpool Polytechnic/John Moores University. When I was 12 years of age, I decided I wanted to be an architect, a combination of both artistic and technical skills. Unfortunately, I was only ever good at the artistic part at that age! It took me a few years of concentrated efforts to build up my knowledge of sciences and maths. I remember being told by a careers master not to set my sights too high and that I should concentrate on becoming a draughtsman. I guess proving him wrong underpinned my determination to be an architect. My place is the Hilton Tower in Manchester, which I designed. I have chosen this particular building because it is an important marker for the regeneration of the city and has helped change the perception of Manchester internationally. Locally it has become a catalyst for further new development
My place is the Rotunda Entrance at Henshaw’s Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough. I was project architect for the scheme. Henshaw’s invite the public to view its’ students at work and it is a testament to how a building can influence the well-being of its users. All who visit can see the spaces created in the building and the students at work in the craft workshops. However, they take away much more than a view of a building, but a feeling of welcome and happiness given by the students who have many disabilities to deal with, both visual impairment and physical. The building was designed to incorporate wayfinding elements for use by its visually impaired users. Some of these are commissioned works of art incorporated into the building fabric. These include the water feature built into the Rotunda wall and the touch rail around the walkways, which changes in texture depending on the user’s location within the complex. As an architect I feel it is essential to address the senses of all users of a building. It was a great honour to work with Henshaw’s to create a building to respond to occupants with a heightened sense of awareness.
Gallery | My place 49
Petit Palace Hotel, Malaga, Spain Dan Comas, Desk manager
Cardiff Bay Barrage, Cardiff Genevieve Leake Architecture student I am a student at the University of Sheffield, although I was born and raised in Cardiff. Whilst being from a capital city meant I was surrounded by attractions, the barrage has been my favourite for quite a few years now. As a child, this place taught me the power of nature and how if we work with it we can open doors to new and beautiful things. Even if the other side of the locks was only the River Severn, the large concrete counterweighted bridges and huge metal lock doors meant a world of opportunities were available and to be explored. In retrospect, knowing I wasn’t limited by my surroundings but that they gave me freedom shaped how I interacted with the world around me positively throughout my childhood. Since reaching ‘adulthood’, I’ve found the barrage to be a place where you can lose hours sitting and watching boats pass in and out of Cardiff Bay, but not feel like you’ve lost anything at all. Countless evenings spent here (or the occasional sunrise), with friends or family, in any season and any weather, have been the setting for conversations and decisions made which have changed the path my life has taken me for the better.
They say that life takes you to places you never thought of. In a way that’s true, but I think that it is you who chooses. Now I am in Malaga again. When I finished my tourism studies I started to travel. Malaga was a nice place, but I needed more, and I thought I would only come back to visit my family and friends. I have lived in cities all over Europe; Vezprem (Hungary), Lillesand (Norway), Dublin (Ireland), Bristol (UK), Berlin (Germany), Puerto de Alcudia, Barcelona and Madrid(Spain) are all places I know well. I have very good memories of all of them, but Malaga is special – it is the place to be, at least for me right now. Before I came back to Malaga, I started work in a hotel chain in Madrid and they decided to open a hotel in my home city. Madrid was not my favourite place, so I decided to come back. Until recently, Malaga was not a city where people came to spend their holidays, but the city has been renovated and promoted. Malaga has become a must if you come to Andalusia. I love to travel so what can be better than helping other people have a great experience in my own city? So, that is what I do, I welcome people to our hotel and to our city. I am proud of the hotel and I love to advise travellers about all the culture, food, entertainment and, above all, the people that you can meet here. The Petit Palace is in a historic building right in the city centre. I think I have chosen this place to write about because I could say that the hotel is, in a way, like the city, a hidden gem that has been here for a very long time, forgotten but that needed to be rediscovered, renewed and shown to the people, and full of extraordinary staff who fill you with positive feelings.
Through my architectural education, I’ve learnt that certain spaces can encourage conversation or thought, whilst also providing comfort and security. I am lucky to have found such a place in my home city, where time spent there may be revelatory or trivial but always worthwhile. 50 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 8 14 | | Autumn Winter 2019 2016
The Salk Institute, La Jolla, California, USA Professor Alan Dunlop, Architect To me, Louis Kahn was the greatest architect of the 20th century. Few architects have left such a legacy of great buildings and influenced so much of contemporary architecture. In the 20 years before his death in 1974, he created several superb buildings but it is the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla California that is the most remarkable. The brief from Jonas Salk was straightforward yet extraordinary – to ‘create a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso’ on a spectacular site, gifted by the city of San Diego on sea cliffs, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I was fortunate to be invited to speak at the Salk in 2014, my first visit. Although very familiar with the Salk design through my reading and photographs, on site I rediscovered a building of great ingenuity and remarkable beauty. Where the structure could be clearly read; the programme separating ‘server and served’ masterfully organised; materials well considered and the planning making most of the incredible site. Architects attending the conference gathered to watch the evening sun set below the horizon on the centre water feature of the Salk courtyard; no doubt as Kahn had planned. It was a truly uplifting experience.
I’m also very grateful for the training in drawing that I received at school. It gave me a solid foundation that many of my colleagues lack. To be honest I really miss painting in our little studio at Ashville. I haven’t painted for quite some time now, but I look forward to picking it up again as soon as I get the time.
University of York Saul Tendler, Deputy vice-chancellor The university has a huge breadth of buildings across our campus: from our recently Grade II listed examples of 1950’s CLASP architecture to some equally excellent 21st century examples of how modern architecture can be a huge enabler of dynamic teaching and learning.
Elisava Design School, Barcelona, Spain Daisy Tang, Postgraduate student After finishing A-levels at Ashville College, I studied fine art at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. I soon realised that this didn’t really satisfy me. Art seemed so self-centred. I wanted to do something more related to people, something more practical and useful. I wanted to make beautiful things that make life better. After I finished the first year in Rotterdam I spent a summer in Barcelona and visited the Elisava Design School, which you can see behind me in the photograph. I then spent a year in the University of Hong Kong studying for a BA degree, as I needed time to prepare for the entrance exam for the Elisava and to learn Spanish and Catalan. Luckily, I passed the exam and began the postgraduate course. We have very prestigious and important designers as our professors but the workload is very heavy. To begin with it was quite difficult to understand anything but I survived and after a few months I climbed to third place in my class of 170 students.
But universities are – at their heart – about what people do inside the buildings, rather than the buildings themselves. This is the Berrick Saul Building, named after our third, and longest serving, vice-chancellor. I have picked this place because it’s an excellent example of how buildings can bring people together and foster collaboration. The building is home to the Humanities Research Centre, which is a hub for interdisciplinary research and postgraduate life in the arts and humanities at York. The centre brings together researchers from a wide range of fields across the institution. From research exploring the role of pilgrimage and England’s cathedrals, to projects for improving methods of forensic voice comparison, the variety of work mirrors the variety of architecture you find on our campuses. And that is really what universities are about – bringing people together, breaking down interdisciplinary boundaries and furthering the academic endeavour in ways that reach out from the buildings themselves and into our communities.
Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Pickering Ida Pearson, Housewife My first sight of this place was on the occasion of my baptism. I was born within a few yards of the church at my grandparents’ home. Over the years the church became a familiar place for me. I remember the Sunday morning bells playing hymn tunes, as I helped my Aunt Nell to put fresh flowers on generations of family graves. My grandparents and great grandparents are all there. I remember it as a place where the sun always shone, but where there were many old trees to sit under in the shade. At night it became a very different place. It was a short cut to the market place along narrow paths bordered by tall shrubs, a very scary place for a four year old, when I accompanied my granny to visit a friend who lived there. I remember holding on very tightly to her hand and telling her that I was afraid of the tombs and graves. She put her arms round me and said in her soft local accent “It’s not these poor dead folk you’ve got to be afeared of Honey, it’s the living”. All my life, wherever I heard church bells ringing, I was back in Pickering churchyard, and immediately back came all the memories of the place; happy bells for weddings and long deep slow ones, the passing bell for a burial. I hear them again now because I have returned to live in Pickering and it is still the same dear place. The hilly market place and the steps up to the church porch seem to have become steeper, but I go inside and the church is still as lovely as ever. I visit it often to light a candle and say a prayer for my loved ones in my present family and remember those who are in this churchyard and loved ones who are resting far away in other lands.
This year I started doing an internship in a design studio in the mornings to gain experience. So actually, I hardly have any sleep, as I work from 9am to 1pm, and then have classes from 3:30 until 10pm every day from Monday to Friday. I can only do my school work and housework at the weekend. Nevertheless, I’m very happy and satisfied with my life here at the Elisava.
