Here & Now
AoU Journal No. 13 Spring 2019 ISSN 2058-9123 ÂŁ7
In focus: density
Suburban homesick blues Social interactions in high-density buildings Learning from Eastern European mass-housing In conversation with...Richard Upton, U+I
Front cover image: Richard Upton
1 Welcome 2 Editorial 3 The Academy in action 8
Smarter urbanisation and rapid growth Nicholas Falk AoU on how to address demand for more and better housing
Faith and time: Blackburn Cathedral Andrea Titterington AoU looks at lessons learned from Blackburn Cathedral’s extension project
Butler’s Wharf revisited Paul Zara AoU reviews whether the area’s regeneration has stood the test of time
Editorial team Alastair Blyth (Editor) Delano Bart-Stewart Steven Bee Stephen Gallagher Emeka Efe Osaji Frank McDonald David Rudlin Lucy Sykes Timothy White Design template Richard Wolfströme Advertise in this Journal! If you would like to reach our broad and active audience, speak to Delano Bart-Stewart on email@example.com or +44 (0) 20 7251 8777
Bridging the gap between food and urban planning Hélène Gourichon Koziel argues why a systemic approach to urban planning is necessary
Housing: for investment or for homes? Thom Aussems looks at tackling the commodification of the housing market
Suburban homesick blues Francis Clay looks at the history of the global culture in suburbia, and argues we should view density through a cultural lens
In conversation with... Richard Upton James Gross AoU speaks to the deputy chief of U+I on creating density of the right character and the lasting impacts of creating places without planning
More homes in less space Fanny Blanc shares research on social interactions in London’s high-rise buildings
From Beijing to St Petersburg Marina Alsina reflects on what constructivst architecture might teach us about housing design
Looking East Simeon Shtebunaev considers the lessons of Eastern European mass-housing projects
Space for great places! A gallery of ideas and reflections on great places
My place People with places that are significant in their lives
In memoriam Ben Hamilton-Baillie
54 Sounding off Writer-in-residence, Frank McDonald AoU discusses the high-rise free- for-all in Irish town and cities 57
Urban idiocy Brilliant but flawed ideas for the city
My own view is... Sustainable creative cities have to come from within, by Lia Ghilardi AoU
Academicians and Young Urbanists Who we are
The Academy of Urbanism is a politically independent, not-for-profit organisation that brings together both the current and next generation of urban leaders, thinkers and practitioners. Our mission is to recognise, encourage and celebrate great places across the UK, Europe and beyond, and the people and organisations that create and sustain them.
Join the Academy Become an Academician, Young Urbanist, Member or Group Member at academyofurbanism.org.uk/ membership
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 Julie Plichon Young Urbanist Co-ordinator Jason Monaghan Accounts
I went to MIPIM this year for the first time in more than ten years. Last time I was there it was dominated by cities that you had only vaguely heard of, from places presenting endless models of ‘iconic’ towers all looking exactly the same. In the intervening years of recession, MIPIM has apparently been a more muted affair, however this year some of the shiny tower excess is back. It is just that to find it you have to go to the London pavilion. London takes a reassuringly old school approach to MIPIM. While the stands of other British cities are little more than a free bar and some projector screens, the London pavilion is packed with huge models including, The Building Centre model that is shipped out every year. These models bring home just how many towers are being built in the capital and what shockingly bad urbanism many of them represent. So we thought it right that we should devote this issue of Here & Now to the vexed issue of housing density and whether it really means that we have to build so many towers. The prevailing view is that people do not particularly like density as Francis Clay points out in his brief history of suburbia, a point reinforced by our very own Urban Idiot. However as Fanny Blanc of the LSE sets out, the challenge in London is to build more homes in less space. But does this have to mean towers? This edition’s interviewee, Richard Upton of U+I, worries about the allure of the mono-tower while the eminent Irish journalist (and our writer-in-residence), Frank McDonald fears that open season has been declared for high-rise towers in Irish cities. Meanwhile, Maria Alsina travels the Trans-Siberian Railway reflecting on what constructivist architecture teaches us about housing design, and Simeon Shtebunaev looks at mass housing projects in Eastern Europe. Both are perhaps a lesson in the difference between things that excite architects and what makes good housing. Towers aren’t always bad of course. I wrote recently in my Building Design column about my guilty excitement at Manchester’s rash of brash new towers, but then again Manchester is that sort of place. I said in that piece that the most dangerous bit of a tower was not the top, but the way that it hits the ground. We all like a bit of Manhattan but too often towers are lazy, egocentric responses to the need to accommodate density and bear no relation to their surrounding streets. As many of the cities of mainland Europe at MIPIM demonstrated, density can also be achieved with solid six/ seven-storey urban blocks as part of a coherent urban structure. It’s harder work and there is less scope for architectural ego but it’s worth the effort. Maybe it is because we do this so badly in the UK that people remain so attached to suburban living?
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Chair’s introduction 1
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In ‘My own view is…’ Lia Ghilardi AoU asks ‘What if the established skills, ingenuity, ways of life, industrial traditions and cultures embedded in a city’s DNA mattered more to building urban strength than the engineering of “creative enclaves”?’ Sometimes there is an implicit assumption that by designing perhaps a ‘communal space’, automatically there will be some form of positive interaction between people that we can point to and say: this place has a ‘sense of community’ about it. Yet we must know that a sense of community cannot merely be engineered. This idea is one that is also picked up in the themed section in this issue when Richard Upton AoU talks of the ‘emotional resonance’ of places. Perhaps one facet of this resonance lies in how we interact with the green spaces around us. Dr Nicholas Falk AoU asks: How should cities grow and address the demands for more and better housing? One solution that he offers is to build urban extensions along transit corridors like the spines of fish bones. Rather than green belts around our towns and cities, Nicholas argues that there should be green webs that link waterways and woods. In looking at urban food policies, perhaps another point of emotional resonance, Hélène Gourichon Koziel argues that a systemic approach to urban planning is necessary to connect various policy domains if we are to close the gap between food and urban planning. She concludes that: ‘Because urban food challenges are multi-sectorial, applying a systemic perspective to urban planning is key’. The role of policymaking is raised by Frank McDonald AoU, who offers a warning about indiscriminate policymaking. He argues that open season has been declared for high-rise buildings in Ireland. The Irish Government’s recently published planning guidelines on urban development claim to be grounded in a new ‘evidence-based policy methodology for setting building height policy objectives.’ The very obvious question such a statement raises is: What is the evidence? And, how has it been tested? The pressure on governments to find solutions to increasing housing demand is likely to loom larger on a political radar than the quality of the environment itself; and quite likely lead a one-size/type-fits-all approach as the problem of creating the solutions are outsourced. Thom Aussems looks at how to tackle the commodification of the housing market, and the Urban Idiot points to a valuable lesson about matching people’s preferences to a diversity of solutions. It is too easy for policy-makers to ‘sell’ a policy solution as being based on ‘evidence’ without putting that evidence to test in an open and transparent debate. Evidence might come from looking back at what we can learn from past experience. Paul Zara AoU does just this and looks back at the regeneration of Butler’s Wharf after 35 years and concludes that it has been a success. Andrea Titterington AoU looks at how the determination of a small group of people led to Blackburn Cathedral’s urban regeneration project, showcasing that making places work sometimes comes down to key individuals. Perhaps we rely more than we realise on the tenacity of individuals sometimes against prevailing indifference or outright opposition. We learned last month of the death of Ben Hamilton-Baillie. Ben did so much for trying to make our villages, towns and cities safer and calmer places for us all. We hope that his pioneering work into traffic calming continues and creates a legacy he rightly deserves. Alastair Blyth AoU Editor
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The Academy in action! This year’s Urbanism Awards focused on celebrating examples of post-industrial transformation. The Academy continues to strengthen relationships with past finalists, including an insightful study visit with former European City of the Year runner-up and new group member, Ljubljana. Both Academicians and Young Urbanists have been further exploring the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc – the subject of the upcoming ‘Design for Living’ conference in May. Elsewhere, the active Young Urbanists have been looking into urban lighting and studying industrial heritage in Sheffield. 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
Editor’s introduction | AoU in Action 3
BRISTOL SHORT TALKS SERIES
2019 Urbanism Awards ceremony at U+I
2019 URBANISM AWARDS November 2018 The theme of the 2019 Urbanism Awards was ‘post-industrial’ as the Academy sought to recognise and celebrate examples that have transformed themselves into thriving places after suffering from the decline of their predominant industry. Leipzig was named European City of the Year after fighting off strong competition from fellow finalists Nantes and Zurich during a summer of assessment visits and subsequent vote by Academicians. David Rudlin AoU, chair of the Academy, said ‘Leipzig is the sort of city that urbanists dream of; lively streets, sustainable, a fantastic tram system and lots of creative people. It’s easy to forget how not long ago the city was run down after the loss of its industry and how dramatic its regeneration has been’. Elsewhere, the four remaining categories celebrated UK and Irish finalists. Paisley in Renfrewshire was named The Great Town, credited for using heritage and culture to change the narrative of the town. Kelham Island, former hub of Sheffield’s steel industry, pulled away to win The Great Neighbourhood award. It was commended for retaining some long-standing small scale manufacturing industries and crafts through local authority intervention, whilst also creating opportunities for cultural and creative industries and artist studios to develop alongside these without creating tension. The Great Street award was won by South William Street in Dublin.
The Irish street demonstrated an inherited flexibility and a creative use of the past, with the assessors noting that the street has consistently had to reinvent itself and each reinvention has added layers of richness and delight to the street’s special place in Dublin. Lastly, Granary Square in Kings Cross, London received The Great Place award. The Academy judges expressed that the square is an exemplar of a long-term vision and commitment by a developer and investors. The developers have retained involvement and continue to maintain an on-site presence that greatly influences the management, maintenance and resulting qualities of place. The developers have also been committed to achieving strong environmental credentials including, addressing land contamination arising from 150 years of industrial uses on the site. The Urbanism Awards were presented at a ceremony in London and were sponsored by U+I, Grosvenor, JTP, Perkins+Will and Savills.
LET THERE BE LIGHT November 2018 The Young Urbanists met at Arup to discuss urban lighting and its role in shaping cities. The discussion focused on designing inclusive environments for nighttime and invited designers and researchers working within the field to contribute and reflect on different dimensions of the topic. The evening started with an introductory speech by Florence Lam, global lighting design leader at Arup, who stressed how nighttime
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illumination ‘is a serious business’ with sizeable contribution to city economy and perception of our urban environments. However, lighting as a placemaking dimension is often very much overlooked, taken as a given rather than as an active element of cities. Dr Navaz Davoudian, who has been researching light and lighting for the past 14 years, focused her presentation on how lighting influences senior users of the city. Her research showed that when one’s ability to see decreases, a perception of danger and falls increases which leads to reduced mobility. Urban lighting can play a role in reducing this perception of risk. Co-founder of Configuring Light/ Staging the Social and senior lecturer in sociology at King’s College London, Dr Joanne Entwistle, presented ways to use sociological methods to understand how urban lighting shapes different uses of space. During her talk, Joanne highlighted the social inequalities embodied in lighting choices: a characterful street in Westminster will feature an atmospheric and sensitive lighting scheme, when the passageways of a 1970s council estate will constantly be lit by a cold, strong and purely functional lighting intended to deter crime. Dr Casper Laing Ebbensgaard, a Leverhulme early career fellow at Queen Mary University of London, presented his research focusing on privately-owned public lighting. His focus was the lighting that is often seen as clutter, a visual pollution, especially with commercial signs. However, Casper chose to present light as a feature that signals the presence
It’s all about the people; the corridor should be an exemplary place for ALL people, whatever their age, ethnicity, gender, accessibility needs, or other specific requirements. To become a global precedent for best practice inclusive strategic design is a clear opportunity. Full coverage of the deliberations of the can be found on the Academy’s website. Simon Hicks
THE LANDSCAPE OF URBANISM December 2018 Let there be light
of other people in the city, as an urban experience taking people closer to a sense of ‘togetherness’. Lastly, Inessa Demidova, lighting designer at Arup, added a lighting practitioner’s perspective to the discussion. Starting with her personal experience of spaces that gave a feeling of being inclusive, Inessa reflected on how these relate to the typical scenario of developing a lighting scheme for a public realm within a typical urban development. She concluded that the key ingredients identified: good quality materials and equipment, adaptability and giving the users sense of agency were all too often compromised along the way. Julie Plichon and Inessa Demidova
THE WHOLE CORRIDOR November 2018 It is not often enough that young experts in the urban environment meet to cooperatively form a vision for the future of development in the UK – especially considering that the future environment we are so often designing for could become our home. So with great enthusiasm, the Academy’s Young Urbanists came together, with support from Foster +Partners and the National Infrastructure Commission Young Experts, to debate the future of the infamously dubbed ‘brain belt’ – the 120km between Oxford and Cambridge that is earmarked for significant road, rail and housing infrastructure investments in the approaching years. We began with basic questions – what is it that unites the diverse concentrations of innovations in
Oxford, Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Northampton? Where are homes most needed, and who are they for? What do the local communities want, and what do the local councils identify as strategic needs in their jurisdictions? Yet we always knew, we could never hope to answer any of these questions in one sitting. However, there was some clear consensus. Firstly, the corridor needs a clear justification – who are the beneficiaries from this infrastructure spending, and why is this a strategic necessity for the UK in an age of constitutional turbulence? Second, can the corridor become a new opportunity to explore how infrastructure investment can be an inclusive exercise – or an investment in the community? We documented several further questions or points of discussion that we hope will serve to enhance and guide future conversations, research and actions across the corridor, summarised as follows: The Whole Corridor; an understanding of the wider ecosystems between Oxford and Cambridge, and the necessity to create a collective vision. New Settlements and Urban Extensions; zooming into local context, how can we create settlements that are responsive to existing communities whilst meeting the future needs of citizens moving to the corridor area? Delivering infrastructure; what kinds of institutional frameworks, codes and guidelines do we need to finance and deliver all forms of infrastructure where they are most needed?
Following the End of Year Review, Kevin Murray AoU delivered a valedictory speech to mark his stepping down from being a director of the Academy since its inception. The presentation was a walk down memory lane as he explained how the Academy started and how far the organisation – as well as the placemaking landscape – has developed over time. The talk explained how the Academy came into fruition, and distinguished itself whilst nestled among similar organisations in the same field. Kevin emphasised that from 2010 onwards the role of communities became integral to the aims and functions of the Academy. Being less concerned with the design debate, the Academy has focused on sharing knowledge and good practice between people and places. Alongside traditional reporting, Kevin champions the partnering and sharing of knowledge through the city learning visits, Urbanism Awards assessments, and the annual Congress. As multi-disciplinary experts of all ages come together, the Academy helps to facilitate the sharing of knowledge about what makes a place great and how to then learn from it. In conclusion, Kevin stressed that we need to collectively be aware about huge national and international problems, especially climate change. Creativity and innovative solutions will be the driving force in combating these issues. ‘In my lifetime the population of the world has more than doubled… we are now heading to eight, nine, ten billion people on the planet. We need to think about urbanism and creating places that are positive and liveable for everyone’. Mina Manik
Editor’s introduction | AoU in Action 5
YOUNG URBANIST SHEFFIELD STUDY VISIT February On a beautiful clear Saturday in February, the Young Urbanists settled in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, the city of seven hills and five rivers, to explore its unique story of urban regeneration. The day started with an introduction on the ‘psyche’ of Sheffield by Young Urbanist, Mark Boyd. ‘Sheffielders tend to be cautious about expressing enthusiasm. Sheffield prides itself on being a working class city, and it just likes to get on with things’ Rob Thompson AoU then introduced the city’s approach to preserving distinctiveness in urban regeneration. The hilly character of Sheffield gives the city a ‘connected sense of place by virtue of topography’ with view corridors and local landmarks. The day took the group throughout the Cultural Industries Quarter, Kelham Island and Neepsend, to understand how regeneration can be delivered in a way that reflects the city’s identity and characteristics.
professional knowledge and placemaking tools. Following this, Stephen Willacy AoU, city architect of Aarhus, examined the need for cities to make processes to ensure people feel they are being engaged with and listened to. Sharing many examples, Stephen highlighted playful, inclusive and experimental projects from around the world. Karen Cadell AoU, partner of AREA, then considered the different scales places are designed at and discussed the need to keep honing professional skillsets and mindsets. Finally, Eric Firley, associate professor at University of Miami School of Architecture offered insight into some of the different ideologies behind place design and the need to examine who actually shapes spaces. Rounding up the key symposium findings was Young Urbanist, Heather Claridge. She highlighted, in the context of populism and placemaking, the speakers collectively emphasised the need to work empathically, build trust and partnerships; retain professional integrity and use different tools; and critically ensure that design quality is upheld, as its impact on people and place will be one of the longest lasting.