My place 51
RIBANorth, Liverpool Rachel Carr, Operations manager
Former PC World, Coney Street, York
Minster Gates, York Constantine, Emperor
Sophie, Travelling musician This space is normally empty, but to mark the opening of the new national architecture centre, RIBANorth, we commissioned architects KHBT to design this intervention. If you come on a Saturday you will see it full of children, dashing about in its mazelike interior. Today you will only see my team putting fixings in to make it more robust! Kids may learn a little bit about architecture from it and they will certainly have fun. My early experiences of art were no fun at all – endlessly drawing the same Swiss cheese plant at school, but it didn’t put me off. I went on to do a degree in fine art. After that I worked at Liverpool John Moore’s University organising their degree shows. With six floors of studios to turn into art galleries ‘for one week only’, it was super-busy but such fun. Amid the euphoria of putting on a successful show I would think “We must do this more often” and then in the cold light of post-party morning I’d think “No way!” It has been similarly hectic here at RIBANorth getting ready for the opening, but I persuaded architecture students from Liverpool University to help and they were brilliant, even turning up in their best frocks and suits to help at the launch party.
Hi, I’m happy to have my photo taken in return for some change. My name is Sophie, just Sophie if that’s OK. You never can tell, these days. This is my dog Pig, and that’s my boyfriend, somewhere under these sleeping bags. He won’t harm you – the dog that is! This is our place in the doorway of what used to be PC World in Coney Street. Apparently it’s York’s main shopping street, but there are loads of empty properties like this one. Hopefully it will get a bit busier later on and then we can start busking on guitar and banjo. We do all sorts of stuff. Anything except Bob Dylan – I hate Bob Dylan. We will only be in York for a few days, just long enough to make the train fare to Edinburgh. I’ve never been to Scotland and we want to get the trip in before the weather gets too cold for sleeping out. After that we will probably go to Bristol. I went to college in Bristol and my degree is in photography, but my old film camera got smashed. It would be nice to have my stuff printed and maybe have an exhibition in an empty shop like this one.
My own art practice is on the back burner for now, because I have some catching up to do. Our first exhibition has shown me how little I know about the fantastic architecture of my own city. Living here, you take it for granted but when you know its history, you realise that Liverpool really does deserve its World Heritage Site status.
52 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
Hi folks. I think of York (or Eboracum, as we used to call it), as my place because this is where I was declared Emperor by my soldiers. We’d had some tough times beating the picts back behind Hadrian’s Wall, so it really meant a lot to me to know that my lads thought I was up to the job. We come back for a reunion occasionally and have a knees-up down the Legion, then a march through the garrison in the early hours just to put the wind up the locals for a laugh. You don’t get many opportunities for a laugh when you’re dead. It’s nice to be remembered though, and they have put up this statue to me. It’s not quite where I used to sit in the Praetorium because they knocked it down to build York Minster. I couldn’t see what was wrong with the praetorium myself. It was my military HQ but it would have made a good church for the Christians. But I never thought, when I established Christianity in my empire, that they would eventually need something the size of the Minster. I have to admit it’s pretty impressive, despite all those weird pointy arches! The city hasn’t changed much though. The street plan’s the same, and you can even see some of my defensive walls in places. The traffic’s still terrible and the roads still need mending. I’m a bit obsessed about infrastructure actually, and that’s part of the reason I set up my new capital in Constantinople – not exactly a tabula rasa, but certainly less messed up than York . The other reason of course is the weather. On a winter night that Yorkshire chill gets right up your toga.
Characterising neighbourhoods Book review “See it, say it, sorted” is probably the most irritating of the endless public service announcements inflicted on us while travelling in the UK. On the other hand, as a triad summarising the elements of urban characterisation it works quite well. Seeing, rather than merely looking, demands intelligent and enquiring observation. Describing what is seen in consistent and accessible language is essential to shared understanding, and sorting what is observed into categories, orders and classes informs efficient organising and guiding of intervention. This book pulls together the experience and insight of the two long careers of its authors and their many collaborators in interpreting, codifying and communicating the characteristics of neighbourhoods. It is a predominantly British, indeed English (and particularly South west England) in its focus, with a couple of overseas case studies. It is comprehensively illustrated with plans diagrams and tables, crossreferenced with photographs of the case studies derived from their professional and academic experience. This is the primary purpose of the book; to demonstrate the value, indeed the imperative, of graphical representation of the physical characteristics of places as a stage in their planning and management. The use of a set of symbols to codify these characteristics helps to bring some order to what might at first seem hopelessly complicated; to identify patterns, repetitions, discord and harmony. It also enables comparison between places to aid our understanding of how and why neighbourhoods may have evolved, and how we might positively use the forces that shape them. The value of this approach is not just in communication, but in the formulation and sharing of our understanding. The act of drawing, of interpreting visually what is observed uses a different part of the brain from that used for verbal description. The analogue action of pen or pencil on paper is distinctly different from the creation of digital images, and the authors have clearly enjoyed the activity of hand drawn diagrams, sketches and tables. The elegance of a hand-drawn line and clearly legible
script is disappearing from the world of urban discourse as the speed and variety of digital media offer easy representation and high productivity. This book encourages us to draw breath as well as pictures. To take the time to see deeply, to reflect on the meaning of what we see, and to offer an interpretation that others can use to engage with each other and shape future interventions. It draws on a great variety of other works; from Kevin Lynch to Historic England’s Conservation Principles. It spends little time on the social composition of neighbourhoods, on how people influence or are influenced by the physical character of places, but I can forgive that. This book does not claim to be encyclopaedic, and many of those who use it will keep it alongside all the other volumes that make up an urbanists library. It will be of particular value to students, perhaps particularly those from overseas, struggling to grasp the lingua franca of British urbanism that still dominates our institutions. It should be a standard work for any local authority planning department library as it offers clear guidance and helpful examples for hard-pressed professionals keen to make a positive contribution to the evolving neighbourhoods for which they are responsible. Which brings us back to the principal focus of the book – neighbourhoods. Within the economic and political tokenism of ‘neighbourhood planning’ there is a sound principle
of planning by consent that can unite the participative and representative strands of local democracy. This works best when diverse interests are using the same words and concepts to define what is and what might be. This book defines the physical components of neighbourhoods, and shows how they can be combined to reflect the aspirations of different communities in different circumstances. To use them all would be over-complex and confusing for most people, but having the full set to choose from should stimulate discussions that can build consensus through neighbourhood planning. The format of the book is not particularly convenient to carry around, and it contains a lot of white space, but that’s probably the price to be paid for giving primacy to the images, which is the primary value of this book. The diagrammatic and tabular representations of neighbourhood character are made more accessible to people unfamiliar with these approaches by their handdrawn format. This might encourage them to take a step beyond the Postit note cloud of local issues and get involved in the synthesis of solutions.
Steven Bee AoU Characterising Neighbourhoods: Exploring Local Assets of Community Significance by Richard Guise AoU and James Webb is available now at Routledge My place | Book review 53
Frank McDonald AoU, writer-in-residence
Left: Montage of the Bernard Shaw and Tivoli Theatre with forest of tower cranes © Brian Lloyd Below: ‘No More Hotels’ slogan outside the Bernard Shaw
Cranes Vs Creatives It was the imminent closure of a much-hyped hipster pub on one of the least attractive streets in central Dublin that provoked an outpouring of outrage about the direction of the city. The Bernard Shaw, called after the Irish playwright and polemicist, was a popular music venue with a crowded eating area in a yard to the rear featuring a converted doubledecker bus as its centrepiece. It was funky, indigenous and local, unlike the Wetherspoon’s that’s about to open just down the street. Stark photoshopped pictures of the down-at-heel building showed a forest of tower cranes looming up in the background. Indeed, there are several tower cranes in operation on a large site on Charlemont Street, just east of the Bernard Shaw pub, and what they’re building is yet another groundscraper complex which serve as Amazon’s new European headquarters. Cranes on the skyline, usually constructing offices and hotels, are now a metaphor for the corporate homogenisation of Dublin. “It’s feeling more and more like the capital is slipping out of the hands of its citizens and into the clutches of developers who are determined to devour every last bit,” the website entertainment.ie complained. RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster, produced a short documentary Cranes vs Creatives, highlighting how ‘clubs, art studios, markets and community
spaces are being squeezed out due to redevelopment and impossible rent increases’ as well as steep hikes in public liability insurance. Una Mullally, an opinion columnist for the Irish Times who has been chronicling what’s going on, maintains that the social revolution which manifested itself when Ireland voted in favour of both abortion and gay marriage within the past five years is being betrayed by “rampant and growing inequality, and the way in which its cities and cultural spaces are being hollowed out by speculation, gentrification, poor or absent planning and squandered opportunities”. And, of course, the housing emergency. “Things are being built, but not for people to live in,” Mullally wrote in the Guardian. “Hotels are flying up around Dublin city centre, to the point that city councillors recently voted to curb hotel construction in response to the erosion of cultural life…The same goes for the proliferation of high-end, purposebuilt student accommodation. Not only have such developments been mostly in working-class areas of the city, they are aimed at wealthier international students who can afford €1,000 per month for a room.” Average rents in Dublin are 36 per cent higher than they were at the peak of the so-called Celtic Tiger boom just over a decade ago, with tenants shelling out €1,800-€2,000 per month even for basic accommodation. The
54 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
number of homeless people, including families with children, keeps rising month by month despite the Irish government’s attempts to deal with the problem through its failed Rebuilding Ireland programme. And ironically, several budget hotels are being used as emergency shelters. As in Britain with the Greater London area, the fundamental problem in Ireland is that the supply of housing is grossly inadequate to meet the huge pent-up demand generated by a massive over-concentration of economic activity in the Greater Dublin area. Developers have no interest in building affordable houses or apartments, preferring to churn out office blocks, ‘build-to-let’ apartments, student housing and, lately, ‘co-living’ schemes with 16.5 square metre rooms and communal facilities. Capital Dock, currently the tallest building in Dublin, contains a total of 200 apartments, all fitted out in shades of architectural grey for letting at rents that are very steep indeed — €3,000 per month for one-bedroom, €4,000 for two bedrooms and €5,000 for threebedrooms. And that’s in the context of average annual income in Ireland of just over €50,000 — in other words, less than the cost of renting the most expensive apartments in this build-tolet scheme by American developers Kennedy Wilson. The dullest-looking high-rise building in Ireland’s capital, designed by
was set up in 1997, there was a real commitment to involving the local community, which was represented on the authority’s wider advisory council. The DDDA even set an objective of ensuring that up to 20 per cent of any new residential scheme in Docklands would be social housing, as exemplified by Clarion Quay, where 37 duplex units (out of a total of 183 apartments) were provided for tenants selected by Dublin City Council from its waiting lists.
Houses under siege from developers in Docklands © Frank McDonald
O’Mahony Pike Architects, it was built on the site of an even taller tower by Foster and Partners, which was to have a studio for rock band U2 on top. Conceived at the peak of the so-called Celtic Tiger boom, the U2 Tower (as the project was called) fell victim to the property crash in 2008, and the pivotal site in Docklands was snapped up a few years later for a bargain-basement price by cash-rich Kennedy Wilson, to add to its Irish property portfolio. There are no social or affordable homes in Capital Dock. The social housing element of the scheme was provided several miles away in Rialto, far removed from Docklands and its much-hyped tech sector, which includes the European headquarters of Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Airbnb, all of which have utterly changed the character of the area. Quite shamelessly, the housing needs of the indigenous, pre-existing population of Docklands are no longer being catered for in the area itself. That wasn’t always so. When the Dublin Docklands Development Authority
Clarion Quay was the first development in Dublin under Part V of the 2000 Planning Act, which aimed to mitigate social segregation by mixing social and market housing. But it didn’t last. Almost as soon as he became Minister for the Environment in 2002, Martin Cullen bowed to pressure from the builders’ lobby by amending Part V so that developers could either build the social housing elsewhere or pay a sum of money to the local authority sufficient to finance its construction in other locations. The Construction Industry Federation, acutely aware of the prejudices of prospective home-buyers against living cheek-by-jowl with poorer people, was determined to nullify the Part V provision, and Cullen helpfully obliged by eviscerating it. And social class prejudice even raised its head in Clarion Quay, where the management company adopted a new house rule prohibiting children – exclusively from the social housing block – playing in its communal garden because they were making noise. With the DDDA abolished and its functions taken over by the city council, the remaining development opportunities in Docklands are now governed by a Strategic Development
Zone, drawn up in 2012, under which any proposal that complies with the SDZ masterplan gets planning permission – with third parties having no right of appeal to An Bord Pleanála (Ireland’s planning appeals board). No wonder the surviving local residents feel under siege from developers building all around them. The Docklands SDZ masterplan, drawn up in the midst of an economic recession, is quite conservative on issues such as building heights, and there is huge pressure from the development lobby to change it. Leading that charge is buccaneer Johnny Ronan and his financial backers in Colony Capital, who placed a series of full-page advertisements in the Irish Times and other newspapers with ‘Grow Up Dublin’ as their unifying theme. They want no limits at all on high-rise buildings in the area. A preview of what lies in store is Ronan’s audacious ‘Project Waterfront’ plan for a large site on North Wall Quay, which he and Colony acquired for €188 million. What they want to erect there would be the tallest towers Dublin has ever seen, one rising to a height of 140 metres and the other clocking in at 155 metres, all festooned with tumbling greenery like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. According to very busy HJL Architects, who designed the scheme, it would be a ‘very cosmopolitan development’. It’s unlikely that any of the artists or other ‘creatives’ would be able to buy or rent apartments in Project Waterfront’s towers or, indeed, anywhere else in Docklands. Increasingly, the whole area seems like an alien addition to Dublin, rather than a natural extension of the city centre. Sure, there are cafés with baristas serving skinny lattes and swanky hotels with cocktail bars, to cater for highly-paid techies working in ‘Silicon Docks’, but there is something soulless about it all even after 20 years of ‘planning’. In the 1980s, when the city was in bits and littered with derelict sites even along the River Liffey’s quays, at least we had hope that things could be changed for the better. That hope is now gone.
Frank McDonald AoU is the Academy’s writer-in-residence, an honorary member of the RIAI and an honorary fellow of the RIBA. Project Waterfront © HJL Architects
Sounding off 55
Brilliant ideas that ruined our cities Part 11 - the architect and the crisis on the high street Not so long ago the idiot was asked to judge a set of student projects aimed at fixing the crisis on the high street. There was a huge amount of creativity and an admirable variety of ideas on show. Indeed the only thing that all of the projects had in common was the fact that they would, without exception, all make the high street crisis worse. There were schemes that flooded the street making it into a canal, there were a number that demolished part of the street to create a ‘vibrant’ open space. There were plenty of examples of pods and pop-ups, ‘innovative’ architectural market stalls and other structures of no discernible function. One even suggested a series of tall structures connected by aerial walkways. Oh to be free of the constraints of reality! It was all quite nostalgic of the idiot’s own university days. Of course, this was not what the other judges said, feeling duty-bound to praise the undoubted creativity on display. It was left to the idiot,
grumbling in the corner, to say that none of this makes any economic sense nor does it betray any understanding of how retailing, or indeed urban areas actually work. Ok, yes, they were students and maybe the idiot’s views could have been expressed in more measured tones, but really these students will have graduated within a few years and they will be suggesting this stuff for real! Earlier this year the RIBA Journal did indeed launch a competition for grown-up architects looking at the future of town centres. The competition focused on three very different centres; Dover (won by Periscope), Byker in Newcastle (won by xsite) and Tredegar in South Wales (won by Rural Office for Architecture). These and the shortlisted entries were just as ‘creative’ as the students’, full of local food markets, allotments, creative businesses, pop-ups and festivals along with quite a lot of new buildings. The message seems to be that the high street crisis can be addressed by making the high street better! The future is illustrated with
Marlborough High Street, Wiltshire © Anguskirk / Flickr
56 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 8 | | Autumn 14 Autumn Winter 2019 2016 2017
beautifully rendered drawings and photomontages showing lively streets and expensive new buildings full of people and successful businesses. But wishing something doesn’t make it come true. The idiocy of all of this work is assuming that the high street crisis has happened for want of a decent architect. In reality the crisis of the high street is an economic problem – if design plays a role it is likely to be a minor one. Sure, run-down high streets look… run-down, and could do with a bit of care and attention. But their appearance is a symptom rather than a cause of their problems. There are deeper problems of viability – if a street is unable to attract sufficient trade to sustain its businesses then its shops will struggle and new expensive buildings won’t be viable. The high street’s problems have been with us for at least 30 years. Many shopping centres first got into difficulty in the mid 1990s in the face of competitions from the supermarkets, retail parks and
out-of-town shopping centres like Meadowhall and the Metro Centre. People opted for convenience and plentiful parking over the authenticity of traditional centres and many of the latter started to struggle. In some cases attempts to address the problem like pedestrianisation ended up making it worse because it deprived centres of passing trade. Environmental improvements, fancy paving schemes, shop front improvements, public art, street planting and lighting schemes have all been tried. Sometimes these schemes brought about improvements but unless the fundamental issues had been addressed, the positive effects tended to be short lived. The fundamental basis of a retail centre is its ability to supply customers to its retailers. If you look at a Space Syntax map of a city showing the most connected streets in red, you will find that this correlates almost exactly with the location of shops. This is largely a self-organised pattern, the most connected places being the busiest and therefore where shopkeepers set up shop. The exceptions are the planned neighbourhoods where the planners decided where the shops should go (the idiot has written before about the Neighbourhood Unit and the idea of locating a shopping centre in the pedestrianised heart of a neighbourhood). The other exception are the shopping malls and out-of-town centres located for accessibility by car.