Julie Plichon Heather Claridge
PLACEMAKING AND POPULISM March
‘I’m not an optimist or a pessimist. I’m an urbanist.’ The head of the Department of Urban Planning, Miran Gajšek’s response to the challenges facing the municipality’s planners might have seemed casual, if it weren’t for his evident commitment, and his enthusiasm for debating the issues with the group of similarly committed urbanists that made up the Academy’s Learning from Ljubljana contingent. Ljubljana was a worthy European City of the Year finalist in 2017 and is now an active member of the Academy. The core of this visit was a workshop reviewing the masterplan and possible alternatives for an area of roughly 300 Ha around the main railway station just north of the city centre. A plan adopted in 2002 has proved unrealisable, and lost its primary, Hungarian, investor in 2016. Academicians and Young Urbanists were able to offer fresh insights, unconstrained by familiarity with the obstacles to implementation. We could also offer exemplars from our experience of study visits to cities facing similar challenges. The discussion was focused, serious, constructive and potentially productive – suggesting a number of possible routes to unlocking the huge potential of what amounts to 5 per cent of the total area of the city. Either side of the workshop, we were introduced by his colleagues Dr Liljana Jankovič Grobelšek, head of the planning office, and Irena Ostojič, head of Sector for Spatial Executive Acts at the Department of Urban Planning, to the brilliantly restored and reimagined castle, the Ljubljana marshes nature park on the edge of the city, new housing and business projects, the inspirational university library by Josef Plečnik, and his own house – a very personal testament to the city’s greatest architect.
The Academy, in collaboration with the University of Dundee, hosted a special half-day symposium in Dundee to discuss the rise of populism within contemporary placemaking. Providing insight on this area were a range of UK and international speakers and symposium chair, Prof Brian Mark Evans AoU, professor of urbanism and landscape at Glasgow School of Art. The afternoon began with Kevin Murray AoU, director of Kevin Murray Associates, exploring the ways in which community interest can be strengthened with specialist
Placemaking and Populism
LEARNING FROM LJUBLJANA March
We were treated to excellent and generous hospitality, and views of the city’s setting and current projects and challenges from views across the city from urban highpoints. Ljubljana prides itself as a civilised and cultured city, and this is immediately apparent. It also feels a young and friendly city, with a distinctive heritage now enhanced by high quality, and increasingly pedestrianised public realm – and in the spring sunshine, quite enchanting. Ljubljana Castle © LeDucky / Flickr
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Steven Bee AoU
CMKO REGIONAL GROUP: FUTURE DIMENSIONS Imagining a future place for 2.4 million people within the CMKO Arc has provided fertile ground for the creative mind. In June 2017, the National Infrastructure Commission launched the ‘Cambridge to Oxford Connections: Ideas Competition’ which sought ideas that linked new infrastructure to sustainable placemaking. 59 responses were received. The abstract concepts were rich and varied with an array of solutions; some set out to address the overarching picture, whether a megacity, a string of linked towns dispersed along the Arc, a series of settlement clusters, or a drone city. Since then the regional group has been instrumental in bringing the ’Ideas Competition’ exhibition to Milton Keynes and has looked at the abstract concepts in detail to gain a better understanding of the main themes and issues. Four distinctive areas of interest, or ‘Future Dimensions’, have been identified. These focus on how the economic and cultural base is shifting; what people’s lifestyle aspirations are; what this might mean for shaping the spatial vision and placemaking principles; and how to manage the significant level of change. An understanding of the future is a prerequisite for establishing a sound base, a foundation for good placemaking. This is an approach that shares a common purpose, an imagined place in which things have some kind of order and meaning. How is this to be addressed when 59 entries gave us 59 different solutions for the future? There is no one utopia, but utopia, in all its manifestations seems bedded deep in the DNA of the creative mind. Placemaking is part of this. What might this mean for shaping the future vision? The Future Dimensions brought together a number of shared ideas and principles that could help inform growth within the Arc. These tended to relate to a Pan-Arc context, a strategic scale which raised a question on exactly how working at this scale is relevant to creating good places. They provide a starting point on how to address the design of places for people to use, to live and work in or move through. Whether that’s a trip between
regional centres, or at the city level from station to home, or at a local scale the walk up the road to buy some bread.
quality places and is proposing a civil engagement strategy and programme as an integral part of the delivery process.
These are all levels where aspects of movement, open space, public realm and built form and their interrelationship are addressed. A number of action areas have been identified that will assist with the delivery of quality places across the Arc. These include the need for:
This is a complex and challenging task and needs to be shared with other key stakeholders who have an interest in the Arc. This could be managed through the idea of a Pan-Arc conversation. Our objective is to build a strong and informed regional voice.
• A spatial vision and framework to support a pluralistic and integrated approach to growth and connectivity.
For more details go to academyofurbanism.org.uk/ cmkofuturedimensions
• Further work on a range of settlement typologies.
Stuart Turner AoU and Georgia Butina Watson AoU
• A set of framework principles and a city structures design guide to inform the spatial vision.
URBAN REGENERATION BY STEFFEN LEHMANN
• A growth model where the natural environment is recognised as a basic building block and one that supports sustainability, a circular economy and a resilient place. •
An innovative approach to housing and workplaces and an attractive place that responds to the aspirations of a global offer.
The regional group is promoting a debate around the need to deliver high
The Academy is delighted to support the forthcoming publication of Urban Regeneration: A Manifesto for transforming UK Cities in the Age of Climate Change by Academician Dr. Steffen Lehmann. Lehmann, who is director of the School of Architecture and Professor of Architecture of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, aims to distill the complex process of urban regeneration into a blueprint of 10 strategies.
Editor’s introduction | AoU in Action 7
Smarter urbanisation and rapid growth How should cities grow and address the demands for more and better housing? Asks Nicholas Falk AoU.
A report from Shelter’s housing commission recommends building three million new social homes, with examples drawn from the Academy’s European City of the Year finalists such as Bilbao and Rotterdam1. Yet many towns and cities in the UK are stalled by uncertainty, economic weakness and inadequate leadership. In growth areas such as Oxfordshire, six councils have at last combined to commission a joint strategic spatial plan, and my new report for Oxford Civic Society suggests how options should be assessed2. In North Essex, three authorities have gone further in promoting a locally-led New Town Development Corporation to focus new housing on three large areas. But campaigning groups are opposing the scale of the growth that has been proposed.
that people in the UK spend 50 per cent more time travelling to work than in Europe, a wasted hour a day. Most of the new housing estates have little relationship with the countryside and the pleasures that make life worth living. The NHS’s Healthy New Towns Network is concerned to show how better planning and design will improve both mental and physical health. Most campaigners in the UK spend too much time stopping housing being built, and too little promoting alternatives that would make people feel better. An exception is CAUSE, which has published a well-argued Metro Plan for development along the underused and electrified railway
Less is more We lost capacity for large-scale spatial planning when the regional development agencies and government offices were scrapped. The useful Raynsford Review of Planning for the Town and Country Planning Association recommends the use of development corporations to plug the gaps, as ‘people no longer perceive that councils as able to protect the public interest’. But after praising European practice, the report doubts whether we can ever copy their examples, as we are so divided. Our towns and cities are sprawling, jumping over well-intentioned but ineffective green belts. Figures show
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line from Colchester to Clacton3. Yet despite a number of attempts, it has been difficult to engage support from the local authorities as they wrongly believe that garden communities need to be large to pay for infrastructure. Urbanists contrast our sprawling towns and monotonous housing estates with the way development is planned in most of mainland Europe. Politicians who have visited Freiburg, such as Nick Boles MP and more recently Sir Oliver Letwin, have come back converted, calling for local authorities to take the lead again. Developers may talk about ‘garden villages’, but end up building housing estates that lack the popularity of old established places built around connected streets. Create Streets have
Cover image of Capital Gains: a better land assembly model for London report.
brought together extensive research on the failings of tower blocks4, but perhaps the faults lie in our culture. We need to create healthier, walkable, beautiful, and above all more affordable and connected communities; which means learning from cities that do this best. Revolutions and surges Building cohesive communities takes time, while politicians come and go. Regeneration takes a generation 20-30 years, as the praised example of King’s Cross illustrates. Even exemplary schemes in European cities, such as Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm, can take three-to-five years before agreement is reached with the main stakeholders. While cities may decay slowly, they grow in surges along transport corridors. The cover of our report for the Greater London Authority’s deputy mayor for housing shows that city growth is more like a game of dominoes than a jigsaw puzzle5. Most urban extensions apply the current thinking of the time, as for example London did when it expanded to the west in the 1930s by building over a million semi-detached homes off the new arterial roads and extended railway lines. The model was taken up in many provincial cities. Growth rarely follows masterplans, as David Rudlin and Shruti Parikh
The illustration shows how the built-up area of the capital has evolved over a century.
document in an extensive investigation of figure-ground plans they call Climax City. Some of the most valued places, such as Edinburgh New Town or Bloomsbury in London, are the result of long-sighted landowners parcelling sites out within some carefully chosen rules. The worst are the post-war excesses of system-built and standardised estates associated with Soviet planning and cities such as Glasgow. The digital revolution has created a global economy, which reinforces the advantages that metropolitan and university cities have over others. The third tier of cities, notably Stoke and Sunderland, lag behind their continental equivalents in terms of both GNP per capita and affordability, and Brexit is likely to make their situation worse6. With extended international supply chains taking the life out of old high streets, future great places may be built around colleges, health centres, or even waterfronts and parks. Arcs, grids or webs? One key variable is urban form. The so-called Cambridge to Oxford Arc, via Milton Keynes (CaMKOx) should be a good place to experiment because demand is so strong. It is receiving a lot of attention because of the government’s stated intention to build
a million homes there, with new towns and garden villages. There are a host of options illustrated in a report of possible frameworks for the National Infrastructure Commission7. But King Canute comes to mind, as there seems to be little understanding of either the economics of development or the history of urban growth, and as yet no agreed spatial plan. To match our competitors in Europe, we need to bring back the kinds of planning and development used to build new towns or comprehensive development areas after the Second World War. We have to mobilise land in the right places, where infrastructure allows, and not be driven by what housebuilders find easiest or most profitable. By sharing the uplift in land values from development, at least in the growth areas of the greater South East, we could fund better infrastructure for all, and release national finance to redress the imbalances in the North. Instead of the regular grids that were used in Milton Keynes, for example, which make attractive public transport unviable, we need a different kind of urban form. One solution is building urban extensions along transit corridors like the spines of fish bones, as in Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm or Rieselfeld in Freiburg. Instead of crude green belts, Green Webs should Smarter Editor’s urbanisation introduction and | AoU rapid in Action growth 9
link up waterways and woods in an accessible and ecologically sound manner. As infrastructure is so critical and expensive, and improving public health should be a priority, we should make the most of what already exists. For example, intensifying areas around railway stations – not around motorway junctions. Smarter urbanisation and development frameworks The roots of the Brexit debacle lie not just in a divided Conservative Party but also in many places feeling ‘left out.’ New developments are often opposed because they offer nothing to the existing community. The UK2070 Commission has been set up under Lord Kerslake to tackle the regional inequalities that stem from industrial decline, and one solution being considered is land value taxation. Authorities are starting to combine their planning efforts, for example in Manchester, not just to meet housing demand but also to improve access to jobs and services. We may even be rediscovering the benefits of what in the USA is called transit-oriented development through initiatives such as Connected Cities, and the idea is being tested out in a project in Tirunelveli in southern India.
We also have a rich set of inspirational models for possible futures, thanks to cheap international travel, the Internet, and award schemes. Study tours can change group thinking as they did in creating the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth.
housing: england.shelter.org.uk/support_us/ campaigns/a_vision_for_social_housing 2. Oxfordshire Futures 2050: oxfordfutures.org 3. CAUSE - A better way: cause4livingessex.com/betterway
But planning will be ineffectual unless it tackles the roots of social exclusion and creates more cohesive communities, as cities such as Bilbao, Rotterdam, Vienna, and Leipzig have successfully done. Development frameworks can provide the tools to help our cities move forward, and so urbanists should seek to answer three tricky questions:
4. Nicholas Boys Smith, More Good Homes: making planning more proportionate, predictable and equitable, .dev.createstreets.com 5. Nicholas Falk (with Pete Redman, Dentons and Gerald Eve) Capital Gains: a better land assembly model for London, GLA 2018 6. Hugo Bessis, Competing with the Continents: how do UK cities match up to the rest of Europe
1. What proportion of land should be allocated to development and different uses, including affordable housing?
(report and data set), centreforcities.org , 2016 7. Future Development Concepts – Supporting evidence for the CaMKOx Arc study: nic.org.uk/publications/future-development-
2. How much of the costs should be charged against the uplift in property values? 3. Which patterns of urban form will most likely minimise environmental impacts and support healthier lifestyles?
Dr Nicholas Falk AoU is executive director of the URBED Trust.
Before masterplans are ever drawn up, the stakeholders need to agree the basic rules in development frameworks for strategic opportunities. These should specify uses, densities, and the amount of space to be left as green, as well as the proportion of affordable or social housing. This will set land values. The threat of using compulsory purchase powers, plus changes to the compensation regime, will make land assembly easier in ‘growth areas’; but we can also learn from both Dutch and German models where the public sector provides the infrastructure and then charges developers. Smarter urbanisation should cut commuting times (and costs), which means concentrating development where infrastructure can cope. My report Oxfordshire Futures 2050 calls for ‘four-dimensional planning’, with time being the fourth dimension. Development and improvements in transport infrastructure must be joined-up, and over a time period that may stretch out over 30 years. New spatial planning techniques make option assessment much easier, for example using Geodesign, and could be used to help share land value uplift more fairly.
1. Building for our future: A vision for social
Hammarby Sjöstad © La Citta Vita / Flickr
10 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 8 13 || Autumn Spring 2019 2016
Design for Living The role of design in building a million homes in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc
22-23 May 2019 Milton Keynes
The Academy of Urbanism is collaborating with Milton Keynes Council and MK Gallery to deliver this special conference to feed into the debate on the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and the implications of the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendations to build a million homes by 2050. Day one includes an introduction to MK through a series of study tours that will look at how the city is being designed for living, as well as an evening drinks reception hosted at MK Gallery. Day two offers talks and discussions that will look closely at the role of design in building a million homes in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. The day will be divided into three overarching sessions: planning for region growth; masterplanning new neighbourhoods; and housing innovation. Keynote Speaker Jennifer Keesmaat
CEO, Keesmaat Group, former chief planning officer, Toronto
Ministerial Address Kit Malthouse MP
Minister of State for Housing, MCHLG
Speakers and contributors include Julia Frost Managing partner, David Lock Associates Neil Murphy Co-founder, TOWN Kevin Murray Director, Kevin Murray Associates Sue Riddlestone OBE Chief executive & co-founder, BioRegional David Rudlin Chair, The Academy of Urbanism Neil Sainsbury Head of placemaking, Milton Keynes Council Louise Wyman Homes England & West Midlands Combined Authority
Book now: academyofurbanism.org.uk/designforliving
Keynote: Jennifer Keesmaat
© Garry Davies / Flickr
Resourcing smarter housing Editor’sgrowth introduction | Isolating | AoU loneliness in Action 11
Faith and time: Blackburn Cathedral Fifteen years after Blackburn Cathedral laid out plans for an extension, seen as a catalyst for urban regeneration, the project was completed. Andrea Titterington AoU, former vice chair of Blackburn Cathedral Developments, takes up the story and looks at the lessons learned.
The title of The Academy of Urbanism’s journal – Here & Now – accentuates the present. As Academicians, however, we are usually involved in projects that take years and that we hope will make a positive difference to our built environment and people’s lives for decades, if not centuries. Consider just a few structures that have stood the test of time and the duration of their build. Egyptologists believe the Great Pyramid of Giza was built over a 20-year period as a tomb for the Fourth Dynasty Pharaoh Khufu. It took 40 years to build Durham Cathedral (10931133) to house the shrine of St Cuthbert, and 38 years to construct Salisbury Cathedral (1220-1258). The wooden scaffolds, lack of mechanised lifting equipment or ways to get building materials to site make these builds all the more impressive. Fast forward to our own time. For speed and efficiency, look to dictatorships for amazing results. In North Korea, a complex of 18 47-storey tower block apartments on Changjon Street – nicknamed ‘Pyonghattan’ by foreign diplomats – was completed in 2014 in less than 12 months! In England, the process of planning, designing and building takes far longer. And if area regeneration is the goal, then it can take, not months but, decades to make any impact. In 2001, Blackburn Cathedral rekindled the idea of extending and completing its building and precinct to provide homes for clergy and lay staff, as well as new offices and a new refectory – the first extension to an English cathedral for 500 years. In
1926, William Temple, then Bishop of Manchester, decided that Blackburn Parish Church (dedicated in 1826 on the site of a place of worship since 596 AD) should become the cathedral for the new Diocese of Blackburn. To convert the church into a cathedral, plans were drawn up in 1933 for a grandiose building using the old parish church as the nave. The outbreak of war meant that work stopped. In 1950, activity could recommence, but inflation meant that the original scheme had to be curtailed. 35 years after William Temple elevated the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin to a cathedral, Laurence King was appointed architect. He adapted the design with a very modern lantern tower placing the sanctuary directly beneath it in the central crossing. The dark Victorian windows were removed from the nave and a floor of polished Derbyshire limestone installed during the 16-year building project. The sculptor John Hayward worked with the architect to complete the modern extension. However, the precinct was left unfinished with a dirt car park morphing into a large asphalt bus interchange in front of Blackburn Railway Station at the entrance to the town. Because of its central location, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council (BwDBC)1 and public agencies, such as English Partnerships, believed that the cathedral’s plans should be the catalyst for the regeneration of the whole of this gateway into Blackburn – renamed the Cathedral Quarter. And so began a process that
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eventually resulted in the completion in 2016 (15 years later) of Cathedral Court (the extension to the cathedral incorporating four clergy townhouses, five apartments for lay staff, study bedrooms for choral/organ scholars, offices, meeting rooms and library, refectory (Café Northcote), 50-space underground car park, disabled access via lift, and a cloister garth/garden)2. Next to the extended cathedral, set on a new town plaza, is a hotel, restaurants and a Grade A office block (with plans for another office block in the masterplan recently achieving planning approval). The project also involved a new bus station, enhanced railway station and renewed culvert for the River Blakewater. The total cost of the Cathedral Quarter project in private, charitable and public funds was £33.5 million. It has transformed a significant area of the town centre. The plaza is used for numerous festivals, concerts and events, the hotel has 90 per cent occupancy rates, the office block is fully let, and there is a vibrant and attractive entrance to the town from its transport hubs. Blackburn Cathedral was the catalyst for the successful regeneration of the town that is considered the ‘capital’ of the East Lancashire sub-region and was recognised as such in the Cathedrals and Their Communities report published in December 2017 by the Department of Communities and Local Government (pp. 6, 9, 14). The Cathedral Court project also won the annual regional award for best building 2018 from the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.