Nevertheless as the name suggests, the high streets that we tend to be most concerned about are those that are on ‘streets’ and it is important to remember that they are there because of accessibility. In a large city centre or a vibrant town centre pedestrianisation can be valuable in removing through traffic and improving the environment. However, the three streets that were the focus for the RIBAJ competition were all open to traffic and buses. All but one of the nine shortlisted schemes, including all three winners, proposed the closure of the street to all traffic. The pedestrianised streets were shown with happy people sitting at tables along with well-tended lawns and even on one occasion allotments. All of these lovely things are supposed to revive the high street, but the risk is that cutting off the traffic is like blocking the blood supply to a limb. The street loses its passing trade and because people are no longer travelling along the street it disappears off their mental map. For streets that are already amazing, (Lark Lane in Liverpool comes to mind) the loss of traffic might be a benefit. But for a street that are suffering it is more often than not fatal. In the current high street crisis the competition comes from the Internet rather than out-of-town retailers. The internet is an entirely different way of putting shopkeepers in touch with their customers and will change retailing for ever. The loss of thousands of retail
jobs and the closure of household name stores is the result of the companies in question not responding to this challenge. The failure of these companies has left vacancies in high streets, even successful ones. But this does not necessarily mean that the high street is finished. Indeed successful high streets are harnessing the internet by attracting specialist shops that can survive because they have both walk-in customers and on-line trade. Traditional centres are providing an authentic experience, mixing retail with leisure and entertainment. The places that face the greatest threat are the out-of-town centers full of chain stores, who’s main attraction was their convenience. It may be that the high street is undergoing such a structural change that it will need to evolve into something completely different. Neighbourhood, town and city centres will still exist but they won’t be solely based on retailing. Instead they will become places of leisure, housing, democratic engagement, community, services etc. All of this probably does need the creativity of a good architect along with economists and planners, highway engineers and social scientists. But it needs to be done with an understanding of urbanism rather than a belief that creativity can solve anything. The Urban Idiot
Urban idiocy 57
58 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 12 | Autumn 2018
My own view is...
We need to start listening to the kids by Jonny Anstead AoU
Following the announcement of the forthcoming general election, my 10-year old asked me why she wasn’t allowed to vote. ‘It’s my future too’, she said. She had a point: children have little voice when it comes to the decisions that will fundamentally affect their lives for good or bad. Our built environment gives physical form to our politics. It shows only too clearly what this disenfranchisement of children looks like. Kids growing up in towns and cities have seen their independence and freedoms progressively eroded over generations. In the words of Jay Griffiths, “they are enclosed indoors, caged and shut out of the green and vivid world, in ways unthinkable a generation ago”. We fear for our children more than we ever did, and with good reason: by giving cars free rein over our urban environment, we have allowed it to become a place of unprecedented harms and dangers. Children are required to navigate extraordinary perils daily. And childhood diseases associated with air quality and inactivity are on the rise. The world we build for our children matters in and of itself, but it also carries a wider importance. Children have been described as the ‘indicator species’ of sustainable human habitat: if kids flourish, then a place will flourish. In short, somewhere that’s good for children is good for us all. So why do we find it so hard to do? It’s not as if we don’t know how. From the Urban Task Force of 1998 to the 2007 Manual for Streets, over several years of CABE publications, and now the recently-published National Design Guide, attempt after attempt has been made to promote more inclusive city design. We just can’t seem to implement the guidance.
Maybe the problem is more deeprooted, more fundamental: that those who shape the built environment do so in their own image. They create a world that serves their own interests, at the expense of others. According to Intergenerational Foundation, a charity campaigning for fairness between generations, the average age of all elected councillors – across local authorities, town and parish councils – is 60 (and growing older). Adults aged under 35 – who make up one third of the population – account for scarcely 5 per cent of elected councillors; under-25s are barely represented at all. However you look at it, this is an appalling imbalance of power. The old are making the decisions, while the voice of the young goes unheard. Is it so surprising, then, that our built environment reflects the prejudices and vested interests of the older generation? After all, this is the group most likely to drive, most likely to own a home, and which is the least concerned about climate change. What other world could they be expected to make? What if, though, we were instead to shape the world based on the optimism, clear-sightedness and instinctive fairness of the young? The youth climate movement has shown what’s possible when children fight to have their voice heard. It’s not just that they can understand the evidence as well as anyone else: it’s that they are prepared to tell it like it is. There are some great examples of initiatives seeking to make the voice of young people heard in our sector. We recently worked with Blockbuilders, a social enterprise that uses the game of Minecraft to engage school-aged children in the built environment.
Kids were able to explore, debate and reshape our plans in a virtual world. It enabled them to articulate the kind of development they’d like to see and it enriched our thinking. But to effect real change, we need to go much further than innovative engagement: we need to think more radically about getting young people into the decision-making process. We might start by establishing Youth Councils – formed of elected young people – being given a statutory say in major planning decisions in their local area. Constituted along the lines of a parish or town council, these would draw on, and engage with, local schools, universities and youth organisations. They would consider significant planning applications and planning policies and represent the views of youth to the planning process. Their voice would carry real weight. But more importantly – much as with the school climate strike – it would help change the tone of debate and reframe the discussion. A young person speaking before a planning committee, advocating for a more inclusive, fair and sustainable future would carry incredible force. Anyone who watched Greta Thunberg’s speech to world leaders at the United Nations will recognise how compelling it is to witness a young person speaking truth to power. Our planning committees need to hear the same message: ‘the eyes of all future generations are upon you’.
Jonny Anstead AoU is founding director of TOWN, a developer with a focus on delivering well-designed and sustainable homes, streets and neighbourhoods.
Editor’s introduction My | AoU owninview Action is... 59
CITY TOWN NEIGHBOURHOOD STREET PLACE
Poetry Ian McMillan Drawings David Rudlin AoU Figure grounds
Words City Philip Jackson AoU David Lumb AoU Victoria Whenray AoU Town Michele Grant AoU Neighbourhood Tim Challans AoU Street Alistair Barr AoU Place Francis Newton AoU
I write this having just cast my online votes for this year’s awards finalists, safe in the knowledge that my favourite places never seem to win. It is a particularly difficult task this year given the quality of the shortlist. We are forever being told that we will run out of places to nominate but this never seems to be the case. Indeed its hard to understand how some places on the list this year have never been previously shortlisted. The theme for this year’s awards is ‘inclusivity’ and, a theme that has informed rather than dictated our choices. The process starts back in the spring with nominations from our membership. These were honed down to longlists of ten places in each category at a noisy and argumentative meeting at the offices of JTP. The ten were further honed down to three at Grosvenor Estates, just before the Spring Debate in a session that involved working groups, rankings, voting and lots more argument. We have spent the time since visiting each of the 15 finalists, taking photographs, writing reports and really getting to know the places – indeed this year has seen some of our best-attended assessment visits. By the time you read this the votes will have been counted and the winners announced at our awards ceremony on 27th November. The finalists written up on the following pages include three great cities in Utrecht, Porto and Sheffield. As usual population sizes depend on where you draw a boundary but all three are roughly the same size and have had to deal with living in the shadow of bigger neighbours. Each has reinvented itself in different ways and each is remarkable. The town assessment team have had the most travelling to do, covering Penzance, Brighton and Dundee (the latter two being small cities). The neighbourhoods couldn’t have been more different including the faded but trendy seaside resort of Porty (Portobello in Edinburgh), the rough edges of up-and-coming Levy (Levenshulme in Manchester) and the South Bank in Leeds which is too new to have a nickname. The streets have more in common, sensory overload of the Nigerian community in Rye Lane in London, the Bangladeshi and Afro-Caribbean communities of St. Marks Road in Bristol and the Ugandan Asian community of Belgrave Road in Leicester in full Diwali spirit were all wonderful! The place category were back once more to variety, the austere beauty of another faded resort at Seaburn in Sunderland, the square at the throbbing heart of Nottingham and strange tribute to CS Lewis in Belfast. This is a tremendous list and it is worth reiterating that all the shortlisted places are winners. Space, Place and all human Life is to be found in this eclectic list!
David Rudlin AoU Chair
PORTO A city that overflows and tumbles down hills That strain your legs as you climb them A city that pours with history that seems to spill From the past’s brimming glass, but then Here comes the present, here is tomorrow Making its presence felt all through the streets As you see both sides when you cross the Douro And new thinking is growing in afternoon heat About how to make the most of a place That’s been on this map for much longer than most So unfold the map and remodel the space And glimpse the way Porto comes through the mist As a swirl of possibilities bursting from a frame As a brand new set of rules for the changing urban game. Porto has a long tradition of international trading and business yet retains a distinctive identity and character, reflected in the city’s branding. The municipality has a strong sense of its social responsibility to develop the city’s economy and quality of life. Good decision-making includes infrastructural and cultural
projects, coordinated investment and urban regeneration strategies, social programmes, and local tax structures that support local independent retailers. The city has impressive public buildings and parks, a dramatic river and skyline, and a spectacular Atlantic coast with its waves, surfers, beaches, promenades, restaurants and cafes.
The university is world-renowned. Local innovative companies are pushing boundaries, developing ideas and products for global businesses. Porto is a creative, cultured, innovative and forward-looking city, which values its citizens and their rich heritage. It is an attractive, open, welcoming city for people to live, work and enjoy.
SHEFFIELD Something bright here, stainless and built to last; A city sitting in valleys and rising into hills Knowing that history’s not just a photo of the past But a springboard to leap from as the skyline fills With ideas of how the city can become itself Not a lazy idea of what a Northern place could be Not a slice of regeneration taken off the shelf But something organic, bespoke, like it should be: Here are seats of learning bursting with thinking Here are darkened spaces where the music sings Here are busy streets built round eating and drinking And all the shining futures forward planning brings. A city splashed by water, a city forged from steel; That keeps it Yorkshire, keeps it Sheffield, keeps it real. Partly in the Peak District National Park, Sheffield is England’s greenest urban area containing 150 woodlands and 50 public parks. It has a population of 582,500 with 100 languages spoken. An increasingly diverse city, Sheffield was the first to become a ‘City of
Sanctuary’ and the first to formally recognise Palestine as a state. The city’s new brand, built around an inherent truth of people being at the centre of what makes the city tick, is summarised by ‘Sheffield makes people and people make Sheffield’ – a special,
two way, reciprocal relationship. It is a city where good things actually end up being a partnership, a collaboration, a co-production or any other description of how multiple people from multiple organisations work together to create or regenerate spaces and places.
UTRECHT It bursts with things you don’t expect This city under glowing skies It bustles; it takes time to reflect It’s a feast for the ears and eyes; So give your thoughts time to collect As you stroll the teeming streets Take the map, go and inspect, This place will never be complete; There’s always more that will affect The way you think of time and space The more you walk the more you suspect This is progress with a human face, This is urbanism for the body and mind Utrecht’s past and future intertwined. Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, and with a population of 350,000 is the fastest growing. It serves a region of approximately 1 million and is home to 159 nationalities. It is the second most competitive city in Europe, after London, and attracts a diverse and international economic activity. At government level, policy
and decision-making is supported by three pillars: healthy environment, healthy people and healthy economy, to create a model of Heathy Urban Living which is core to all of the city’s activities. And bicycles rule the city! With over 125,000 bike trips a day, Utrecht has the largest bike park in the world accommodating 12,500 bikes.
Thoughtfulness, equality and reasonableness are traits repeatedly encountered in the city. All projects are based around people and healthy sustainable living, and it is clear that to succeed in the city, developers and businesses must accede to these principles, with the city, through many layers of activity and co-production.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE One of the world’s great double acts. Brighton and Hove: step into the spotlight And show the world how opposites attract, How two fine places get the mix just right And still remain distinctive, still stay discrete From each other but look each other in the eye One fulfils the other and makes it complete Brighton gives Hove wings, Hove makes Brighton fly And if you want a crucible of thinking, here it is If you want to wander down a twitten, off you go: And if thought leads to performance this is bliss ‘Cos at the end of every twitten there’s a show. Brighton and Hove, where Sussex meets the sea And creativity blossoms like birdsong in a tree. Brighton is a city by the sea with a population of 285,300. Known as a rainbow city because of its reputation for tolerance and cosmopolitanism, it has been a popular visitor destination for over a century. Its proximity to London has influenced its fortunes by attracting businesses and residents.
But Brighton is neither a commuter nor a satellite town, it is a centre for commerce, with strong creative and digital sectors and a thriving and colourful community and culture. The city is also home to many listed buildings and conservation areas and has the only UNESCO International
Biosphere Reserve located in a city. It is the combination of a diverse range of assets and a colourful community that creates a dynamic and innovative small city underpinned by strong governance that is looking at new ways to deliver solutions in the city and deliver its responsibilities in the city region.
DUNDEE Come here and face the music, face the art, face the sea Come here and see how history puts its arm around the now Come here and see the broad leaves growing on the future’s tree Come here and let this mighty city show you where and how To make a place that’s straddling both last year and tomorrow, So frame the streets and hang them in the gleaming V&A As a work of art so fine that I will really have to borrow Some lines from PC Murdoch as he strolls beside the Tay: Jings, Help Ma Boab and Crivvens can only just do justice to This hub of reinvention, brand new thinking, Northern light Shining on these buildings; this place knows just what to do To shake the map and mark it with endeavour and delight And if you want a space that lifts you, I think we’ll all agree A place that lifts your spirit is the City of Dundee! Dundee is a city of 148,750 people with a growing population; one in seven residents are students. Perhaps originally best known as the city of jute, jam and journalism, Dundee is now known as home to the first V&A outside of London, housed in an iconic building
designed by Kengo Kuma. The V&A forms the centrepiece of the council’s £1bn waterfront regeneration project. What sits behind the V&A both physically and in aspiration is a hub for creative industries, media and life sciences, a thriving port, and a
community-led vision for the city. Dundee is a UNESCO City of Design and was voted the best place to live in Scotland in 2019. Strong leadership, combined with good partnerships, has delivered faith in the city’s capability to deliver, and funding has followed.
PENZANCE Some say this is the end of something but they’re wrong Some say this is a place that simply tips into the sea; I reckon it’s the start of something, first verse of a song Of regeneration and renewal growing like a tree. There’s such a lot of sky here it’s crowding out the land There’s such a lot of past here it can nudge the now aside But this is the kind of town that blows away the bland That lets the future take control and gear up for a ride; That walks along the high street and the independent shops, That strolls down to the water for a cold glass in the sun That takes its time to take its time and then the penny drops: Penzance is a story that has always just begun. Some towns are a slow, slow trudge but this one is a dance Take your partners, strike the band up, here it is: Penzance! Penzance is a town with a population of around 63,000 people. It is the most westerly major town in Cornwall and the gateway to ‘the Land’s End peninsular’. Over the last six years Penzance has undertaken a remarkable journey. Today it is once again a renaissance town; turning around its fortunes through a community-led
approach driven by a small number of committed individuals. The neighbourhood plan is one of the key catalysts for change that is delivering a new belief in the town. There are three inter-connected hubs for regeneration, underpinned by clear aspirations for housing, community infrastructure and leisure amenities. The pace of change
is impressive. It is not accidental that the first major regeneration project to be delivered is a social enterprise; the restoration and opening of the Jubilee Pool, the UK’s largest art deco sea water lido. A project that reflects the town’s strong commitment to community ownership, wellbeing and the environment.
LEVENSHULME, MANCHESTER I think it’s best not to assume That you can pin down Levenshulme I think that very soon you’ll find That there’s a Levenshulme of the mind That exists mainly in the past But in real life Levenshulme time moves fast Like it has to when you DIY Regeneration then a place won’t die Take me down to Station South Then let a cool beer cleanse my mouth At Station Hop and let’s all say This Saturday is market day The sky is bright, the future looms And the future is Levenshulme’s! Levenshulme is an inner suburb of Manchester area that was pretty run down until ten years ago and has long been known as Manchester’s antiques and bric-a-brac district. It is now in the process of transition into a popular residential suburb, which although it has a poor public realm, has low house prices for Manchester and many
aspirational new businesses. There is a mix of both very poor and relatively wealthy areas including some very fine Victorian villas and industrial workers terraces that are attracting a variety of new people to the area. The community activism in Levenshulme is very impressive and a real catalyst for change; although it has got a long
way to go, the sense of optimism is overwhelming. As with most successful neighbourhoods, its future lies with its cultural diversity and the passion of individuals and community groups that are committed to regeneration and managing over gentrification.
PORTOBELLO, EDINBURGH Take a trip across this poem like you might Wander through Portobello, from dawn’s glow To the welcoming illumination of midnight, And there are no straight lines through Portobello Just detours and byways you have yet to find By the water, by the market, by the Turkish Baths Where you soak your body and rest your mind. Walk along this poem, do the Portobello maths Where beach plus sea plus drink plus food Plus ideas plus forward thinking adds up to something That’s deeper than a feeling, broader than a mood, About the idea that community can bring Answers to questions you never knew you’d posed. Portobello is an unlocked mind that’s never ever closed. Portobello is Edinburgh’s face to the sea and was developed from the late 18th century as a seaside resort and an industrial town. It is now a distinct neighbourhood of Edinburgh. From its major period of development to today a range of housing from workers cottages and tenements to large detached villas; innovative contemporary domestic
architecture; mixed retail and business uses and, traditionally, a very socially diverse population have defined its character. It is well connected to the centre of Edinburgh but has its own unique identity, character and cultural life. What is very apparent about Portobello is the strong sense of community and pride that has resulted
in some significant achievements and victories through collective community action. Portobello confirms that positive change can be led by strong but diverse community involvement and it is the strength of local individuals and groups that is the force driving this neighbourhood forward.