What did we learn from this lengthy process? The stated aims of all partners throughout the masterplanning, planning and fundraising remained consistent: •
To strengthen Blackburn’s economy and the cathedral’s partnership with the diocese and Blackburn with Darwen Borough
To enhance town centre living in Blackburn by enabling some ordained and lay cathedral staff to live on site
• To contribute to the environmental and social improvement of Blackburn town centre • To exploit commercial opportunities and strengthen the financial position and sustainability of the cathedral • To exploit the cathedral’s potential as a magnet to attract tourists to the area • To provide increased community facilities within the cathedral precinct The core team from Blackburn Cathedral, BwDBC, and Maple Grove (the private developer) remained the
same throughout the 15 years. This was the only constant! As well as the 2007-2009 world recession, central government changed, every public agency involved (English Partnerships, Homes and Communities Agency, Northwest Regional Development Agency) was abolished or merged with other bodies, and private sector appetite for investing in the first hotel and new office block in this Northern town was affected by perceptions of commercial risk. Many times at meetings of the Partnership Core Group and Blackburn Cathedral Developments (a company formed by the Cathedral Chapter), it was felt that the project would stop despite the years of effort. Only with the determination and faith of this small group of people, volunteers as well as employed professionals, did it reach fruition.
Listed Building and Conservation Area Consent.
As is said in every discussion about development in England, even with supportive partners and agencies, the planning process is lengthy and complex; especially when dealing with listed buildings, conservation areas, public realm, archaeology, green space, public transport, housing and commercial uses. The planning process included having to develop a Blackburn Cathedral Quarter Supplementary Planning Document, underpinned by the Cathedral Precinct Masterplan,
Significant costs are incurred in the development of the required legal agreements, and disputes can continue long after the building work is complete. Legal documentation was required for an overarching development agreement between BwDBC, Maple Grove and Blackburn Cathedral with numerous supplementary documents. The construction of the hotel, office block and Cathedral Court could only begin when all parties had funding and
Because it was a major regeneration within a town centre the local authority planning applications for all of the work had to be developed and submitted together. The cathedral also required approval from the Cathedral Fabric Commission through a parallel planning process. Each stage involved significant technical studies, detailed designs and spatial strategies, consultation with the planning authorities and wider community. Each step is bound by planning law and can be steeped in politics – local and national. During the lengthy planning process, the economic and political goalposts also change and safeguards can be ignored. Therefore, short-term expediency can have lasting and damaging effects.
Faith and time: Blackburn Editor’s introduction | AoUCathedral in Action 13
builders in place. The What-if scenario discussions were extensive with lawyers rightly highlighting potential risks. However, when issues arise (such as the failure of a consultant or disagreements with a builder), they are vital to have right from the outset. Is there anything that can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of development in England? The Academy of Urbanism has highlighted successful European cities such as Bilbao, Aarhus, Ljubljana and Freiburg. What is striking about their ability to respond to crises, rapid growth, homelessness and housing shortages, climate change, and loss of major employers, etc. is that, although significant transformation may take years, there is a long-term consistency of political will to create sustainable and liveable urban areas that enable towns and cities to achieve the ‘balance of commerce (how a town makes its living), culture (the local way of life and traditions), and built form (buildings, streets and morphology)’ as noted by John Montgomery AoU in the Summer 2018 edition of Here & Now. Civic structures and laws in these cities mean that local authorities have more power to shape their own destinies. They can invest in major infrastructure projects and support the fulfilment of strategic visions in the knowledge that
they can raise finance and deliver on comprehensive plans. The North of England’s local authorities have suffered £6bn of cuts in their revenue support grants from central government since 20105. It is almost impossible for towns like Blackburn to plan positively when their ability to respond to their statutory duties is under threat and government funding agencies and policies are often in flux. Recently the support of private sector housebuilders through mechanisms, such as Help to Buy, has led to massive town edge building schemes which local authorities cannot afford to stop on appeal even if they have refused planning permission. There are no funds for provision of the infrastructure to support such new communities – no schools, no health centres, no shops, no public transport. England’s local authorities would benefit significantly from the governance structures of some European cities. It is a great credit to the partnership of BwDBC, Blackburn Cathedral and Maple Grove that the Cathedral Quarter vision was realised even if it took 15 years.
1. Since 1998 BwDBC has been a unitary authority separate from Lancashire County Council. This gives it jurisdiction and responsibility for functions such as planning and the collection of council tax. It is also dependent upon central government for its revenue support grant, which for BwDBC has been cut by 40 per cent since 2010. 2. James Sanderson, now of Sanderson Boland, was the architect for Cathedral Court and the Premier Inn. 3. Landscape architects Planit-IE designed the cloister garth in Cathedral Court and the plaza.
Andrea Titterington AoU is an honorary lay canon emeritus of Blackburn Cathedral and was on the board responsible for its expansion project
14 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 8 || Autumn Spring 2019 2016
4. BDP designed both office blocks. 5. In contrast the South East and South West have gained £3bn.
Butler’s Wharf revisited Paul Zara AoU looks back at the regeneration of Butler’s Wharf to see whether it has stood the test of time.
Butlers Wharf, the area of former docklands just east of Tower Bridge is now very familiar to many Londoners, marking the eastern end of London’s revived South Bank. I’ve personally been involved since 1985, when I started working as a junior architect at Conran Roche (now Conran and Partners), and thought it would be interesting to re-evaluate the development after 35 years to see if it can be considered a success; what it has become and, perhaps, what it might have become.
‘On a warm summer’s evening, taking a stroll along the south bank of the Thames, with the restaurants and bars spilling out onto the terraces and the buzz of happy chatter filling the air, you realise this is a magical place’ – Sir Terence Conran, My Life in Design
Rejuvenated docklands are now often fashionable areas in cities around the world, but when we started working on Butler’s Wharf in the early 1980s there were only a limited number of precedents. As Fred Roche, founding director of Conran Roche said in 1988, ‘…a lot of people might have said “Riverside, Tower of London; okay let’s do a grand concept”. We haven’t – it’s going to be mostly rehabilitation’. There were early 1980s plans by developers P&O for total demolition of the area, but fortunately that didn’t progress due to a series of refusals by the London Docklands Development Corporation. The Butler’s Wharf estate is a clearly defined area – the Thames to the north, Tooley Street to the south, Tower Bridge Road to the west and St Saviours Dock to the east, where one of London’s ‘lost’ rivers, the Neckinger, meets the Thames; in the 17th century, convicted pirates were hanged at the mouth of the dock. St Saviour’s Dock is now a highly desirable address. Once described by Charles Dickens as a ‘…muddy ditch… the filthiest, the strangest, and the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London’, it now
Butler’s Wharf © James Burke / Flickr
Butler’s Wharf revisited 15
contains expensive apartments. The dock makes an appearance in several films, including scenes from the James Bond movie The World is Not Enough. Shad Thames, the cobbled street that runs through Butler’s Wharf from Tower Bridge to St Saviour’s Dock, is the best-known part of the estate. In the late Victorian period, it became known as the ‘larder of London’, with warehouses that stored all sorts of goods, including grain, sugar, spice, tea, coffee and dried fruit. Unloaded on the riverfront, they were transported from warehouse to warehouse across the now famous cast iron bridges that span Shad Thames. The warehouses became derelict when the Port of London closed in the early 1970s and became squats for creatives including David Hockney, Andrew Logan and Derek Jarman, while the decaying streets were used in a variety of films and television programmes. One Dalek met its grisly end after being pushed out of a loading bay of the Butler’s Wharf Building, falling on to the cobbles of Shad Thames in Doctor Who’s ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’.
In the early 1990s, Sir Terence Conran led a consortium, alongside Jacob Rothschild, Lord McAlpine and Conran Roche, to acquire the site for £5 million in 1984 (the price of a couple of apartments these days!) – it included many derelict warehouses, seventeen of them listed. Terence Conran’s belief in the area was fundamental to its regeneration and began with the opening of the Design Museum in 1989, a huge gesture for the area and for London which played a key role in attracting visitors. The world’s first museum dedicated to design, it relocated a few years ago to South Kensington (a far more successful location, it turns out), but its loss is felt at Butler’s Wharf as there is no longer a cultural destination. The building is now owned by the Zaha Hadid Foundation and it’s unclear what they have in mind. Let’s hope it becomes an exciting new addition to the area, as it certainly needs something along those lines to add to the current mix. Alongside this, and against the advice commercial agents, Conran opened high-quality restaurants on the waterfront, including the Blueprint
Café on the first floor of the Design Museum, with stunning views of the city, as well as Butler’s Wharf Chop House and Le Pont de la Tour. Terence once told me that the best place to open a restaurant is by the water, and he was right. (Le Pont de la Tour was Tony Blair’s choice for an evening meal with Bill Clinton. When police cordoned off the area around Shad Thames and I nearly missed my train home). Most of the Conran Roche masterplan for the area is completed as originally conceived (except for the Spice Quay office building, which I will come to later). It took a simple enough approach that we called ‘keep the best and get rid of the rest’. Keep and restore the listed buildings and any other warehouses that had quality and character. Then replace the poor-quality ones with new buildings of a similar scale. Original 19th-century features, such as the iron bridges that connected the warehouses together were sensitively restored, as were many warehouse buildings, with a mix of uses including apartments and riverside restaurants. Many of the buildings were named after the goods that were stored in them such as Tea Trade Wharf and Cayenne Court. Other developers were working nearby producing an interesting variety of approaches – Andrew Wadsworth with CZWG Architects created ‘The Circle’ on Queen Elizabeth Street (with its dray horse statue) to the south of Butler’s Wharf and Julian Wickham’s curvaceous and colourful Horsleydown Square sits to the west, by the entry point to the area from below Tower Bridge. Michael Squire produced his crisp white rendered tower, Vogan’s Mill, across the other side of St Saviour’s Dock along with another CZWG building, the vibrant red China Wharf. Pollard Thomas and Edwards converted the Courage Brewery at the western end of Shad Thames – with surely one of the best penthouses on the river. As part of the Conran masterplan, we took the approach that places are better when designed by more than one hand. So, Michael Hopkins designed the home and offices for cutlery designer David Mellor (this is now our London office) – concrete, lead panels, steel and lots of glass. WellsThorpe & Suppel worked on warehouse conversions, while Allies & Morrison produced the Clove Building – a refined modernist essay.
Spice Quay © Peter Hutton
16 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
The showpiece was to have been the Spice Quay office building – the
lynchpin of the whole development – a new headquarters for computer services company Logica. Designed as a contemporary version of the bridgelinked warehouses of Shad Thames, this would have brought thousands of office workers on to the area and given life and activity at the ground and first floor on both sides of the street. The recession caused Logica to pull out and the most ambitious part of the masterplan was lost for good.
Over the last few years, office buildings have been developed in the southern part of the area, and the old court building is now the Dixon Hotel. The area is pretty much complete, and a recently formed group, STAMP (Shad Thames Area Management Partnership), has worked to better the area both through improvements to the infrastructure and creating more of a sense of community, both for those who work there and for residents.
A lot of money was invested upfront in infrastructure – paving, granite setts, York stone, public art. This turned out to be an expensive decision as the property crash of the early 1990s saw Butler’s Wharf lose its bank funding and head into receivership. By then, there were a good number of flats, offices, restaurants, a limited number of shops, a nursery, a student residence for the London School of Economics, and, of course, the Design Museum. It was well on its way to becoming a robust sustainable piece of the city. I think Butler’s Wharf can rightly claim to have been an important part of the regeneration of the South Bank. Certainly now with the GLA offices and the rest of More London, the whole stretch from London Bridge and the Shard to Tower Bridge and Butler’s Wharf is a thriving area visited by a huge number of people every year.
So, is the regeneration of Butler’s Wharf a success? Having been in the doldrums during the recession, it seems to have turned around to become, perhaps, an exemplar in Docklands regeneration. It’s a success in terms of property values, but perhaps it lacks a critical mass for non-residential uses, so plenty of restaurants but not enough retail. If the former Design Museum is transformed into a new cultural destination and STAMP manage to sort out the infrastructure, then maybe Butler’s Wharf will finally settle down and find its 21st-century identity.
‘If London Docklands has created an environment of richness anywhere within its nine square miles, then the neighbourhood around Shad Thames is surely the most successful’ – Brian C Edwards, London Docklands: Urban Design in an age of Deregulation
Paul Zara AoU is an architect and urban designer. He is partner at Conran and Partners (formerly Conran Roche) and has worked on the development of Butler’s Wharf from 1985.
Editor’s introduction Butler’s| Wharf AoU inrevisited Action 17 17
Bridging the gap between food and urban planning Hélène Gourichon Koziel argues that a systemic approach to urban planning is necessary to connect various policy domains if we are to close the gap between food and urban planning.
Food has long been forgotten by city policymakers and planners… Until the beginning of the 21st century, food was considered as ‘a stranger to the field of urban planning’1. City policymakers and planners were dealing with all fundamental human needs – with the exception of food. But there has been a process of change over the last two decades, with the development of urban food policies, as illustrated by the success of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. Advocating the development of sustainable and just food systems in cities, the pact has been signed by 180 mayors from all
over the world. Another manifestation of this trend is the growing focus of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation on urban areas: for decades, it had turned its attention to the rural world, but recently published a book called Integrating Food into Urban Planning in partnership with the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London2.
and availability. There are other longpersistent issues such as the increasing levels of overweight and obesity – from 15 per cent in 1993 to 27 per cent in 20153. Food poverty is another key preoccupation and its striking prevalence in the world’s fifth largest economy has been recently highlighted during the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights4.
The development of urban food policies echoes the new concerns of citydwellers about food, not least in the UK, where Brexit has raised questions and media scrutiny about food provenance, self-sufficiency, as well as food supply
On one hand, the attention now being paid to food in cities has been encouraged by the growing participation of civil society in urban political forums. Indeed, urban food planning has been characterised by the involvement of communities in establishing Food Partnerships in numerous cities. On the other hand, city authorities are increasingly willing to tackle these issues and adopt bold and innovative strategies, moving away from conventional policy instruments developed by governments. The recognition of food policy issues at local level comes with a change of perspective – city authorities and communities tend to see food in its social, health, environmental and economic dimensions rather than the traditional, central government focus on agricultural production. More recently, states have also started to perceive the potential of cities in overcoming food-related problems. The Scottish Government, in the context of its Good Food Nation policy, is proposing that public bodies, including local authorities, be required to set out food policy statements; this is currently part of a public consultation.
Urban farming at Parkdale Community Garden © Oceanflynn / Wikimedia Commons
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and increased social connections and sense of community). The Scottish Government, aware of such benefits, has introduced new responsibilities for local authorities for the provision of food-growing opportunities as part of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.
… while they have a key role to play in overcoming food challenges Urban food policy can include a large array of measures such as the promotion of urban agriculture, local food consumption, better food waste management; higher access to safe, healthy and environmentally-friendly food (economic and geographic); reduction of food poverty and health inequalities, development of alternative food suppliers for diversification and better share of benefits, promotion of changes in diet to reduce food animal consumption, promotion of a creative food economy, food technology and innovation, and the development of food procurement encouraging local, healthy or sustainable food. Many of these actions do not fall under urban planners’ responsibilities – rather, they are the responsibilities of several different municipal government departments. However, spatial planning is important to connect food and urban systems for more sustainable cities. The most straightforward area of work in this area might be the protection and development of peri-urban and urban land for agriculture, whether using terraces or balconies, private plots and allotments, land along highways, railways or pathways; public parks and spaces, institutional properties such as schools or hospitals, nonurbanised land on the fringes of cities, or areas where construction should not take place5. The protection and development of agricultural land is justified by its potential benefits for the environment (CO2 storage, reduction of urban heat-island effect, decreased risk of flood and protection of the biodiversity), healthy life (higher level of physical activity and better accessibility to fruit and veg
Urban planners also have a role to play in ensuring that people have access to sufficient healthy and affordable food through sound planning permissions for food retailing. By considering food access challenges in planning, healthier urban environments can be developed and food poverty and inequality reduced. In London, this tool is increasingly used: the Mayor of London has launched early this year a new programme called the Good Food Retail Plan. It entails financial support to boroughs for them to develop food retail plans in deprived areas. In addition to fostering a healthier environment, the programme aims at tackling issues of food deserts6, which affect a million people in the UK. They are typically large peri-urban housing estates or poor inner-city boroughs where food can mainly be purchased in corner shops with limited availability of fresh or affordable produce. The London Plan also seeks to restrict the opening of new food takeaways. Indeed, in England, thanks to the introduction of appropriate planning policies, local authorities can control the density, diversity and clustering of retail food shops on health grounds7. In Scotland, the policy framework does not allow it, although this may change in the coming years with the ongoing revision of the National Planning Framework and the Scottish Planning Policy. Finally, urban planners also have a key role to play in creating convivial places for good food in healthy environments.
are also a way to avoid silos: they foster horizontal integration in policy design and implementation – a key challenge for sustainable development. Innovative economic frameworks can also be considered when it comes to planning decisions. Indeed, these are often influenced by costbenefit economic considerations and mainstream economic models inspired by neo-classical economics, even though these are falling short to adequately capture the role of society and the environment. Moreover, they have limitations in seizing the complex and dynamic interactions between the components of urban and food systems. Finally, they are not appropriate to take into account ‘non-monetised value’, such as that created by the commons or inside households. To overcome these challenges and support sustainable urban food policies, urban planners will certainly have to be more ambitious and innovative, working as part of a food system in collaborating with other city departments, the private sector and communities.
Hélène Gourichon Koziel is a food policy officer at the South Lanarkshire Council in Scotland. Previously, Hélène has worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
1. Pothukuchi & Kaufman, 2000 in p1 Morgan, K. (2013). The Rise of Urban Food Planning. International Planning Studies, 18(1), 1–4 2. Cabannes Y. and Marocchino C. (eds) (2018). Integrating Food into Urban Planning. London,
Innovative approaches have to be adopted to tackle food issues
UCL Press; Rome, FAO 3. NHS (2017). Statistics on Obesity, Physical
Because urban food challenges are multisectoral, applying a systemic perspective to urban planning is key. A systemic approach allows us to capture the multiple components and to understand their connections – including the relationship of the city with natural resources. The systemic perspective also provides a better understanding of ‘feedback loops’: for instance, sustainable urban agriculture contributes to preserve the environment, in return reducing flood risks and increasing absorption of urban CO2 emissions, thereby supporting sustainable urban development. Systemic approaches
activities and Diet. England 2017 4. OHCHR (2018). Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights – London, 16 November 2018 5. Cabannes Y. (2012). Pro-poor Legal and Institutional Aspects of Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture. Rome: FAO. 6. SMF (2018). What are the barriers to eating healthily in the UK? 7. The Scottish Government (2019). Research project: To explore the relationship between the food environment and the planning system
Bridging the gap between food and in planning Editor’s introduction | AoU Action 19
A Place to Call Home Urbanism and affordable housing Annual Congress / 19-22 June 2019 Eindhoven, The Netherlands Through a combination of cycling and walking tours, plenary and breakout sessions, panel discussions and speakers from across Europe and beyond, we will learn how Eindhoven and others are creating high quality, yet attainable, living environments and how they are addressing the affordable housing crisis. Over the course of two and a half days, we will explore topics such as the changing role of the public sector as an affordable housing provider, different community-led housing models, and achieving affordability through innovative design solutions. Speakers include: • John Jorritsma, mayor of Eindhoven • Lord Richard Best, chair of Affordable Housing Commission, London • Tina Saaby, former city architect of Coopenhagen Plus tours to: Strijp S, T and R; Housing projects Woensel-West, Plan Celsius, Vredeoord and Meerhoven; Urban renewal areas Philipsdorp, Kruidenbuurt, Eikenburg and Beamix 3D house printing site
Housing: For investment or for homes? Former chief executive of Trudo, Thom Aussems looks at how to tackle the commodification of the housing market.
The topic of affordable housing is moving up the administrative agenda in metropolitan areas where the concentration of economic activities has produced a new wave of urbanisation. Combined with the commodification of the housing market – an essential feature of neo-liberal politics since the 1980s – this is having dramatic consequences. As a result, the proportion of income spent on housing has increased sharply, so people are sharing with others or looking for smaller and cheaper homes that are remote from city centres. Some 5.6 million households in German metropolitan areas spend more than 30 per cent of their net income on rent, and for over 1 million of them it is more than half their income. Both social scientists and real estate experts consider a ‘rent burden’ of more than 30 per cent of household income as problematic because it leaves too little money for other living expenses, in particular for lower income households. Increasing rents have a negative impact on the economic development of metropolitan areas, since each euro can only be spent once. In some urban areas, it has become impossible for starters to enter the housing market because the gap between their income and what they would need in order to rent or buy a house has grown too wide. No wonder that the World Economic Forum recently declared that ‘the cost of housing is tearing our society apart’. The huge increase in housing costs can be explained by two factors. Firstly, the availability of broader credit
opportunities in the housing market (see Josh Ryan-Collins’s enthralling book Why Can’t You Afford a Home?) and, secondly, the huge influx of international capital to metropolitan areas. In the Netherlands alone, some 46,000 rented homes were purchased for a value of €8.5bn in 2018. High housing costs result in less disposable income, which is why it’s bad news for the regional economy. As a result, talent – the fuel of the new economy – will either leave or avoid these areas altogether. Thus, the pressure on metropolitan authorities to intervene in the housing market is increasing by the day. Most local authorities believe that building new homes will solve the problem. But with the need for new homes most pressing in central areas with easily accessible public transport, densification in these districts is often met with obstinate resistance by baby-boomers with a strong NIMBY mentality. In areas where rents for existing housing is exploding, tenants’ organisations and even public authorities favour rent control. But experience shows that rent control is not that simple, mainly because it nearly always results in a higher sale of private rental homes. Reducing the supply could subsequently result in an unintended upward pressure on rents. Meanwhile, neo-liberal politicians favour the sale of social housing stock. In the UK, this was encouraged from the 1980s onwards, mainly by the Thatcher government’s Right to Buy scheme. A
recent report found that some 40 per cent of the homes that were withdrawn from the social housing stock under Right to Buy are now privately rented. Earlier this year a Guardian article stated ‘tens of millions of pounds are being paid by local authorities to rent former council homes in order to house growing numbers of homeless families. Some councils have bought back their former homes at more than six times the amount they sold them for’. On the far right of the political spectrum, Patrik Schumacher, principal of Zaha Hadid Architects produced a paper for the Adam Smith Institute, titled Only Capitalism Can Solve The Housing Crisis. He argued that housing provision operates under ‘quasi-socialist’ rules, which prevent market-driven solutions. His solution is surprisingly simple: abolish every form of government intervention. But the effects of Thatcher’s neoliberalism have shown that we should look for solutions on the other end of the political spectrum. Daniel Kay Hertz hit the mark last October when he wrote in City Observatory that ‘housing can’t both be a good investment and be affordable’. A similar statement was made in the Guardian by the mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, and the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau: ‘City properties should be homes for the people first – not investments’. To combat the housing crisis, the World Economic Forum primarily suggests ‘improving renter protections, expanding social housing and more tightly regulating the mortgage market’. But even it believes that ways ‘to limit Housing: for investment or for homes? 21
foreign investment and speculation’ should be considered: ‘a more dramatic intervention would be to reverse the trend of corporations getting into the housing market and reintroduce public land ownership’. This question was raised by the Den Uyl administration in the Netherlands nearly 50 years ago in its Rent and Subsidy Policy document (1974). It identified living for lower income households as a ‘non-private good’ and, more specifically, as a ‘merit good’, which it defined as ‘a need for a comfortable accommodation, the supply of which cannot be left by the authorities to market mechanisms and the laws of supply and demand, but which must be deliberately facilitated’. Under EU legislation, member states must distinguish between the nonprofit sector and the profit sector. In the Netherlands, the income limit to qualify for social housing was set very low, at €33,000 in 2011, or €37,000 in today’s money. The effect of this so-called Brussels ceiling is that the social rented sector is no longer available to starters on middle incomes. On the other hand, Dutch government policy has the adverse effect of segregating the social rented sector. In other EU member states, the EU regulation is interpreted in an entirely different way. In Paris, the upper income limit for a family with two children is €72,000; in Vienna, it is even higher, at €80,000. In other words: both low and middle-income households qualify for social housing. Because of this relatively high ceiling, there is a very high number of mixed estates: ‘What makes Vienna unique is that it is not possible to automatically estimate what someone earns based on where they live’ wrote the Huffpost. As a result, some 62 per cent of Vienna’s population has an affordable home (for less than 30 per cent of their income) rented from the city council or a housing association. Last November, the Dutch Socialist Party asked questions about a ruling by the European Court of Justice that the income ceiling for social housing can indeed be raised, although there is no indication that this will be done in the Netherlands.
Plan Celsius in Woensel-West © Hans Porochelt / Flickr
22 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
The neo-liberal Rutte administrations have limited the playing field of housing associations to social housing. With a current maximum rent of €710 per month, these homes are forbidden territory for middle-
income households. And although housing associations are allowed to accommodate middle-income households, the path is paved with red tape. On 12 December 2018, Wonen Limburg took out a loan of €170 million to develop housing for middleincome households with a monthly rent between €700 and €1,000. Unfortunately, Limburg is an exception, as nearly all housing associations in the Netherlands seem to believe that their sole purpose is to accommodate lowerincome households. In Singapore, approximately 80 per cent of the population lives in government-built flats through the Singapore Housing and Development Board, which has provided the ‘linking pin’ between economic and social policy since 1960. Initially, it built social housing, but quickly switched to building owner-occupied flats for the entire population. To this end, a wide range of instruments was developed, including a considerable discount on the market value when purchasing a flat, and the strategy turned out to be very successful.
In the Netherlands, the housing association Sint Trudo developed a product for the owner-occupied housing sector: Slimmer Kopen (Smarter Purchasing). The basic principle is that the occupant can purchase a home with a discount on the market value, depending on the area in which the home is situated and the housing typology. The maximum discount in some of the older neighbourhoods was 50 per cent. As a result, a home is not only accessible to lower and middle-income households, but also affordable. Should buyers wish to move, they are obliged to offer the home to the housing association. In the event that the housing association repurchases the home, the increase in value is divided according to a predefined key. Research has shown that this has resulted in mixed housing estates, with a positive effect on the quality of life in their neighbourhoods.
The form of management is a bit like the Dutch model of apartment rights, with the proviso that the apartments remain the property of the housing association. In 2011, the city of Zurich asked the people what they thought of these bottom-up initiatives in the field of public housing in a referendum. No less than 76 per cent of the population agreed to increase the share of housing associations in the housing stock from a quarter in 2011 to a third in 2050.
Thom Aussems is the former CEO of Trudo, a housing association in the region Eindhoven. Under his inspiration Trudo introduced a lot of leading transformation projects, such as the urban renewal of several old neighbourhoods (Kruidenbuurt, Woensel-West), the Lighttower in the center of the city and Strijp S (the former industrial plot of Philips).
The last alternative, the Zurich model, is the most distinctive. For many years, the Swiss city has given priority to building by housing associations as part of its urban development policy.
Golden Lane Estate | Retrofitting the ‘Kruschevka’ 23
In Focus: Density ‘If done poorly,’ observes Francis Clay (p25) in his opening piece of this theme section, ‘dense communities are nightmarish hellscapes of people stacked atop people with little in common with one another’. Rather than see density as a statistical quantifier within urban planning, Francis argues that we should broaden our understanding of it to a cultural dimension. In conversation with James Gross AoU (p28), Richard Upton AoU, deputy chief executive of U+I, has some thoughts on this. He talks of ‘emotional resonance’ and getting a better understanding of how people emotionally respond to the places they are in. He says that a city should be dense, ‘it should all be about the opportunity collided with people from different walks of life and different tenures’. Not just towers then, but a mix of affordability and type of occupation, that is the essential ingredient of a great city. Could we learn anything from elsewhere? Our final two pieces in this themed section look abroad for possible solutions and lessons. Reflecting on the Eastern European experience of mass-housing projects, Simeon Shtebunaev (p40) suggests that alternative models of ownership, maintenance and land management need to evolve if the UK is to deliver three million new homes in a short span of time – three million new social homes by 2040 according to Shelter’s Big Conversation. But Simeon points out, ‘density can entrench social inequalities and any new models of housing delivery need to aim to be an empowering tool, enfranchising citizens into wider society, beyond the simple provision of shelter’. Maria Alsina (p37) suggests that we are building for density for which the demand will only be increasing. From a trip on the Trans-Siberian train route from Beijing to St Petersburg she reflects on what constructivist architecture might teach us about the design of housing, and learns that we should give ‘character by adding value through the design to encourage social engagement, balance and a sense of community’. Fanny Blanc (p33), a researcher at the LSE London, points out that the encouragement of social engagement is often done by creating communal spaces, but perhaps with little reflection on how they should work. She reports on research looking into social interactions within 14 different housing schemes across London and whether they can enhance the building of communities. Taking their cue from the promotional material for such housing schemes which identify the importance of communal spaces as a way to encourage interaction between people, the researchers found that communal spaces are rarely a priority for residents when choosing a home. The most important reasons on their lists for choosing a home were transport links and price; communal spaces came a distant bottom. So, when designing a new project or indeed making changes to an existing area, perhaps a good starting point remains the initial engagement with those who have most stake in the place. As Richard Upton says: ‘A great project starts with a great brief, and vice versa. A great brief is an emotional brief as well as a technical brief. It critically has to have a purpose and narrative, a hope. From that hope, and the energy that comes with it, comes opportunity and growth and togetherness and community, which manages conflict and all the other things that are difficult in places where people are struggling’.
24 Here Here&&Now Now | | AoU AoUJournal JournalNo. No.813| |Autumn Spring 2019 2016
Suburban homesick blues Francis Clay gives a brief history of the global culture of suburbia and argues why we should view density through the lens of culture. Today, the basic set of our housing preferences seem near ubiquitous. Marketing for new homes and apartments from Manchester to Chennai have many superficial differences, but all centre around the same premise. A space for you, your stuff, your immediate family, a place to keep your car, and of course access to those activities that seem to be held as the signs of a cornucopia of urban living by developers: bars, malls, and somewhat inexplicably, bowling alleys. In other words, housing is being built, or at least marketed, to appeal to models similar to those that emerged in the post-war era, predicated on the notion of the atomised individual and their family living independently in a loosely connected community grounded in little other than immediate proximity. The proliferation of this idea of what constitutes the ideal living situation across the globe is now running at loggerheads with another idea that is hot on the lips of contemporary urbanists: the need for making our habitats denser. To save the planet, our communities, and indeed our wallets, we need more people living more closely and more
interconnectedly. High density and atomised, individual-oriented housing are not natural friends. Done well, dense neighbourhoods bustle with life and see people from all walks of life interacting and contributing to the social, political, and economic fabric of the community. Done poorly, dense communities are nightmarish hellscapes of people stacked atop people with little in common with one another. To the end of ensuring urban reform is done right, rather than considering density as a statistical quantifier within urban planning, we should broaden our understanding of it to a cultural dimension. Yet, doing so raises complex questions. Not least: why do we want the things that we want? Consider your home. If you were privileged enough to be able to pick and choose where you live based on preference and not necessity, what did you look for? Maybe you cared about location more than amenities, or wanted more space for your stuff than space for your dog to run around in. No doubt, your lifestyle came into play; the needs of a big family and a young professional are surely different. So far, so good.
Moscow District, Riga ÂŠ Erick Opena / Flickr
Suburban homesick blues 25
Yet this ubiquity was not always present, and the promotion of our contemporary understanding of urban life is far from accidental. By the end of the Industrial Revolution, Western understandings of cities were far from pleasant. If one subscribes to a Lefebvrian understanding of the evolution of the city, the Industrial Revolution necessarily exploded and reformed the urban fabric to meet the needs of supplying factories with materials, labour, and capital. Consequently, cities became denser to supply large workforces, but did so with little concern for the lives of the urban poor, who were crammed into squalid, polluted, and unsociable conditions. With the end of the Second World War, two competing remedies emerged. On the one hand was the view that people should leave cities altogether and enter the urban form of the future: suburbia. On the other, with a high-modernist view of social engineering, cities should be largely destroyed and replaced with communitarian blocks oriented to living conditions of the brave new world. Consequently, over the course of the 20th century, these new urban forms not only promoted new architectural styles and means of urban governance, but entire ways of urban life. The homesteads of the suburbs were not to be compatible with communal living; space for one’s own family was the order of the day, to be connected with complex tiers of streets, roads, avenues, and highways. Nor were the modernist communities free from this form of thinking. Space, not for one’s family, but for one’s community was prioritised, yet this was taken to an extreme intended to remedy the ills of the industrial city: vast tower blocks in an ocean of open space equally dependent on the car, and on a grand scale far from what one could consider ‘dense’.