SOUTH BANK, LEEDS This is where a city shifts perspective This is where things aren’t as they seem This is brick solidity, plate glass gleam This is where an idea fits like a glove And that was a rhyme you weren’t expecting ‘Cos South Bank’s a place to change the rules Where creativity flourishes and fuels In spots that time had been neglecting Places that history had missed out Until now, that is, with Channel 4 Rubbing shoulders with The Tetley’s art Another rhyme changed! Like the River Aire South Bank’s always moving, always renewing South Bank: thinking, transforming, doing! Leeds South Bank is an excellent example of regeneration driven by the business community and local activists coming together, then engaging with and supporting the city council to shape the development of a former industrial and residential area, in a great Northern industrial city. Placemaking comes in many
forms and in the case of the South Bank this includes cultural innovation, hightech entrepreneurship, investment in high quality education and a commitment to making the way people live more sustainable. Although still a neighbourhood in transition it exemplifies that the regeneration of a brownfield area adjacent to a major
city centre is not simply a question of getting the right plan in place. It needs the persistence, commitment, skill and innovation of different professional and business communities, and individuals who are prepared to take initiatives and risks to be the catalyst for change.
BELGRAVE ROAD, LEICESTER Romans walked here long ago and if they could return They’d be amazed (in Latin) at how this road has changed And how it hasn’t; how this ancient road has rearranged The old ways in the new ways, so walk this street and learn. Here’s a street of making and here’s a street of light A street of buying and selling, a street whose windows shine Illuminating those who stroll along the Belgrave line And savour all the senses as day seeps into night. All Roads should be like this, all roads should be Belgrave With food and clothes and jewellery and adding up to be A star in Leicester’s wide sky, the fruit on Leicester’s tree Belgrave Road shows other roads just how they can behave. Here is a road across life’s map, a road broad as a smile The city’s gleaming necklace, the city’s Golden Mile.
This is an exceptional example of how a tight community can self-manage many aspects of a complex street in an effective way. There is a spirit of optimism and enterprise everywhere. The connectivity of the street is outstanding and this means that the shops, restaurants and facilities have
a wide catchment area. The saree shops and gold shops in particular have visitors from the Midlands and beyond. Successive waves of immigration from the 1960’s onwards have added layers of richness to the street. The amenities gather around a large park, with library, health centre, community centre
and sports centre all adjacent. The cross fertilisation of these activities is great to witness. It was no surprise to learn that the Diwali celebrations here are the largest outside India. This expresses how clearly this street has channelled cultural energy to make a vibrant and creative community.
RYE LANE, LONDON Stand, look around, move. Stand a little, look. Move again From being a still point in this constant swirling motion You’ll get a sense of being a boat on the sound and light ocean That stretches from daybreak to daybreak along Rye Lane. In the old days this was bigger than Oxford Street In the new days you hear the sound of things starting up And getting into gear and taking off as you drink a cup Of espresso so strong it lifts you right off your feet So you’re lighter than air and there’s Peckham below With Rye Lane as artery, as gateway, as thoroughfare To Coal Line to the meeting point at Station Square And the sense that this is a place where the future can grow So come for a day and stay for a week And uncover the things that make Rye Lane unique! This street engages all the senses with an eclectic mix of shops bars and restaurants. Many vibrant organisations exist and they cross fertilise. Ten years ago Southwark Council appointed a regeneration director and this role has co-ordinated the iniatives whilst encouraging their creative fire. For example, Peckham
Levels is a converted car park full of creative businesses and pop-ups. The Bussey building attracts arts, business and community activities. Mountview Academy is an exciting theatre school that animates the public space at the end of the road. PEM People provides skills and business opportunities to local residents. Local small businesses
interact with larger private owners and the council in many ways. Their discussions have sometimes been difficult over the years but it has been worth the creative tensions to create so many opportunities. Residents, businesses and visitors all really want the street to thrive because it acts as a social interchange for the benefit of all.
ST MARKS ROAD, BRISTOL Streets are living breathing things; this street is one You can hear and see and touch and taste and smell A sheaf of moving images, a set to wander on An open book that brims with tales to tell. Here is street as narrative, street as poem and song, Street of accidental meeting, street of shaken hand Street of picking out your mate across the laughing throng Street as bouncy as a trampoline, noisy as a band. I think the mark of a great street is that you’re changed Once you’ve walked down it; you’re different, in a way Your brain is simply buzzing and your soul is rearranged And you can live a life here, a St Mark’s life in a day That’s a festival, a carnival, and something so profound You want to do it all again to spin your world around. The resilience of this street is extraordinary. It has witnessed large culture change over 40 years but bounces back each time stronger than before. This has been achieved by self-help and grassroots activism. Previously anti-social behaviour and cultural tensions cast a shadow over this Victorian high street. The mixing of
so many different cultures has created ups and downs but every change creates more richness. For two years now there has been a Grand Iftar in the street to celebrate the end of Ramadan. This draws participants from all over Bristol and the community are now giving advice to Sydney, Singapore and Chicago about similar events.
This street has absorbed so many different lifestyles and cultures. The re-birth after the difficult years is very clear and best expressed by a resident we met, “If you lived here people looked down on you before. Now they all want to come and join us”.
CONNSWATER, BELFAST All cities need spaces to think with, To contemplate in and take your time; And Time flows like flour through a sieve Here. If the city’s prose, Connswater is rhyme. Here is a centrality, looking to the East, Here is a place where sky and water get along If urban streets are sandwiches, Connswater’s a feast, If the city is tuning up, Connswater is a song. Take me to the Greenway and let me breathe the air That’s as clear as an idea forming in the city’s mind About the way green spaces can make a city care About who lives there, making sure nobody’s left behind. Open up the pages now, come and have a look: If the city is a character, Connswater is their book. The Connswater Community Greenway is situated in east Belfast and forms a new 9≠km linear park with an off-road route network and series of urban spaces that follow the course of the Connswater, Knock and Loop Rivers. Situated at the heart of the Greenway is the C.S. Lewis Square which has quickly established itself as one of the most
exciting new events spaces in Belfast. The Greenway has bought about positive and dramatic change to the physical environment and to people’s opportunities, health and lifestyles. The project has addressed issues of urban decay, transforming neglected riversides into vibrant, safe and accessible parkland for
leisure and events and providing flood protection for 1700 homes. People and communities which, for generations have turned away from the Connswater River system now have the opportunity to return and make the most of what has become a living landmark and valuable life enhancement.
OLD MARKET SQUARE, NOTTINGHAM If you’re looking for a centre or a hub Then here it is; The Old Market Square Resolutely stamping that word ‘somewhere’ On here; a place for everyone, not a club You have to be a member of, or a shut Door you have to have a password for. No, this is the city’s thriving dancefloor Of the open air, so come and place a foot Here in the square and feel the humming Of Nottingham’s bright tireless machine Built from past’s solidity, future’s sheen And the oldest square in the country, coming Into its own every time you saunter in Welcome, everybody. Let the Square life begin! Situated at the heart of Nottingham city centre, Old Market Square covers an area of 11,000 square metres and is the second largest civic square in Britain after London’s Trafalgar Square. In 2003, the city council launched Square One, an international design competition for its redevelopment.
The winning design by Gustafson Porter opted for relative simplicity – a large single tier area offering flexible space for a range of activities and tiered seating to the peripheries. A bold new water feature including jet fountains and waterfalls forms the centrepiece to the square. The major aspect to the
operation of the re-designed square, is the wide-ranging programme of events held to animate the space. Old Market Square is a tremendous historic space bought into the 21st century by a bold and effective repurposing to undoubtedly rank as one of the premier civic spaces in the UK.
SEABURN, SUNDERLAND As the North East sun sets in the West the sea burns; As Seaburn’s light burns ever brighter the world turns The tide went out but now the tide’s come in The future walks up the sand and says ‘Let’s begin…’ And the future leaves footprints all across the streets Full of shopping and laughing and drinking and just Staring at the view until life feels complete As you’re gazing at renewal and a refusal to rust. Seaburn’s story starts again. Seaburn’s story never ends If Seaburn is a work of art the paint is not yet dry; History’s colour’s fading and tomorrow’s colour blends As this place is reinvented where the Seaburn meets the sky. The North will rise again and towns like Seaburn lead the way Come on Seaburn, tell your story, let the world hear what you say. Sunderland’s twin beach resorts; Seaburn and Roker have been family favourites for generations. The qualities of these seafront neighbourhoods do not seem not widely known outside the city, yet they boast sweeping golden sands with blue flagged status and panoramic views along the coast. Over the past decade,
the city council have spearheaded a programme of regeneration to the seafront areas comprising a series of public realm enhancements and development projects, benefitting from £11 million publicly funded investment. The assessment considered a 2km stretch of coastline extending from Seaburn Promenade to Roker Pier,
including the Roker Cliff Park, Victorian Roker Park and Marine Walk areas. The success of Sunderland’s seafront demonstrates what can be achieved through sustained public sector led regeneration with relatively limited means. This is a popular, much rejuvenated and highly inclusive place of which the city can be rightly proud.