26 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
In both instances, in the interest of a progress driven by futurism and a modernist understanding of society, a grand campaign of urban social engineering was undertaken in the 20th century. Whether in the homestead or communitarian image, powerful interests in the burgeoning Western car industry pressed hard to ensure that the personal motor vehicle was to be the centre of life in the new urban order. In the US, highways became tools not only for government capital expenditure and job creation, but as a means of urban cleansing, wreaking destruction in minority communities and permanently separating the suburbs from the old cities. For totalitarian states in the Soviet sphere of influence, the modernist communitarian vision became a means of social subjugation, creating a tightly controlled urban fabric wherein social mobilisation against the state was made nighimpossible. In either case, urban life changed; isolation from the wider urban fabric was seen as desirable by those with power, and therein the crusade against industrial density became a means of ushering in whole new societies built on the needs of then-contemporary elites. This is, of course, a deeply simplified and hence hyperbolic account; however, the core premise rings true. In any given era, the urban form is shaped by society, but is also actively shaped by powerful interests of the day, whether industry, religious and monarchical institutions, guilds, ideological regimes, and so forth. When it comes to our homes, why do we want the things that we want? Personal preference is always embedded in culture, and culture both shapes and is shaped by the societies and their given power structures in which they are embedded.
Where does this leave us today? The seemingly ubiquitous ambitions promoted in developments today are not free from this fact. In 2019 it is still the case that the vast majority of the world has been integrated into a liberal market structure; while the shape of urban development differs, the suburban vision of living has largely won out, even where buildings are packed tight and tall. Cities are built with the individual and immediate family in mind, often to great extremes. Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Lima, the location rarely matters; the same pattern of urban life engineered in the 20th century to fix the ills of the industrial city remains, only now it is bent to meet the contemporary needs of mass market consumerism. To continue this hyperbole, malls, bars, and bowlingalleys are today’s dark satanic mills: the form of urbanism they foster is car-centric, isolating, and deathly expensive for all but the growing global (and shrinking Western) middle-class. The New Urbanists of today, just as those before them, are seeking progressivism, only now seeking to build environmentally friendly and just cities. Density, once the enemy of progress, has become its salvation. To this end, we must focus on density as a social form, not a demographic metric. Where we fail to do so we simply promulgate the same problems of the past in a new packaging. Development in California, for example, was recently enthralled in an intense battle between proponents of Transport Oriented Development and an unlikely alliance of NIMBYs and anti-gentrification activists. California’s Senate Bill 827 (SB827) was the focus of this debate. Why? Because while on paper Bill SB827’s
demand for dense development surrounding transit centres sounded progressive, the reality is that doing so would have focused on density at the expense of existing communities. Gentrification has run rampant in places of the city where such developments have thus far been approved, with ethnic communities priced out of their longstanding homes. Ironically, the new residents are just as likely to drive their car to work as they were prior to moving to the transit-hub communities. The suburbs they claim to replace are gone only in physical form; the culture of the suburb remains unchallenged. Focusing on density as culture should not be a form of social engineering; rather it requires a form of deep democracy that respects the Right to the City of all urban inhabitants. Citizens, empowered to engage in a just economy, accessible institutions, and an urban form that facilitates a social fabric beyond the immediate atomised home would do well to thrive in dense communities. Less important than the number of people living in a space is the number of people living well in a space. A community cannot thrive in a sparse suburban landscape due to geography, nor can it thrive in a dense city if said city is built at all levels for the individual to serve elites within a consumerist society. Density, if done right, is more than demography; it is an entirely new urban society. Francis Clay is a project assistant for the Habitat International Coalition, an international network of urban social movements, NGOs, academics, and civil society actors focused on habitat rights.
San Francisco © Mike McBey / Flickr
Suburban homesick blues
In conversation with... Richard Upton Deputy chief executive of U+I With a property market polarised between high-rise towers and spreading low-density suburbanism, it seems a mystery that so few developers are convinced of the merits of considering scale in the middle ground. Deputy chief executive of U+I, Richard Upton AoU has carved out a reputation as a no-nonsense maverick who’s prepared to point the finger at industry, policymakers and the design community for falling short of the target of delivering great places. Richard Upton
In conversation with James Gross AoU, Upton lifts the lid on the pervading allure of the ‘mono-tower’, why we need density of the right character and persuasion, and the lasting impacts of proceeding to create places without a plan. Here & Now (H&N): Could you begin by reminding us of what, in your view, makes U+I special, and how your approach to regeneration follows an alternative recipe for the creation of people-centric places? Richard Upton (RU): Before Cathedral and Development Securities put ink to paper [on their merger], there was a dialogue and agreement that clearly established values as a board, and as individuals, to have great purposes for the places we create that are authentic, inclusive, beautiful and make people happy. 28 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
We felt that there was a business plan that could work with the alchemy of great purpose and great profits. U+I mixed that into a melting pot; a ‘special sauce’ of purpose, passion, intelligence, imagination and definitely audacity (the chilli sauce in the mix), meaning you need to move with great progressive fervour and be bold in responding to very complex issues. There is space for a company with our approach. It’s playing out in the growth of our portfolio, which (using simple maths) has risen from £3½bn to £11bn in 3½years, which is obviously not insubstantial. A great project starts with a great brief, and vice versa. A great brief is an emotional brief as well as a technical brief. It critically has to have a purpose and narrative, a hope. From that hope, and the energy that comes with it, comes opportunity and growth and togetherness and community, which manages conflict and all the other things that are difficult in places where people are struggling.
Mayfield © Luke Hayes
H&N: So why do you think we end up with so many bad buildings in the wrong places? Is it down to bad briefing or is there more at play, and what do you feel will be the impact of these buildings on the communities where they’re placed?
structure of the city, distinct from the ‘background’ architecture around it? RU: Yes, yes. I think one day we will be able to distil the chemical changes in people, almost the psychogeography, where you walk into a great cathedral in Reims or somewhere, and you feel ‘wow!’. Or where there is a huge landscape, and there is a different emotional response, and we’ll be able to put it into an algorithm and design our open spaces beautifully.
RU: What upsets me about the rather piecemeal and ad hoc approach that the market and the policymakers have towards towers is that they don’t realise the impact on the skyline once a very tall building is in place.
The great buildings that are ‘civic’ and frame London’s position in the world are ones that are interesting, and that’s been our skyline for many, many years. You know St Paul’s is there, and the spires are there. Occasionally, there is a big library or a big town hall and it sits like a wedding cake and it’s definitely the most important thing in town.
The skyline is as important to a sense of belonging and place as a pie-and-mash shop is at a human level, when you’re walking past it, where you get all that richness of smells, of engagement with people, and active association with your life. You have as much emotional resonance with a skyline. It frames where you are, and who you are (if you stay in the community for any period of time). That’s evident from how taller buildings are used as iconography, so it’s important because anything that touches the sky is important, and it had quite a civic or faith role in the past.
But we’re not talking about that now. In 99.99 per cent of the time, anything that is big and that is being built in a city now could be anything. It could be residential towers, it could be office towers, but it’s very rarely ‘civic’. H&N: Do you feel we are in danger of stumbling into a new age of pejorative buildings? The era of the anonylith perhaps? Buildings that combine the monolithic structures of large towers, with a layer of anonymism, hiding whatever happens inside? Creating a new anonymism, first developed on boxy
H&N: You seem to be close to espousing principles of Léon Krier on the subject of civitas - the concept of designing with the right buildings of the right scale and use in the right place and setting, with the taller civic, municipal or faith buildings forming the
In conversation with... Richard Upton 29
suburban estates, and now oppressively expressing itself in a new vertical order in our cites?
H&N: So why do these things pop up in the way that they do?
RU: Yes, and that’s what’s offensive about it, when it’s in the wrong place. One can build a cluster of buildings, like a copse in a huge landscape, and the copse can be quite pretty. Even a single building like a tower on a hill can pass muster, but they’re generally designed by people who have some understanding of context and the landscape and long views.
RU: It’s culturally ingrained, possibly one of the reasons for the great resilience of the property industry at a global level in London is that it’s been a city of property developers for 700 or 800 years.
I don’t want to suggest that I’m anti-tower necessarily. I think you can create a form of architecture that makes connection with people, and there are places where it may suit – Greenwich Peninsula, or a cluster around Docklands perhaps? But the proliferation of collections of towers that don’t work as a ‘family’ or are in the wrong place completely, I find deeply offensive, because 1) it’s not giving me anything, but it’s taking my view of the sky, so how is that right? And 2) it gets built really, really quickly, rushed through some court of planning enquiry, ready to take our skyline from us forever, for what? High-end flats do nothing to help the housing crisis. Buildings with no (opening) windows, all air-conditioned, super-expensive, poor fabric (in sustainability terms), what has that done for me? It does very little, it might create some construction jobs for two or three years, but the studio flat for a million quid, what does it do for the community?
The Old Vinyl Factory © Timothy Soar
30 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
We’re one of the societies that has created of tenure of freehold (i.e. ‘It’s mine forever’) with teeth, and a banking system that is happy with the security that land offers, which is quite different from other societies. Culturally, we’re a city of property developers, fighting for our little piece of terra firma, success-driven, egodriven, tower-mad. It’s piecemeal, not planned. Taking it all the way to the London Plan, we have an elected body that covers the 33 London boroughs. Is there one plan, is there one piece of paper in the London Plan that is being examined in public as we speak, that has one map for all of the tall buildings that could happen in London in the next 50 years? H&N: You mean, like Peter Murray’s fantastic model at New London Architecture? RU: But that’s not a statutory tool, that’s just, ‘wow, I’m building my big thing!’. Even our regional authority creates an umbrella plan that allows the 33 villages, some of them now
Or you can do it from the ground up, creating a development that optimises density, like our Old Vinyl Factory development. We are duty-bound by our own shareholders and stakeholders to polish and optimise their family silver. This can include towers, and we have some in our portfolio, but we have to be really, really, really careful about what and where they are.
towns (and Croydon arguably a city), to get on with it because that’s the way of democracy, that’s how the table’s set. But of course, one can build a pretty hideous tower in Tower Hamlets or Stratford or Newham that sits behind the silhouette of St Paul’s, and people can say ‘that view’s okay, it’s just a bit misty, that’s all’. But the issue is that nobody knew – nobody had made a plan for a very long view. And it surely couldn’t take someone like Sir Terry Farrell’s office more than 10 minutes to knock up a sketch and ask, ‘is this alright?’
H&N: So, you’re presenting a model for places that is both scalable, and has certainty of success? RU: You’re looking for something to move the needle? You need three or four compelling pieces of evidence that are robust, that are universally accepted as great places, before you might start to move the needle. That’s not the reason we’re doing it, but that will be the outcome.
The truth is that the way that these things are sprouting up is ugly and unplanned and underground, and they go up very quickly. I get ambushed by developments, and think ‘woah!, what happened there?’. And anything that falls into that category of ambush takes away my sense of belonging and it increases my chances of disenfranchisement.
We challenged assumptions about daylighting and density in Brighton and, if you’re going to do that, then you have to honour places with great materials, real thought about landscape, real thought about window sizes, real thought about the types of people and their seasonality of occupation.
H&N: Turning to who might make a difference in returning planning towards the mid-rise, more ‘European’ scale of development, where do you feel we should look for leadership for better plan-led development at scale?
Where you’ve got 1,000 office workers all next to each other, it’s going to be intense at lunchtime. Whereas where you’re mixing up different types of occupation with a few arts students and this, that and the other, you’ve got a different collision, which is the whole issue of a city.
RU: There are two ways. You can do it policy down, but you’re suggesting there are issues with consistency. These are long-term things and you can’t be three or four months in office and be expected to become even half-way expert in such matters.
A city should be dense, it should all be about the opportunity collided with people from different walks of life and different tenures. So, it’s not just towers, it’s the mix of affordability, type of occupation that is the essential ingredient of a great city. Mono-towers bleach it. It’s like pouring bleach down the historic streets of London, it’s taking it all out, hollowing out London and making it a place for a rarefied few, which is very vulnerable mix. Looking forward the city will become increasingly dysfunctional and disenfranchised unless we can show some alternative ways from the ground up, because if we’re waiting for the next housing minister, and the next housing minister after that etc., maybe they just haven’t got enough time to sit down and think about it. James Gross AoU is the co-founder of Urban Place Lab Ltd.
Clapham library – a great example of a tall building in a place of few tall buildings, which is civic, beautiful and appropriate © stevekeiretsu / Flickr
In conversation with... Richard Upton 31
Making Engagement Matter
Interactive Models of Design Enquiry from Urban Place Lab Active enquiry and innovative engagement are among the pillars on which Urban Place Lab was founded. Making change visible, fun and believable should be the ambition of every engagement event. How else can we challenge misconceptions around development, if we only serve to reinforce them by consulting in the same ageold fashions? At UPL we bring change to the public at a meaningful scale and trigger dialogue and debate through accessible media, taking plans off the “Wow! What a day! Without doubt wall and to the people! the best Stakeholder Engagement event I have either attended or sponsored” UK Board Director Lee Bishop of Taylor Wimpey commenting on the event
Walkthrough experience of Town Centre proposals ...
Pop-up Community Garden & Wayfinding Project ...
“Worst of the whole route was the top of Chalet Hill because of the safety and traffic lights”
“I want to change the signs because there are too many of them”
“A lot of free space that looks dull could be transformed into something vibrant, fun and that looks better”
“Plant more flowers and don’t park on grass”
Contact us to plan your collaborative, amazing engagement project. James Gross Founder
32 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 12 | Winter 2018 MAKE CHANGE VISIBLE
email@example.com 07887 743567 www.urbanplacelab.com
More homes in less space: Social interactions in London’s high-density buildings The target for housing completions in the draft London Plan is 64,935 per year. How these can be accommodated is a complex dilemma for a city where land prices have been increasing exponentially for years, and where there is no political will to build on the green belt. Fanny Blanc draws from her research at LSE London to chart a way forward.
“Where are the people?” resumed the little prince at last. “It’s a little lonely in the desert…” “It is lonely when you’re among people, too,” said the snake.
One increasingly popular solution is to build housing at higher densities – making the most of the available land – either by building on smaller sites, intensifying existing properties, or squeezing the maximum number of units out of masterplans. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, higher densities have been accommodated through a wide range of typologies. But never before has London seen this consistency of super-dense construction – from the medium-rise but high-density areas like East Village, the former athletes’ village for the 2012 Olympic Games, to the residential towers that line the south bank of the Thames from Battersea to central London, the tight clusters of high-rise blocks such as at Millharbour on the Isle of Dogs, which is now the single most densely populated ward in the UK.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince Despite these excessive marketing campaigns, we discovered that communal spaces are rarely a priority for residents when choosing a home. Asked what the top three reasons were for moving, the most common response among our 517 respondents was ‘transport links’ (selected 329 times), followed by ‘price’ (207 times), with ‘communal facilities’ at the very bottom of the list, selected just 29 times.
Our research at the LSE has looked into 14 different schemes across London with the number of units ranging from 268 to 2,818. As this represents a high number of people in any location, one of our research interests is to look into social interactions within these schemes and whether they can enhance the building of communities.
Use of communal spaces varied significantly between the schemes, with developments where residents had to pass through the space to access their flat coming out on top. Some respondents complained about the inaccessibility of communal areas – especially those requiring multiple keys and fobs, those with curfews (several roof terraces couldn’t be used after 10pm), or those that restrict particular activities (e.g. ball games).
On the CGI photos of the new-build schemes we studied, sociability appears to be a core promotional tool – with residents happily engaging in collective activities in the (often extensive) communal spaces provided. All the schemes we studied had either an inner courtyard, a common room, a gym or a playground – requiring upkeep through expensive service charges.
Although no correlation can be assumed between use of communal spaces and community, we wondered whether the CGI vision sold by developers is something that grows over time.
More homes in less space 33
Despite the high concentration of people in the buildings we studied, most of our respondents knew three or fewer of their neighbours. Many of them had only recently moved in (15 per cent had lived in their flat for less than a year), and these were far more likely to say that they didn’t know anyone in their scheme. Generally speaking, the longer they had lived in their scheme, the more people they knew; nobody who had been a resident for more than ten years stated that didn’t know anyone. During our interviews, however, many participants stressed the difference between knowing a neighbour and feeling part of a community. ‘I don’t know my neighbours except for the occasional “hello” in the lift’; ‘I think that a community is there, though I wouldn’t necessarily seek out a close friendship with most people in the building just off the back of them being in the building’; ‘it’s that much more difficult to become friendly with neighbours when you feel you are just one of hundreds’. Community was rarely a priority for our respondents, with only 2 per cent listing it as one of the most important aspects of a home. Many saw their community as unrelated to where they live: ‘My social interactions are no longer based on proximity anymore – there are different ways of communicating with them (e.g. social media), and I am happy to do all of my socialising in central London’. Some residents suffered from the lack of community (‘We could be in the Tube, there would 34 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
be the same level of communication’), while others were happy with the anonymity offered by their schemes (‘I have no desire to know my neighbours’). For the majority interviewed, there was a balance between being annoyed by others and feeling lonely. Some felt that their buildings were simply incapable of fostering social interaction. One perceived obstruction in a couple of the new schemes was a fob system that granted residents access to their floor only, removing the possibility for more spontaneous sociability between levels (e.g. a knock on the door). Another problem flagged in interviews was the under-occupation in some buildings, with many flats being either rented through Airbnb or left empty. This was seen as a significant hindrance to the establishment of a stable, long-term community. Our interviews further revealed the bizarre role of adversity in encouraging sociability among residents, with the more dysfunctional buildings often home to the tightest-knit groups. Issues like broken lifts and overheating often encouraged residents to reach out to one another and band together. ‘I know quite a few direct neighbours, but
‘Togetherness is beating up an empty elevator’ – J.G. Ballard, High-Rise
think that the communal amenities so prominent in the marketing of these developments might, in the end, be encouraging interaction – but for all the wrong reasons.
more through meeting on online Facebook groups set up and at residents meetings where we bond over all the problems!’ Although most of the residents seemed happy with where they live and could see themselves remaining in their flat in the longer term, all had some complaints that needed to be addressed - lifts not working, high service charges, lack of transparency, overheating, noise, stupid windows that can’t be opened and cleaned easily, no light, single-aspect flats, neighbours that can see you in your living room while being in their living room in the tower across the street, no storage and so on.