Academicians and Young Urbanists DIRECTORS Jas Atwal Alistair Barr Steven Bee Andrew Burrell Michele Grant Andreas Markides Janet Sutherland Tony Reddy Biljana Savic David Rudlin (Chair) Tim Stonor Dr Deb Upadhyaya
ACADEMICIANS Asier Abaunza Arthur Acheson Prof Robert Adam Marcus Adams Robert Adams Lisa Addiscott Dr Husam Al Waer Pam Alexander OBE Joanna Allen Ben Allgood Nigel Anderson Ewan Anderson Charles Anderson Jonny Anstead Debbie Aplin Judith Armitt George Arvanitis Jamie Ashmore Jeff Austin Jeanette Baartman Jamie Baker Prof Chris Balch Sonya Bangle Yolande Barnes Prof Hugh Barton Brenda Bates John Baulch Marga Bauza Simon Bayliss Andrew Beharrell Robert Bennett Duncan Berntsen John Best Lord Richard Best OBE David Bishop Philip Black Deirdre Black Adam Blacker Alastair Blyth Christian Bocci Martin Boddy Henk Bouwman Carole Boydell Nicholas Boys Smith Rosemary Bradley Torben Brandi Nielsen Jonathan Bray Chris Brett Eddie Bridgeman Mark Brierley Jonathan Brookes Patricia Brown Craige Burden Mark Burgess Jonathan Burroughs Victoria Burrows Richard Burton Prof Georgia Butina Watson Peter Butter
Alexis Butterfield Karen Cadell Greg Callaghan Bruce Calton Fiona Campbell Charles Campion Steve Canadine Ian Cansfield Fredrik Carlsson Matthew Carmona Peter Carr Lorenza Casini Sam Cassels Simon Andrew Catton Philip Cave Prof Nikola Cekic Tim Challans Dominic Chapman Alain Chiaradia Nick Childs Fiona Chilton Sarah Chubb Dominic Church Heather Claridge Shane Clarke Clare Coats Dr Jim Coleman Robert Coles Sarah Collicott Simon Collier Paul Collins Martin Colreavy Max Comfort Brian Condon Prof Rachel Cooper OBE Ian Corner Cara Courage Will Cousins Rob Cowan David Cowans Michael Cowdy Timothy Crawshaw Toby Crayden Massimiliano Crea Andrew Creamer Chrissy Cullen Paul Cureton Linda Curr Peter Cusdin Jennie Daly Jane Dann Andrea Dates Alex Davey Philip Davies James de Havilland Neil de Prez Sophia de Sousa Brian Deegan Ioanni Delsante Toby Denham Guy Denton Nick Dermott Patrick Devlin Ina Dimireva Andrew Dixon Prof John Drever Eugene Dreyer Craig Driver Tony Duggan Alex Dutton John Dyke Nigel Dyke Richard Eastham Elad Eisenstein Joanna Eley Gavin Erasmus Karen Escott Roger Estop Prof Brian Evans
Roger Evans Wyn Evans Martyn Evans Dr Nicholas Falk Jonathan Falkingham Max Farrell Sarah Farrugia Ian Fenn Jaimie Ferguson Kathryn Firth Stephanie Fischer Andrew Fisher Jennifer Fitzgerald Sue Flack David Flannery Sue Foster OBE Bernie Foulkes Jane Fowles Alan Francis Peter Frankum Daisy Froud Sandra Fryer Catherine Gallagher Tim Garratt John Geeson Peter Geraghty Lia Ghilardi Andy Gibbins Ian Gilzean Menelaos Gkartzios Stephen Gleave Dick Gleeson Pippa Goldfinger Keith Gowenlock Marcus Grant Mark Greaves David Green Ali Grehan James Gross Richard Guise Paul Hackett Paul Hackett Na’amah Hagiladi Stephen Haines Andrew Haley Leo Hammond Tim Hancock Stephen Handley Philip Harcourt Geoff Haslam Roger Hawkins John Haxworth Michael Hayes CBE Peter Heath Tina Heathcote John Hegarty David Height Russell Henderson James Hennessey Roger Hepher Paul Hildreth Colin Hill Luke Hillson Steve Hilton Eric Holding Peter Hollis Stephen Hollowood David Horner Glenn Howells Jun Huang Weien (Frost) Huang Lewis Hubbard Simon Hubbard Anthony Hudson Nigel Hughes Kay Hughes Michael Hurlow John Hyland Tony Ingram
76 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 14 | Winter 2019
Philip Jackson Julian Jackson David Jackson Timothy Jemison Cathy Johnston Howard Jones Gregory Jones Peter Jones Eleri Jones Rory Joyce Gesine Junker Rikke Juul Gram Martina Juvara Dr Kari Kankaala Nora Karastergiou Dr Kayvan Karimi Philip Kassanis Daniel Kayet Steve Kemp Jonathan Kendall David Kennedy Angus Kennedy OBE Justin Kenworthy Anne Kerr Ros Kerslake OBE Anne Kiernan Craig Kiner Graham King Martyn Kingsford OBE Harry Knibb Angela Koch Colm Lacey Matt Lally Chris Lamb Charles Landry Richard Latcham Derek Latham Diarmaid Lawlor Michael Leahy Emilie Leclercq Prof Steffen Lehmann John Letherland Karl Limbert Ning Liu David Lock CBE Kuan Loh Fred London John Lord Mark Lucas David Lumb Nikolas Lyzba Kirsty Macari Carol MacBain Robin Machell David Mahony Keiji Makino Lee Mallett Grace Manning-Marsh Christopher Martin Max Martinez Andrew Matthews Bob May Steve McAdam John McAslan Declan McCafferty John McCall Frank McDonald Kevin McGeough Martin McKay Craig McLaren Craig McWilliam Alessandro Melis Joel Mills Dr Negin Minaei Shane Mitchell Keith Mitchell Lucy Montague Dr John Montgomery Rob Moore
Cllr John Moreland Paul Morsley Richard Motley Jennifer Mui Ronnie Muir John Muir John Mullin Neil Murphy Dr Claudia Murray Prof Kevin Murray Prof Gordon Murray Peter Murray Deborah Murray Allan Murray Stephen Neal Jon Neale Katy Neaves Marko Neskovic Francis Newton Victor Nicholls 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 Ed Parham Kevin Parker Michael Parkinson Sowmya Parthasarathy James Patterson Waterston Richard Pearce Adam Peavoy Russell Pedley Ross Peedle Prof Alan Penn Hugh Petter Justin Phillips Graeme Phillips Alex Phillips Jon Phipps Karen Phull Terry Pickerill James Pike Jonathan Pile Ben Plowden Nick Pollock Prof Sergio Porta Diego Portales Jason Powell Sunand Prasad John Prevc 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 Eric Reynolds Elizabeth Reynolds
Christopher Rhodes Patrick Richard Sue Riddlestone OBE Antony Rifkin David Roberts Prof Peter Roberts OBE Dr Rick Robinson Dickon Robinson Tom Robinson Bryan Roe Nick Rogers Angela Rolfe Anna Rose Graham Ross Susana Ruiz Fernandez Dr Andrew Ryder Robert Sakula Prof Ashraf Salma John Sampson Prof Flora Samuel Clare San Martin Ryan Sandwick Hilary Satchwell Arno Schmickler Dominic Scott Symon Sentain Lucy Seymour Bowdery Chris Sharpe Richard Shaw Keith Shearer Yihan Shen Michael Short Paul Simkins Dr Richard Simmons Erin Simmons Anette Simpson Andrew Simpson Alan Simson Anna Sinnott Ann Skippers Malcolm Smith Jef Smith Roger Smith Dave Smith Tom Smith Austin Smyth Carol Somper Carole Souter CBE Adrian Spawforth Ben Spencer Catherine Stevenson Peter Stewart Alan Stewart Susan Stirling Rosslyn Stuart Peter Studdert Nicholas Sweet Seiji Takamatsu Ian Tant Jonathan Tarbatt Lord Matthew Taylor Nick Taylor Ed Taylor David Taylor Rebecca Taylor Nicholas Temple Alison Tero Prof Mark Tewdwr Jones Gary Thomason Rob Thompson Alan Thompson Matt Thompson Dale Thomson Julia Thrift Dr Ying Ying Tian Damian Tissier Andrea Titterington
Ian Tod Bob Tomlinson Paul Tostevin Robert Townshend Rob Tranmer Natalia Trossero Stephen Tucker Neil Tully Jeffrey Tumlin Stuart Turner Malcolm Turner Roger Tustain Nick Tyler CBE Richard Upton Giulia Vallone Hans van Bommel Mattijs Van Ruijven Atam Verdi Jonathan Vining Andy von Bradsky Tom Walker Nick Walker Ian Wall Ann Wallis Alan Wann Andy Ward Nathan Ward Jeremy Ward Elanor Warwick David Waterhouse Stuart Watson Camilla Ween Oliver Weindling Dr Michael Wells Allison Westray Chapman Pam Wharfe Peter Wheelhouse Victoria Whenray Lindsey Whitelaw Stephen Willacy Seb Willett Peter Williams Martin Williams Patricia Willoughby Richard Wolfstrome Sandra Woodall Nick Woolley Gary Worsfold Tony Wyatt Wei Yang Bob Young Paul Zara Parsa Zarian YOUNG URBANISTS Marie Abella Khalifa Abubakar Alexandros Achniotis Sidra Ahmed Eva Aitsam Amer Alwarea Camilla Andersen Patrick Andison Ben Angus Jennifer Angus Kinda Ayoub Nouha Ayoub Nazaket Azimli Alison Baisden Simon Banfield Jacqueline Barrett Laura Bartle Tom Barton Fátima Basoa Chris Bate John Bayes Felix Beck Theodora Beckett Dean Bell Jordan Benson Fanny Blanc Mark Boyd