But even though there are some social interactions through complaining, they are not synonymous with community-building. ‘My development has a brilliant community but only on Facebook. Everything gets sorted on Facebook, but I don’t have it. My husband who lives in another country has to tell me what is going on. I rarely see my neighbours or anyone’. Only time will tell if these buildings and their inhabitants have the capacity to form genuine, long-term communities, whatever these may look like. In the meantime, there are some fairly basic issues to resolve for a start, the under-occupation of units, built-in social obstructions like curfews on communal spaces, and the lack of transparency on service charges.
Concerns about an imbalance of power and poor communication between them (residents) and the others (developer, management) were particularly effective in the consolidation of neighbourly relations. ‘We often joke about how bad management is. We feel like people are not listening to us. Every time there is a meeting coming up, it is as if there was a script. Management says ‘I hear what you say’, but nothing is done and nobody seems to listen.’ Unexpected increases in service charges, or just general disappointment in the services provided, had a similar effect. It’s ironic to
Fanny Blanc is a researcher at LSE London. Her work focuses on current challenges for London’s housing and planning strategies such as green belt, density and homelessness. Fanny and her team are currently working with residents, developers, architects, planners and policy makers to generate recommendations for London’s future high-density housing. They would like readers to get in touch to help them understand how to make high-density homes functional, accessible and pleasant for everyone! Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
‘We expect too much of new buildings, and too little of ourselves.’ – Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
More homes in less space 35
36 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
From Beijing to St Petersburg: The Industrialisation of Architecture
Maria Alsina takes a trip on the Trans-Siberian train route from Beijing to St Petersburg and reflects on what constructivist architecture might teach us about the design of housing. A couple of years ago, I took the Trans-Siberian train route from Beijing to St Petersburg. This was my first experience of travelling through post-communist territory and I was struck by the bold presence of Soviet social housing schemes and constructivist architecture. The Khrushchevka is the most basic unit of Soviet housing, developed by the government in the 1950s and named after Nikita Khrushchev. It consists of a three-to-five-storey building (with no lifts), loaded with extremely compressed apartments built to solve the dramatic housing needs of its time. The building process was both simple and precarious, designed to be assembled on site, and not meant to stand more than 25 years. By the end of the 1960s, over 400 million square metres of Khrushchevkas had been completed.
These are two different approaches to a similar problem. The need for mass housing is still urgent today, but it is important to consider adding value through design rather than simply industrialised architecture.
From Beijing to St Petersburg 37
Narkomfin Building, Moscow ÂŠ Nikolai Vassiliev / Flickr
Constructivism, a radical modernist movement that started in the early 1920s, proposed not only a form of revolutionary architecture but a strong social purpose. It was intended to promote social change after the 1917 revolution; adding value to property through design and improving the living conditions of the inhabitants. Constructivists were the first to talk about the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;social condenserâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; overlapping programmes and different activities within the development to create a social community that would interact and share a dynamic coexistence.
Constructivism and nowadays principles Constructivism started in the Soviet Union combining advanced technology and engineering with a communist social purpose. The reinforced concrete Narkomfrin Building, completed in Moscow in 1932 by Moisei Ginzburg is a clear example of this. The building is set in a park raised on pilotis with a roof garden providing communal facilities and offering services for the inhabitants. In the early 1920s, Russia was dealing with overcrowded cities where any single-level apartment with more than one room was divided. The architect clearly aimed to provide dignity and quality living so double height units that relied on vertical separations were designed. It was this type of organisation that inspired Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation and later projects. What surprised me was the site itself – disconnected from the context of an unusually generous green area, and its precarious condition, which is why it features on the UNESCO danger list. The Constructivists were ahead of their time and the question they constantly asked was what cities would look like in the future. Their vision for the city was a place that gathered communities and made them responsible for their living spaces, where people would live together in high-density apartments but benefit from shared facilities, giving inhabitants a sense of belonging. Dealing with density today As in the Soviet era, the first step for us would be to understand how we could positively achieve density and its benefits. We can talk about ‘positive’ density when we refer to a safe and efficiently managed building that promises quality of life, located within walking distance to open space. There should be no overlooking or noise issues, allowing inhabitants privacy and tranquillity. Once we understand these basic principles, we should be aware of the benefits and why the constructivists and the modernists, such as Le Corbusier, promoted these ideas. First of all, a dense residential scheme with its own amenities allows for less traffic as services such as schools and grocery stores are within walking distance. Second, it has the potential to lower the cost of infrastructural maintenance, gets rid of urban blight and, as it is more compact, it has a lower environmental impact and is consequently more sustainable.
‘should only be used to house the very rich’. Cases such as Grenfell Tower show the fatal risk when building vertically with a low budget, especially in terms of evacuation as well as security at the entry to guard against risks of vandalism and unmonitored visitors. The problem is that such schemes normally impose extremely small dwellings with reduced living spaces as they intend to place all the shared space in centralised locations. But under the pressure of construction, lack of resources means that even these public spaces end up being less than promised and the building becomes a vertical slum. A similar case would be the La Mina neighbourhood in Barcelona. It is a highly dense neighbourhood comprising 20 five-to-twelve-storey buildings with nearly 3,000 apartments and 14,000 residents. It was built in 1969 at a time of mass housing need with a fast construction system that ignored the final goal of giving dignity to the inhabitants. Nowadays, it is the most corrupt neighbourhood and faces an endless delinquency and drug problem. If the opposite to such schemes is high-end/luxury residential towers, we find the pressures of density are much the same. Developers demand that towers must have unique selling points with maximized glazing on the façades in order to achieve panoramic views. In these developments, the problem is not lack of resources but the type of façade – such as in most buildings along London’s riverside – denies the privacy and individuality of the neighbours who are constantly exposed and surveyed by passers-by, forcing them into a life in public. Furthermore, the privatisation of public spaces and amenities provided also reduces the diversity of building users. The future is now Whether high-value or high-volume, we are building for density for which the demand will only be increasing. Learning from forward-looking constructivist architecture, we should act in the same way, giving character and adding value through the design to encourage social engagement, balance and a sense of community. The target must be to achieve comfortable living by using passive energy strategies even eliminating the possibility of energy poverty. We must also be aware of choices of materials and their environmental impact as we cannot allow ourselves as designers and builders to ignore these issues on any scale.
Pros and cons of building upwards The most popular form of high-density development would be building upwards due to limited available land and soaring real estate prices. But when preparing for such construction we must be aware of the impact this will have on whoever is going to live there. Neave Brown, an architect specialised in modernist housing, rightfully claimed that the high-rise building 38 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
Maria Alsina is a graduate of ETSAV Barcelona and an architect a Foster + Partners. She has a special interest in urban and humanitarian projects and has previously spent five months in rural Nepal constructing a school for an under-privileged community.
www.paisley.is � ��
Cities on the rise 39
Looking East Can Eastern European experience of mass-housing projects inform the anticipated post-Brexit housebuilding bonanza? Simeon Shtebunaev looks at the lessons.
The New Year began with a highly anticipated report by Shelter’s Big Conversation commission highlighting the need for three million new social homes by 2040 in the United Kingdom. Successful delivery of such a staggering number of homes presupposes a government-supported building campaign in the next two decades, or government-driven supporting measures to market players aimed at delivering the needed numbers. Whereas all cities in the UK are experiencing growth, there are many in the North suffering relative population decline, according to a 2016 study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. If, for the first time since the post-war rebuilding of British cities, a new mass housing building programme is on the horizon, how can it avoid the mistakes of the past? At the eastern end of the European Union, debates about residential densities echo the UK’s internal struggle with social housing, but in a dramatically different context. Latvia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania top the world charts by average annual rate of population decline. Cities in those countries are experiencing absolute decline of population. At the same time, they have some of the highest home ownership rates in Europe and the world, with more than 80 per cent of the population owning their home. By comparison, the UK rate of home ownership is 63 per cent. In Bulgaria alone, 97 per cent of housing is in private hands, the rest constituting social housing, which in the UK is closer to 17 per cent. Yet, in both countries there is a perception of an acute housing crisis, and specifically a shortage of social housing. However, while the UK is looking towards a marketbased solution of increased supply, in Bulgaria the conversations are largely about renovation and ownership distribution. Thirty years since the fall of the USSR, post-communist countries enjoy high levels of home ownership largely due to the tumultuous 1990s and the drive towards privatisation and restitution after the collapse of collectivism. In Bulgaria, almost overnight, historical records of land ownership before the Second World War became the leading source of ownership claims. 40 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
In a country that has historic problems with land surveys and has only in 2018 been able to survey more than 60 per cent of the land, many private citizens inflated their claims. In cities, however, the pattern of development throughout the second half of the 20th century had dictated the amalgamation of small plots of land and the construction of large multi-home block developments. Typical for the period of housing boom across Europe, the Soviet Union took the German system of plattenbau – arguably one of the most effective prefabrication systems – and replicated it on an enormous scale. Mass-housing building programmes were rolled out throughout the USSR in true Corbusier fashion, signifying the new industrialised societies’ transition to communism and forming a central part of the propaganda drive. The early types of development even earned the name Khrushchevkas in honour of Nikita Khrushchev who pioneered these programmes in the 1960s. In Bulgaria, when the state ownership of the blocks of flats ended, private citizens, locked out of land claims, took possession of individual flats and developed communal ownership of the land on which they were constructed, based on percentage stakes in the buildings. In the early years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, co-operatives were formed in many cities, who expanded further on this model of ownership by purchasing land and constructing blocks of flats, pooling resources, skills and labour. Maintenance was decentralised under communism – each block of flats having an informal committee of residents, who collect charges and manage the repairs on an ongoing basis. In a country of paradoxes, 1.2 million homes are currently uninhabited in Bulgaria, whereas 1 million households live in overcrowded conditions. The new market ideology of the past 30 years has collided with the communist hangover. Market values have increased, and the excess of housing supply has been made unavailable to the market due to private ownership, perversely locking out lower income
Before and after the renovation of a multifamily block in the centre of Gabrovo, Bulgaria, 2014 and 2018
In the UK context, post-Grenfell, the energy efficiency of high-rise buildings is intimately tied with the social housing crisis, although citizens’ ownership and oversight of renovation programs have rarely been given the legal status that the Bulgarian program has demanded. The co-ownership model of high-rise and high-density buildings has never taken root in the British context, detaching the maintenance and operation of the buildings from their residents and thus creating further problems. Current models of housing delivery tend to exacerbate those trends, locking out residents from meaningful collective control. Alternative models of ownership, maintenance and land management need to evolve if the country is to deliver three million new homes in a short span of time. The speed of housing construction and quality also need to be considered in order to avoid locking finance into a rapidly deteriorating building stock, such as in Bulgaria. Density can entrench social inequalities and any new models of housing delivery need to aim to be an empowering tool, enfranchising citizens into wider society, beyond the simple provision of shelter.
citizens from accessing the property ladder. Low levels of social housing provision, bad quality housing stock, and uneven demographic distribution have created hotspots of property price inflation and deserts of empty homes. The response of the Bulgarian Government has been to tackle the quality and energy efficiency of the existing housing stock, aiming to reduce running maintenance costs, achieve climate targets and stimulate the housing supply. The National Programme for Energy Efficiency of Multifamily Housing Buildings was launched in 2015 and has been rolled out across the country. With a decentralised structure (local authorities lead on application process and delivery), the initiative allows the wholesale renovation of blocks of flats, mainly by updating infrastructure such as water mains and electricity (but no lifts), insulating the exterior and major roof repairs. The Bulgarian Development Bank has provided a 2bn Bulgarian leva fund (£886 million) through international loans. Implementation of the project relies on the residents of the buildings, as only legal vehicles (such as a community association with at least 67 per cent of owners’ participation) have been allowed to apply for co-funding from local authorities. This has entrenched social inequalities as many residential buildings have been unable to form such associations due to the lack of residents’ participation or the absence of residents altogether. The added commercial value to residential flats will provide a better-quality housing, but does not tackle the underlying issue of overcrowding and lack of social housing provision. In 2018, 1,364 buildings had been renovated, amounting to more than 80,000 homes.
Simeon Shtebunaev is a Young Urbanist, and a PhD student at Birmingham City University. He is the student representative on RIBA National Council and RTPI General Assembly for 2018-2019.
1. Shelter Big Conversation Report: england.shelter.org.uk/support_us/ campaigns/a_vision_for_social_housing 2. Bulgarian National Framework by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works: mrrb.bg/en/energy-efficiency/energy-efficiency-of-multifamily-residential-buildings-national-programme/
Looking East 41
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 – we want to make these places live on our pages. Send us an image, a drawing, a poem, a… you decide. Send contributions to email@example.com
A public space or a schoolyard? Olga Gaitani The first time I visited Israels Plads I was almost certainly not expecting to find a schoolyard in the middle of a public square. It was a pleasant surprise! Israel Plads is located in central Copenhagen and it is a ‘democratic’ public space that respects the identity and the needs of the neighbourhood. The square is nicknamed the ‘flying
carpet’ because of its folded and soft waved surface that has no boundaries; it brings together different social and age groups by linking the Torvehallerne where thousands of people pass every day with the relaxing green space of H.C Ørsteds Park. It is a vibrant place that is open to all kind of people and activities. © Ramblersen / Wikimedia Commons
Harlem Kirsty Macari AoU Harlem, New York, a great place with an even greater inclusive community. A neighbourhood using education and wellbeing as a driver for the re-creation of places for the community, while delivering a density of circa 71,000 people per square mile! The leafy streets, wide pavements and balanced building heights against spaces ensure that the area respects the human scale.
44 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 8 || Autumn Spring 2019 2016
Arsenale di Venezia Angela Rolfe AoU The Arsenale comprises a sequence of internal and external spaces, developed over 800 years, for shipbuilding, rope making and the production of armaments. The magnificent Corderie, the main venue for the magnificent Freespace exhibition at the 2018 Venice Biennale, is 317 metres long with a double row of 50 masonry columns, supporting the palladium timber roof. It leads, via a series of internal and external spaces to the docks, watched-over by the sombre Armstrong Mitchell hydraulic crane. Around the corner is the wonderful Gaggiandre, with its rich brick arches supported on bleached white stone reflected in the shaded water.
Dawn, Aarhus Docks Chris Pagdin AoU
Chicago skyline Chris Pagdin AoU
46 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?
Albert Bridge Sarah Farrugia AoU No matter how many times I see Albert Bridge, no matter the lighting or time of day, it is always beautiful. It is one of the world’s most admired bridges and has been for well over a century. The scene has been painted and photographed so many times by artists including Whistler. Albert Bridge was the brainchild of Prince Albert in 1860. It is a suspension bridge and was designed by Rowland Mason Ordish using his own patented design and was opened in 1873. Lights were added in 1951 for the Festival of Britain.
The official opening day pamphlet stated that the Embankment had ‘removed the stinking mud-banks which had forced upon the attention of more than one of the senses’ and replaced them with ‘pleasant drives and ornamental gardens’. John Betjeman described Albert Bridge as, ‘Shining with electric lights, grey and airy against the London sky, it is one of the beauties of the London river’. On New Year’s Day the bridge is lined with empty champagne bottles from the night before.
Editor’s introduction | AoU in Action 47
People with places that are significant in their lives Cambridge Architecture Department Library James W P Campbell, Architectural historian As an architectural historian I have been lucky enough to travel across the world and visit many wonderful places. Indeed, places are what I study. While for most people buildings are the background to life’s activities, to me they are what I tend to look at first. As much as I enjoy travelling, however, it is nice to get back home. I was born and grew up in Harrogate. We did not have a lot of money and travel was expensive in the 1970’s, so my knowledge of faraway places was restricted to books. I have always loved books, although we never had that many in the house. Most of what I read came from the library. As a child, I was obsessed with Lego and by the age of eight I had determined that my future career lay in architecture. Throughout my school days I was the only person in my class who knew with absolute certainty what they wanted to do. I was lucky to get to Cambridge and once there a whole new world opened for me. It was a world of books. There was the enormous university library, in which one could lose oneself for hours in the stacks. There was the magnificent
library in my college, Trinity, which had been designed by Christopher Wren. And there was the faculty library, filled with every book imaginable on my own subject. I completed my architectural training and worked all over the world, but the joy of studying in Cambridge never left me and when I got the chance to return, to do a doctorate and then to teach, I could not have been happier. It was then that I rediscovered the faculty library, which I currently help to look after, which boasts one of the finest collections of rare architectural books in the world. Sitting in one of its leather armchairs, turning the pages of a book that was owned by someone three hundred years ago is a wonderful way to relax and one of the greatest pleasures in my life.
Gingerbread City at V&A, London Melissa Woolford, Architect I was born and educated in the States but my parents are British so I feel very much at home in London.
48 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 8 13 || Autumn Spring 2019 2016
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
At high school I enjoyed History, so I began studying it at the University of Massachusetts, but I quickly discovered that there is little outlet for creativity in History. I was more interested in the future than the past, so I changed direction and completed a BFA in Architecture. I then moved to New York and did my Master’s at Pratt Institute. The chair of the graduate department knew Zaha Hadid and recommended me for a job, which is how I came to be working in London. I grew personally and professionally there. Zaha would give you a little nugget of an idea and then let you run with it, so you were able to design even from a junior position. As much as I was learning at ZHA, I knew that being a traditional architect was not for me as I wanted to be part of the bigger picture and help the industry as a whole. In 2006 I founded Nous Gallery, which later became Museum of Architecture. We have not yet found permanent premises, but we hold programming all year long with our various host partners. I look forward to one day opening the doors to the Museum of Architecture in London.
Middleton, North Yorkshire Rev. Rob Barker, Parish priest What is a lad from urban Birkenhead doing living in God’s own county in this rural parish? My wife and I moved here last year for me to take on my role of priestin-charge across the benefices of Middleton and Kirby Misperton, covering quite a few too many villages to name them all.
Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands Joost Degenkamp, Bookshop owner I am from Woerden, a very ordinary little town of about 50,000 people in central Holland. I studied architecture for two years at Delft University, before transferring to town planning. It was during this period that I started working as a part time assistant at what was then the Netherlands Architecture Institute in the building behind me. I enjoyed meeting people at the front desk and it was an exciting time to be working in the world’s leading architecture museum and the coolest place in the hippest city in Holland. So exciting was it that I decided to give up my studies in urbanism and work full time in the publishing arm of the museum. When the opportunity arose to buy the bookshop it was a logical move for me to take the plunge and become a business man.
Previously I was working across Chester Diocese as a Church Army evangelist, aiding the existing churches to reach out into their communities with the love of God found in Jesus Christ. This was variously achieved with a double decker bus and a canal boat! Prior to this, however, I was based up in Thirsk for seven years with our four children, doing the same sort of thing but minus the boat. This included working with the bus all over North Yorkshire, but, significantly, passing through Middleton, where I was always puzzled by ‘the bomb’. Last year, while in prayer I heard the words ‘go back’, and then saw the post of parish priest advertised. We were beautifully and very quickly welcomed and felt that we had come home. But ‘the bomb’ remains a puzzle. We know that it is actually a 15” shell from a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship, gifted to the village by the Royal Navy in recognition of the service of men from Middleton and Aislaby in the First World War; but we don’t know who they were, so for now it remains a most poignant and powerful memorial to the unknown sailor.
Spirit of Harrogate Lucy Carthy, Retail manager Spirit of Harrogate is just a couple of doors down from that other icon of Harrogate, Betty’s Café. They have had about a 100 years start on us because it is only three years ago that Slingsby’s Gin was founded, but we now have five different gins and stockists all over the world. You can sample them all here at our ‘gin experience’ and I would be happy to answer your questions about them in English, Spanish or German. This is because I had the good fortune to attend Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, which is a specialist languages school. My other great love is singing but I had to pursue that using private tutors. I was so determined to become a classical singer that I never heeded the careers adviser’s dire warnings about the precariousness of the career. I won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music and even a place in a band, a sort of classical Little Mix, but decided to continue charting my own musical course. It was tough; I was working as a waitress in a milk bar when I met my husband, whose father founded Slingsby’s Gin. We all work together in Harrogate now and I have the luxury of being able to pick and choose my musical performances, whilst enjoying the financial security of a really successful family business. The highlight of my musical career so far has been singing with Alfie Boe at the Last Night of the Proms at the Harrogate International Centre. We performed the ‘Drinking Song’ from La Traviata – how appropriate!
I sometimes miss the creativity of architecture, but the strict application of planning regulations would not have suited my nature, and so I really think I have found my place here with my bookshop. Doing inventories and getting to grips with the new VAT rates is a bit of a pain, but the opportunity to meet architects, urbanists and artists from all over the world and share my passion for design makes it all worthwhile. And now we are the ‘New’ Institute, dealing with fashion, graphics and digital culture as well as architecture and urbanism, so do come along and experience the ‘Shock of the New’!
My place 49
RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London Ben Derbyshire, President I am throwing everything into the ‘Change is Necessary’ agenda of my presidency at RIBA because no other organisation comes close to the institute’s potential to champion architects. I am here to help reinstate the status and influence of the profession, contributing to a process that will restate the value of architecture to clients and society. Where else would you turn for support in delivering the profession’s talents for the unarguable social good of a better designed built environment delivering human wellbeing? I sought the presidency because I believe we can work together to market architecture by promoting a continuous cycle of change; ratcheting up educational, ethical, and professional standards, rejuvenating and diversifying the workforce, collaborating with others in the building industry, researching and building a better body of knowledge to deliver a more highly valued, so better rewarded profession.
CZWG Offices, Bowling Green Lane, London Piers Gough, Founder My lovely parents had thought to name me Inigo after Inigo Jones, the renaissance architect, but flunked when they realised my initials would be P.I.G. For my sixth birthday they gave me a huge sack of wooden bricks that they had designed. I built museums with revolving doors [!] and stations and other public buildings I was impressed by. However I couldn’t quite manage the nearby Brighton Pavilion that seemed the absolute height of loveliness. When I was sixteen, my parents ganged up with the school art master to persuade me to be an architect. It wasn’t difficult, I remember thinking that I couldn’t do worse than the rather baleful post-war modern architecture that I had experienced up ‘til then. It
seemed like a profession ready to be transformed with some exuberance and colour. Luckily the Architectural Association was the best and most free thinking school in the world and encouraged our alternative approaches. My partners and I set up our firm in the swinging sixties while we were still at the AA; indeed we commandeered a forgotten studio in an annex of the school! We have always tried to celebrate our great pleasure in being allowed to design such lasting environments as streets, squares, crescents and buildings. The front of our present studio in Clerkenwell has two giant precast concrete screws, which were economically cast from a mould used on another one of our jobs. In this photo one of them seems to be symbolic of our preference for designing buildings ‘with a twist’.
50 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
Just over half way through my term of office as I write this, I am proud of what has been achieved on my watch so far. The organisation is fully refinanced, completely debt-free and on the march with a programme of investment to deliver our strategy for a stronger profession, stronger organisation and stronger voice. By the time I leave we will have a new governance structure in place, and be better organised to make the most of this investment. Members and the public are already beginning to feel a gentle zephyr that signals the coming wind of change!
Live Works, Sheffield Urban Room Carolyn Butterworth, Architect and senior university teacher I fell into architecture by accident almost – both my parents are teachers and I was very keen not to follow them in the ‘family business’. I think I chose architecture because it seemed to offer a good mix of art, design and engineering. I chose Sheffield for my degree studies because it had a good technical and social reputation, particularly for ‘green architecture’, and then I did my diploma at the much more arts-based and radical Bartlett in London – quite a culture shock after the traditional training that I had undergone in Sheffield. I see my career since then, in practice and academia, as exploring how the arts, social and technical aspects of architecture can be integrated. I worked for several years in London, becoming a director of the architecture practice Van Heyningen & Haward. However, I suppose education must be in my DNA because in 2001 I began travelling up from London to Sheffield University to teach design a day a week and gradually the teaching increased until it was a full-time commitment. After starting out doing architecture in part to avoid becoming a teacher like my parents, here I am, a teacher – and loving it!
Bretton Hall, Yorkshire Angie Mendez, Student
This building, the derelict Ezra Taylor Building at the former University of Leeds campus at Bretton Hall, together with the old gymnasium behind it, is the place I have chosen for my degree project at Leeds Beckett University. It inspires me because it is surrounded by the wonderful Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I am a sculptor myself and so are my mother and father, back in Bogota, Colombia. I would love to see these buildings renovated and full of children from local schools, watching sculptors at work; learning from them about their ideas and methods and perhaps at the end of the day taking home little sculptures that they have made. My degree will be in Interior Architecture, and I could have chosen a ‘fantasy‘ project, but I wanted to use my experience in my parents’ atelier to create a practical useable facility, with the aim of introducing children to the joy I myself feel when I manipulate materials, form, space and light to realise my ideas. It will be quite a challenge, but that is why this place interests me. And my next challenge? – to persuade the developers to change their minds about demolishing these buildings, which, despite their present appearance, have such enormous potential.
The Tall Ship, Glasgow Andy Aire, Ship Manager I am a real ‘weegie’, born just ten minutes walk from the Clyde. I wasn’t academically inclined and I wanted to be a welder in the shipyards, so I left school at 16. By then the shipbuilding industry was dying so instead I went on a youth training scheme in joinery and got a job as a case maker producing wooden pallets and packing crates. Then the owner of the company bought an old 32 ft. Grand Banks motor cruiser and set me to work refurbishing it. The work of a boat builder is a bit more complicated than knocking pallets together, but the owner was also a cabinet maker and he taught me all the specialist woodworking skills I needed. Once the cruiser was finished he bought a Swedish minelayer and I worked on that for a year in Dover, before coming home to work for the Clyde Maritime Trust. I began working on the Glenlee as a labourer, then on maintenance, before joining the rigging department. Learning to work at the top of the masts was another ‘steep’ learning curve, as you might say, but I had an excellent teacher in the chief rigger of New York’s Balclutha (another Clyde-built sailing ship) who worked with us for a year.
And the most exciting part? – I run our Live Projects programme, based here at Live Works, Sheffield’s Urban Room, part of the Urban Rooms Network I founded in 2016. Live Works occupies an old post office on a busy shopping street in the city centre and it’s a wonderful place to invite the public in to work with our students and collaborate on designs for a better city to live in.
Glenlee is now part of Glasgow’s very identity, a symbol of the Clyde’s great shipbuilding heritage. She is moored alongside Glasgow’s new Riverside Museum, itself built in a former shipyard, and we have seen our visitor numbers soar. And I’m proud to be part of the Glenlee. She is always posing new problems for us because she is an old lady, but I look forward every day to working on board or in our superb workshop. The only thing I don’t enjoy is moving her ballast – 42kg lumps of pig iron are a bit heavier than a wooden pallet.
My Place 51
Humber Street Fruit Market, Hull Alex Codd, Chief planning officer
Crown Jewellers of Harrogate Sue Kramer, Owner I moved to Harrogate when I was seven and since then it has been my place! After studying at Harrogate Grammar School and York College, my career eventually led me to ten happy and challenging years in the recruitment industry. Marrying a jeweller led to opening Crown Jewellers in the millennium year – Stephen is the jewellery expert and I bring the business acumen and we haven’t looked back since! Jewellery is such a personal thing, we believe you need to see it and try it. You need confidence that the person selling to you is not only an expert gemologist and diamond grader, like Stephen, but someone who will lose sleep if you don’t find the perfect piece, like me! You don’t get that on the internet! We love being part of Commercial Street, running the Facebook and Twitter accounts and website. It’s a wonderful town centre street, with on street parking (perish the thought of pedestrianisation) and over 20 independent shops, many of whom have been here years. Our street has a unique variety of shops and products, from some 20,000 secondhand books, a sewing machine specialist, a dedicated vegan shop, barbers, specialty cheeses or designer lighting. You can meet friends, have a coffee in one of our excellent coffee shops and then buy that diamond ring you always promised yourself – all within 200 yards!
I’m not a native of these parts although I am a Yorkshireman, born in Sheffield. However, I did my degree in Geography at Hull University, before crossing the Humber to work for the Environment Agency in Lincoln and then crossing the county to Leeds. Flood defences were my speciality, and when the opportunity arose to work in Hull I realised I could make a difference in a city that will be increasingly threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change. Flooding is not the only issue concerning the council. The decline of our traditional industries and the unemployment and social deprivation to which that has lead means that we must be creative in re-imagining the city, and that is what I am celebrating in the photograph. C4DI is a new concept in office buildings. On the ground floor people with ideas for new businesses can get a start, with extremely low rents. If their businesses take off they can move upstairs and join a community of successful new start-ups. In practice they spark ideas off each other and generate still more business opportunities. The scheme has been so successful that the building is now too small and a new one next door is in planning. C4DI is at the heart of a whole new urban village, based in the redundant fruit market. Again, we have sought to be creative by repurposing the existing buildings as restaurants, bars, independent shops and visitor attractions, and significantly we have added a hundred new homes for the young professionals who are inventing the city anew at C4DI. And I have ensured they won’t get flooded out!
I wouldn’t leave our Commercial Street community for the world – it will always be my place! 52 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 8 || Autumn Spring 2019 2016
Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia Charlotte Jarvis, Artist I am an artist who collaborates with scientists. At school I was an insufferable swot and in my final year I was deciding between becoming a doctor or an artist. Having entirely failed to rebel against my parents thus far, I decided to grasp the opportunity and opted for art. I spent five years studying Art and Art History in Edinburgh, moved to London and for the first year got thoroughly depressed trying and failing to be an artist. Then I moved into a warehouse with ten friends, met my future husband and was accepted into the Royal College of Art - all in the space of two weeks. At the RCA I worked out how to bring science into my art practice. One of my recent projects is called Et in Arcadia Ego. It started when I attended the funeral of a friend who died from kidney cancer at the age of 33. Before his death I discussed the language of cancer at length with Martin, who, like other patients, was often described as ‘battling’ or ‘fighting’ cancer. I became interested in developing a piece of work that would interrogate these metaphors and challenge the idea of cancer as ‘other’ to us. I arranged with the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht to grow a tumour – something that would be biologically part of me but grown outside of my body in a laboratory and ultimately exhibited with me in a gallery where I would sit and perform with it. As the project progressed, I found that the most meaningful aspect of it was the interactions I was having in that place with the audience. I like to think these interactions were as significant to the people I was speaking to as they were to me. Erratum: The contribution by Reyahn King published in the last print version of Here & Now was adapted from interview notes which were not appropriately reflective of Ms. King’s own position. Please refer to the online edition for the authorised version of her article.
In memoriam: Ben Hamilton-Baillie
Ben Hamilton-Baillie, the UK’s most influential and innovative voice promoting the idea of ‘shared space’, died of cancer on 3rd March 2019, aged 63. He was an architect and streetdesigner whose pioneering work sought to reduce the impact of traffic in cities, towns and villages. He believed streets designed as places rather than highways can restore the balance between traffic and public life. This ‘psychological traffic calming’ approach, as opposed to signage, forces drivers to slow down, interact with, and yield to, pedestrians. As the term ‘shared space’ can polarise opinion with regard to the concerns of blind people, Ben explored ways of using materials and spatial cues to reduce speeds and make streets safer for all, including those with visual impairments. Ben’s most celebrated work was in the town of Poynton, Cheshire, where traffic lights were removed and a ‘double roundel’ introduced. The scheme won the Highways Excellence award (2013) and the Urban Transport Design award (2014), the design being credited with lifting the town’s economic fortunes by improving the public realm, bringing weekend visitors to pavement cafes, and making it easier for elderly and disabled residents to cross the road. Ben’s work in Poynton led to many other projects including those in Ashford, Kent and Exhibition Road, London.