George Breckenridge Michael Bredin Lucy Bretelle Ciaran Brown Thomas Buchon Arta Bytyqi Matthew Carreau Cath Carver Jasmine Ceccarelli Drewry Chun Chi Cecil Chow Alexandra Chairetaki Victor Chamberlain Roland Chanin-Morris Elyem Chej Simon Chinn Katie Christou Zachary Claudino Francis Clay Julia Clough Ian Collier Lydia Collis Saul Collyns Lindsay Conn Nicola Contarin John Cooney Jonathan Couturier Robert Cox Rebecca Cox Henry Crabb Charles Critchell Elizabeth Crump Lilly Dai Dan Daley Hugh D’Alton Caroline Daly Hanaa Dasan Sean Davey Annika Davies Natasha Davies Aaron Davis Vito De Bellis Felix de Gray Constance Desenfant Graziano Di Gregorio Odysseas Diakakis Aya Dibsi Amy Dickens Ina Dimireva Karl Diskin Stella Dixon Aaron Doidge Pietro Donatelli Marta Ducci Timotei Dudas Isabelle Dupraz Adam Dyer Paul Ede Akrem el Athram Ben Eley Dr Victor Elisa Alexander Evans Janniah Evans Nadia Everard Alexander Farr Hannah Fasching Sarah Feldman Valerie Fenton Tobias Fett Thomas Findlay Alisha Fisher Charlie Fisher Diana Fjodorova Martin Fleischmann Andrea Forsberg Hannah Fox Anna Freiesleben Matthew Gamboa Joel Gandhi Rebecca Gibson Ross Gilbert Stephanie Goldberg James Goodsell Katsushi Goto
Helene Gourichon Emily Greenaway Amanda Gregor Lianne Grosvenor Dimitrios Grozopoulos Julie Guilhem Anastassia Gusseinova Zarreen Hadadi Kheder Hajir Daria Halip Janet Hall Summer Haly Jack Hamp Danny Harris Rosie Haslem Luwen He Francesca Heathcote Sapey Laura Heinritz Patrick Hennessey Helen Hepher Simon Hicks Alan Higgins Sarah Hill Merwa Himrane Marie Hintz Dominik Hoehn Sinead Holmes Lidija Mirella Honegger Alison Hope Hasanul Hoque Louise Houston Jordan Howard Saskia Huizinga Henry Hunter Julia Hurley Geraldine Hurley Cathel Hutchison Emma Hutton Loukia Iliopoulou Ross Irvine Omar Islam Fred Jerrome Jennifer Johnson Alice Johnson Dragana Joksimovic Foteini Kanellopoulou Georgios Kapraras Ignas Kazlauskas Seun Kelly David Kemp Charlotte Kemp Matthew Kendall Maxine Kennedy Robert Kerr Katie Keyes David King Isobel Knapp Robert Kwolek Melissa Lacide Marion Lagadic Tatum Lao Tabea Latocha Monica Laucas Alexander Lauschke Will Lawton Sian Leake Yeonhwa Lee Alex Lee-Bull Anna Saskia Leggett Mark Leitner-Murphy Niamh Lenihan Michela Leoni Genevieve Lin Paul Logan Iacovos Loizou Stephen Lovejoy Tierney Lovell Laetitia Lucy Alina Ludviga Madeleine Lundholm Belinda Mackay Catriona MacRae Wendy Maden
Giacomo Magnani Theo Malzieu Nick Mann Peter Mansbridge Ryan Manton William Marr-Heenan Patricia Martin del Guayo John Mason Fabrizio Matillana Georgina Maud Greg Maya Carl McConnell Chloe McFarlane Duncan McNaughton Hal Mellen Shawn Meyers Aleksandra Milentijevic Darcy Millar David Milner Jose Monroy Lily Moodey Graeme Moore Lucy Moore Tristan More Antonia Morgan Charlotte Morphet Ellen Morton Monika Mosiej Laura Mowat Jaffer Muljiani Chris Muller Cathe Desiree Nadal Katerina Nagnopol Christopher Neil Daniel Mateo Neira Alvarez Ioanna Nicolaou Pauline Niesseron Jim Nightingale Bobby Nisha Szymon Nogalski Nicole Norman Marketa Nosalova Matthew O’Connor Alex O’Hare Eleana Orr Floriane Ortega Killian O’Sullivan Shruthi Padmanabhan Benedict Pagani Pradumn Pamidighantam Laura Parker-Tong Eve Parsons Sejal Patel Victoria Payne Claudia Penaranda Fuentes Francesca Perry Tom Pinder Victoria Pinoncely Emma Pitt Kerstin Plain Julie Plichon Tessel Pool Chloe Porter Fleur Praetorius Alice Preston-Jones Bright Pryde-Saha Kseniia Pundyk Andrew Purves Longning Qi Mura Quigley Cristina Racsko Emma Rainoldi Savini Rajapakse Lorna Reed Richard Riggs Ronald Riviere Juan Robledo Reuben Ross Megan Rourke Glenn Ruane
Jonah Rudlin Rebekah Russell Mar Lluch Salvador Karla Santos Zambrano Renelle Sarjeant Giulia Sarmenghi Alice Saunders Charlotte Savage Ross Schaffer Mariana Schiller Alexei Schwab Tom Schwesig Adam Sciberras Shane Scollard Alec Scragg Eleanor Selby Sara Serilli Safeer Shersad Shreya Shetty Simeon Shtebunaev Matthew Sims Claudia Sinatra Rebecca Sladen Roxana Slavcheva Emilia Smeds Andy Smith Henry Smith Alan Smithies Rihards Sobols Bethania Soriano Carlos Soto Emma Spierin Anabelle Spooner Matthew Spurway Catherine Street Rebecca Sumerling Lucy Sykes Aleksandra Szczepanik Ioana Tamas Charlotte Tate Jerome Thibault Gideon Thomas Gavin Thomson Michael Tisdell Kieran Toms John Townsend Yoana Tulumbadzhieva Claire Malaika Tunnacliffe Joanna Turner Luke Turner Isabelle Uszynski Gozde Uyar Isobel Vernon-Avery Emilie Walker Christopher Waller Lucy Wallwork Michelle Wang Tim Warin George Weeks Dr Frederik Weissenborn Robert Wellburn Gael Welstead Matthew Whaley Roger White Tim White Mark White Alex Wilde Jennifer Wiles Niall Williams Steffan Willis Derek Wilson Curtis Witter Evelyn Wong Hui Ting Wong Nicola Wood Timothy Wu Mirjam Wurtz Jieling Xiao Zixuan Xiong Haibo Xu Qiming Ye Leigh Yeats
Yordanka Yordanova Armando Zappala Lea Zeitoun Yigong Zhang Maria Zouroudi GROUP MEMBERS Argent Beam BuroHappold Chelmsford City Council City of Eindhoven City of Leipzig City of Ljubljana Clarion Housing Group Community Action: MK Cork Chamber of Commerce Cork County Council Design South East Glasgow City Council Leeds City Council Milton Keynes City Council Nantes Métropole Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance CLG PDP London Architects Peter Brett Associates Pollard Thomas Edwards Renfrewshire Council Sheffield City Council Situplan Space Syntax Stallan-Brand Scott Tallon Walker Thrive Architects U+I URBED WestonWilliamson +Partners
HONORARY ACADEMICIANS Alan Baxter CBE Prof Wulf Daseking Jan Gehl George Ferguson CBE Jennifer Keesmaat Christer Larsson Tina Saaby Manuel Salgado John Thompson (Honorary President) John Worthington MBE
IN-RESIDENCE David Rudlin AoU Artist Frank McDonald AoU Writer Ian McMillan Poet
Academicians and Young Urbanists
Thriving life in buildings & urban places
Spatial Accessibility Model of the United Kingdom & Ireland Large urban modelling allows analysis of spatial inequalities providing insights that influence national and regional policy on issues including mobility, land value, health and employment.
Architecture & urban planning Strategic consulting | Training Research | Digital development
The 14th edition of The Academy of Urbanism’s journal Here & Now. This edition looks at creating inclusive cities.
Published on Nov 27, 2019
The 14th edition of The Academy of Urbanism’s journal Here & Now. This edition looks at creating inclusive cities.