My place | In memoriam 53
Frank McDonald AoU, writer-in-residence
High-rise free-for-all Just imagine, in the second decade of the 21st century, that you can build whatever you like wherever you like. That’s how it is now in Ireland, where an open season has been declared for high-rise buildings not just in Dublin, but in the second-tier cities of Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford, and even in relatively small towns. A free-for-all has been promulgated by Housing and Planning Minister Eoghan Murphy in the new guidelines Urban Development and Building Heights – Guidelines for Planning Authorities, which takes precedence over statutory development plans adopted by local authorities and must also be applied by the quasiindependent planning appeals board. The ostensible justification for the new planning policy is to break the cycle of low-density suburban sprawl by creating ‘more compact and integrated communities’ in our cities and towns – a public benefit that’s been advocated for years, even decades, by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and many other interested parties. But the latest recipe for achieving this laudable goal is to aim for the sky by eliminating any height restrictions on development, especially in core urban areas, where building heights of at least six storeys would become ‘the default objective, subject to keeping open the scope to consider even greater building heights,’ according to the guidelines. It didn’t matter to Minister Murphy that the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022 already makes specific provision to permit taller structures in designated areas like Docklands and in the vicinity of transport hubs. such as Heuston Station – largely on foot of a DEGW study in 2000, Managing Intensification and Change, commissioned by the city council. Murphy had been itching to get rid of what he called ‘ridiculous restrictions’ on high-rise development in Dublin
and elsewhere since he took over as Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government in June 2017. Just three months later, he announced that he would ‘review and update our approach to setting urban building height limits’ quite quickly. Although he claimed that new guidelines would be grounded in a new ‘evidence-based policy methodology for setting building height policy objectives,’ the August 2018 draft was the flimsiest planning policy document to emanate from his department’s headquarters in Dublin’s Custom House since the so-called Sustainable Rural Housing guidelines in 2004. In seeking to justify this, the 14-page draft noted that 2.2 million people live in central Paris, occupying a land area roughly the same as the urban parts of Dublin, which have less than a quarter of this population, and such a discrepancy ‘highlights the potential’ of building upwards. Yet the truth is that the vast majority of Parisians live in six-storey buildings. But Murphy, who is himself a Dubliner, was fixated on the idea that only the sky should be the limit, suggesting on a St Patrick’s Day junket to Tokyo in March 2018 that we had a lot to learn from the Japanese; he mustn’t have noticed that their cities are the most congested in the world, with a plethora of high-rise buildings jostling cheek-byjowl with each other. Thus, local authorities were chided for ‘setting generic maximum height limits across their functional areas’ in response to ‘local-level concerns, like maintaining the character of an existing built-up area’, even though this could ‘undermine wider national policy objectives’. Now, they are being required to amend their development plans accordingly. Even the suburbs are to be reshaped, with standard two-storey semidetached houses with front and rear gardens – where most people live – being replaced over time with duplex or apartment buildings of four storeys as
54 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
the ‘default objective’, so that it would be possible to provide substantially more population growth within existing built-up areas. Heritage charity An Taisce (literally ‘The Trust’, in Irish) warned that the draft guidelines would have a ‘detrimental impact on the character of the historic core of Ireland’s cities and major towns’ by undermining long-standing objectives to protect the skyline of inner-urban areas ‘characterised by their low-rise, human scale … a key defining aspect of their charm.’ An Taisce’s tireless advocacy officer, Ian Lumley, an expert on Ireland’s heritage, said the guidelines had been ‘formulated in a manner that epitomises the developer-led approach, facilitating property owners at the expense of the public who suffer the serious consequences of bad planning policy. In effect, the draft guidelines amount to a Developer’s Charter.’ Lumley condemned the ‘muddled thinking’ behind it, epitomised by the notion that taller buildings could ‘assist in reinforcing and contributing to a sense of place within a city or town centre, such as indicating the main centres of activity, important street junctions, public spaces and transport interchanges, [thereby] assisting modern placemaking and improving the overall quality of our urban environments.’ At the root of it is a ‘lack of understanding of how densities may be very significantly increased without the need to build at the intrusive and damaging heights being promoted in the draft guidelines’, as An Taisce said in its submission. But its analysis fell on deaf ears, as they were adopted with virtually no amendments and promulgated as the new national planning policy. Protected structures are not mentioned even once in the guidelines. The only guidance given on context is that high-rise schemes in architecturally sensitive areas ‘should successfully
uncertainty engendered by Murphy’s move to change the rules on building heights; not surprisingly, developers hedged their bets at least until the new planning guidelines were finalised. Now that an open season has been declared for high-rise buildings everywhere, irrespective of context, it may be anticipated that developers will take full advantage of the new regime – not to build towers chock-full of apartments, but rather high-rise office blocks, hotels and yet more student housing, all of which are more profitable than residential. As An Taisce has noted, Dublin and Limerick are among the most important Georgian cities in these islands. Yet very few people live in the grand houses on Merrion Square, most of which were converted to office use many years ago. Now they are in danger of being compromised by the eruption of high-rise buildings in random locations, intruding on the skyline.
Shades of things to come: A proposed 22-storey tower on Dublin’s Tara Street, designed by HJL Architects, which has just been approved by An Bord Pleanála, the Irish planning appeals board, on foot of guidelines that indiscriminately permit high-rise buildings in Ireland’s cities and towns. (Computer-generated images by Model Works Media, courtesy of HJL)
integrate into/enhance the character and public realm of the area, having regard to topography, its cultural context, setting of key landmarks [and] protection of key views.’ Neither do the guidelines deal with the enormous additional costs of building high, in terms of providing more lifts and ensuring fire safety in the postGrenfell Tower era. Most of the ‘good examples’ of high-rise buildings cited in the draft were office towers or hotels, rather than residential blocks, as the latter tend to be lower, largely for economic reasons. Yet the ostensible reason for the new planning guidelines is that the ultraliberal regime they introduce would contribute in some way to relieving the housing crisis in Ireland, which has ballooned into an emergency in recent years, with thousands of people – including whole families – rendered homeless and most housing, whether new or old, out-of-reach to buy or rent.
This emergency has been aggravated by the government’s failure to curb the conversion of apartments and houses into more profitable tourist accommodation via Airbnb and other platforms. More than 5,000 ‘entire homes’ in Dublin alone are being shortlet at a time when barely more than 1,000 are available for rent each month to anxious long-term tenants. Nearly all of the short-letting is illegal, as An Bord Pleanála ruled in October 2016 that it’s a change of use from residential to commercial that requires planning permission, which almost none of them have. Yet the government has dragged its feet on introducing any form of regulation, which Murphy has now promised to publish in June 2019 – nearly three years later. In the meantime, nothing like the volume of housing needed to deal with the current emergency has been built in Dublin or anywhere else, at least partly due to the development
Yet the RIAI actually welcomed the new policy ‘as part of a suite of guidelines to encourage the consolidation of our urban footprint by more sustainable use of land and infrastructure’ while reiterating its view that ‘quality design and placemaking must be prioritised in planning assessments to deliver high-rise living that creates vibrant and sustainable communities’. Claire McManus, the institute’s housing spokeswoman, said apartments were ‘an indispensable part of this equation’, but their provision ‘is not viable at an affordable price’ at present, so ‘some financial interventions’ would need to be considered to encourage developers to build them. What she was calling for, in effect, was tax incentives for highrise construction. ‘High-rise buildings are complex to deliver and have associated design building costs,’ as she conceded. But there is no indication that Eoghan Murphy appreciates the scale of the challenge involved in reaching for the sky, or indeed the lasting physical damage his high-rise guidelines will wreak on the human scale of Dublin and our smaller cities and towns.
Frank McDonald AoU is the Academy’s writer-in-residence, an honorary member of the RIAI and an honorary fellow of the RIBA.
High-rise free for all 55
56 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 10 8 | | Autumn Autumn2016 2017
Brilliant ideas that ruined our cities Part ten - what people want A long long time ago, the Idiot was involved in a public consultation about the redevelopment of a large council estate in Glasgow. Participants were given hundreds of pictures of different types of housing, with the idea that they cut out the ones that they liked to make ‘mood boards’ describing how they would like the redeveloped area to be. They were given pictures of a very wide range of housing, but in the view of some of the participants there was one very important exception. Nowhere could they find a picture of a typical suburban volume housebuilder box. Our selection had completely ignored the Balmoral and the Inverary with their mix of Tudorbethan and Scottish baronial detailing. ‘Typical bloody designers, telling the us what we should want’ – a phase that can be quite intimidating when rendered in an inner Glaswegian accent. They duly got hold of one of the Glasgow property rags and filled their ‘mood board’ with adverts from the local housebuilders.
The Malings, Newcastle © Ash Sakula Architects
Now you might think that the moral of this story is that the Idiot was the one in the wrong, foisting fancy housing solutions on a local community and not listening to what they really wanted. But you would be wrong. Because the majority of people in the workshop turned on the people who had brought in the housebuilder adverts saying ‘hang on a minute, who are you to say what we want? Sure, before we started, those housebuilder homes might have been what we would have asked for, but now we have seen what is possible…’ The problem with the housing debate is that people – whether they be community members, professionals or developers – tend to assume that everyone is a bit like them. When they say ‘what people want is…’ what they mean is ‘what I want is probably representative of what most people want’ and it is a short step from this to saying that ‘this is therefore the type of housing that we should build’. That’s where idiocy creeps into the housing debate. Of course, people shouldn’t be forced to live in housing that they don’t like. But just because you or I don’t want to live there doesn’t mean it
should be banned. There are as many residential preferences as there are people, as the endless property shows on television surely attest. Of course there are lots of people who aspire to a nice suburban house, which is fine, but there is an increasing diversity of housing preferences and anyone who thinks they know what most people want is wrong. Back in the late 1990s, the Idiot was involved in a piece of research into residential attitudes. There was at the time, as hard as it may be to believe, a widespread scepticism that people would want to live in apartments in the centres of cities like Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. London was different, because there was no real alternative to living in apartments, but in places where there were plenty of affordable nice houses with front and back gardens, why would anyone want to live in a flat? Well, it turned out that there were quite a lot of people actually. In our regional cities, large and small, the apartment has become the housing type of choice for many 20-somethings, and even for quite a few retirees. Of course, it is not right for everyone, particularly families with kids. But if we had listened to the ‘what people want’ brigade in the mid-1990s, a whole sector of the market wouldn’t exist. There are a number of reasons for this, including the rather unhappy history of housing innovation in the UK. Many of the people who said that no one wanted to live in apartments would invoke the spectre of council tower blocks and claim that we were building the ‘slums of tomorrow’. Indeed, the problem went deeper still and it was assumed that English people (the Scots were supposedly different) didn’t really like cities and would move as far away from them as their means would allow. We urbanists were guilty of towncramming by forcing people against their will to live in overcrowded cities. What people wanted was suburbia! Another problem is a stereotypical idea that the average household is generally made up of two parents and 2.1 kids. People are surprised to learn that this nuclear family makes up just 20 per cent of households in the UK.
Nevertheless, they are the ones on the cover of the housebuilders’ brochures and constitute their target market. But far from being a mass market, they are actually quite a small niche, which is one of the reasons why housebuilders struggle to increase their output. Innovation and diversity in housing is also hampered by the backwardlooking nature of the market. Agents and developers assume that most people in the future will want to buy/ rent the same sort of housing that most people in the recent past have bought/ rented. This will, therefore, become the predominant sort of housing that they build and with little other choice, become the sort of housing that people buy. It is a circular argument: if you don’t build innovative housing then don’t be surprised that no one buys it. So we end up churning out the same bog-standard product as always. Compare this to the approach of the developer Igloo Regeneration on its scheme for The Malings in Newcastle. This excellent scheme, designed by Ash Sakula Architects, included two extraordinary tower houses. These are five-storey homes with a room on each floor and a roof terrace all accessed by a spiral staircase. Had they asked any of the Newcastle agents about the wisdom of building such extreme houses, the answer would have been that they were crazy. But this would have been the wrong question. Rather than asking what most people in Newcastle want, the question was whether there were a few households in the city who might love the idea of living in one of these amazing homes, which of course there were. So we should stop asking what most people want, because there is no such thing. The answer tells us more about our own preferences – and indeed prejudices – and ends in the idiocy of everything being dumbed down and looking the same. Everyone’s housing preferences are different and new neighbourhoods would be so much more interesting if we were able to match these preferences in the diversity of housing that we produce. The Urban Idiot
Urban idiocy 57
Watershed is a cross-artform venue and producer, showcasing cultural ideas and talent. The product of a joined up thinking process led by the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership ÂŠ Persuasive Media Studi0
58 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 12 | Autumn 2018
My own view is...
Sustainable creative cities have to come from within by Lia Ghilardi AoU
Over the past 20 years, almost everywhere in the West and increasingly in emerging countries too, economists, political commentators and urban experts have remarked on the importance of creativity as a key ingredient of prospering urban economies. By extension, the ability to attract, retain and support the creative people powering a creative economy has been seen as a marker of competitive cities and nations. However, the whole notion of a ‘creative class’ – the neo-liberal idiom for reorganising work, people and space in the city – is still the default position adopted by those civic leaders and policymakers locked into the logic of the competitive game. But what if it was not necessarily all about how good cities are at attracting a creative class through provision of amenities, cultural programmes or regeneration schemes? What if something else is at play in the making of equitable places? What if the established skills, ingenuity, ways of life, industrial traditions and cultures embedded in a city’s DNA mattered more to building urban strength than the engineering of ‘creative enclaves’ that could, at any time, fall prey to the whims of global capital? Economic geographer and urban thinker, Michael Storper, convincingly argues that a large part of postindustrial urban policy worldwide is wrongly based on versions of the ‘amenity’ theory – also known as the ‘city as playground approach’1. In this model, policies are designed to attract the skilled, the cool and the creatives by providing them with the environment that they supposedly need in order to grow. However, Storper continues, not all cities are going to be above average and how they end up depends largely on their location within larger systems of production, which they can’t easily control.
The argument that Storper makes is that cities cannot be reduced to playgrounds for the few. Instead, they must be seen as workshops for developing the talent, creativity and sociability of their own people in the first instance. How they do this is first and foremost by knowing what they are good at (i.e. what their specialisation is). Then, through innovation and the use of technology, they have to adopt clear policies to set them on a course of continuous re-specialisation. I share this view especially because, after working in the field of urban and cultural development for many years, I have observed that only a few cities have been truly successful at priming their competitiveness through cultural or amenity-based regeneration. On the contrary, in some cases iconic cultural regeneration projects have engendered feelings of exclusion and dislocation among local communities, while in other cases artificially created consumption quarters have ended up segregating communities and starving home-grown talent and skilled individuals of those roughand-ready spaces that once made that particular city uniquely vibrant. Such displacement of talent, cultural capital and hope has in some cases even precipitated the decline of the more economically vulnerable of these locations. Blanket, short-term, culture-led regeneration policies tend to monopolise political attention and crowd out discussions of the most basic challenge for cities, which is how to balance revenues with equitable growth in an environment where social change and shrinking public resources dominate. What is needed is a re-interpretation of the task of city making, this time within a framework of ‘spatial justice’. For me this starts with seeing cities not just as machines for bringing in revenue, but also as
systems of relations, each with their own unique texture of interconnected social, cultural, spatial and economic dynamics in a constant state of flux. A good place to live is where cultural diversity and local distinctiveness are prized, and local communities are actively engaged in making the most of their resources for the common good. In the past, policymakers and civic leaders may have overlooked the unique culture of a place (i.e. the local texture of habits, memories, histories, routines, rituals; together with the local productive capacity, skills and ingenuity). Today, it may well be that it is by tactically mobilising their unique DNA that sustainable, cohesive and creative cities are made. The use of low-cost, scalable, participatory tools such as urban and cultural DNA mapping to get to know a place (to take stock) before growth strategies are drawn up is a good place to start. If embedded in the day-to-day modus operandi of local governance, mapping exercises of this kind can reframe the debate about development in a way that helps cities move towards a more responsive and nuanced approach, one that can explore long-term transformation as well as adjusting to new circumstances as conditions inevitably change.
Lia Ghilardi AoU is internationally recognised as a leader in the field of place DNA mapping and strategic cultural planning. She lecturers regularly on the subject of creative cities. liaghilardi.com
1. Storper, Keys to the City, pp. 224-25
Editor’s introduction My | AoU owninview Action is... 59
DIRECTORS From top left to right Jas Atwal Andrew Burrell Michele Grant Henk Bouwman Janet Sutherland John Thompson (Honorary President) David Rudlin (Chair) Steven Bee Dr Deb Upadhyaya Tony Reddy Biljana Savic Tim Stonor Alistair Barr
ACADEMICIANS Asier Abaunza Arthur Acheson Prof Robert Adam Marcus Adams Lisa Addiscott Dr Husam Al Waer Pam Alexander OBE Joanna Allen Ben Allgood Nigel Anderson Ewan Anderson Kathryn Anderson Charles Anderson Jonny Anstead Debbie Aplin Judith Armitt George Arvanitis Jamie Ashmore Thom Aussems Jeff Austin Jeanette Baartman Prof Samer Bagaeen Jamie Baker Prof Chris Balch Yolande Barnes Prof Hugh Barton Brenda Bates John Baulch Marga Bauza Will Bax Alan Baxter CBE Simon Bayliss Andrew Beharrell Neil Bennett Robert Bennett Duncan Berntsen John Best David Bishop Philip Black Deirdre Black Adam Blacker Alastair Blyth Christian Bocci Martin Boddy Carole Boydell Nicholas Boys Smith
Rosemary Bradley Angela Brady OBE Torben Brandi Nielsen Chris Brett Eddie Bridgeman Mark Brierley Jonathan Brookes Patricia Brown Craige Burden Mark Burgess Sarah Burgess Jonathan Burroughs Richard Burton Prof Georgia Butina Watson Peter Butter Karen Cadell Bruce Calton Fiona Campbell Charles Campion Steve Canadine Ian Cansfield Esther Caplin 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 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 Karen Cooksley Prof Rachel Cooper OBE Ian Corner Cara Courage Will Cousins Rob Cowan David Cowans Michael Cowdy Timothy Crawshaw Toby Crayden 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 Ina Dimireva Andrew Dixon Prof John Drever Eugene Dreyer Craig Driver Tony Duggan Alex Dutton John Dyke Nigel Dyke Richard Eastham David Edwards Elad Eisenstein Joanna Eley Gavin Erasmus Karen Escott Roger Estop Roger Evans Prof Brian Evans Wyn Evans Martyn Evans Dr Nicholas Falk Jonathan Falkingham Kerri Farnsworth Max Farrell Sarah Farrugia Ian Fenn Jaimie Ferguson Kathryn Firth Stephanie Fischer Andrew Fisher Sue Flack David Flannery Sue Foster OBE Bernie Foulkes Jane Fowles Simon Foxell Edward Frampton 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 Guy Goodman Keith Gowenlock Marcus Grant Mark Greaves David Green Ali Grehan James Gross Richard Guise Paul Hackett Stephen Haines
60 Here & Now | AoU Journal No. 13 | Spring 2019
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 Simon Henley James Hennessey Roger Hepher Paul Hildreth Colin Hill Steve Hilton Eric Holding Peter Hollis Stephen Hollowood Glenn Howells Jun Huang Lewis Hubbard Simon Hubbard Anthony Hudson Nigel Hughes Kay Hughes Michael Hurlow John Hyland Tony Ingram Philip Jackson Julian Jackson David Jackson Timothy Jemison Cathy Johnston Howard Jones Gregory Jones Peter Jones Eleri Jones Rory Joyce Claudia Juhre Gesine Junker Rikke Juul Gram Martina Juvara Dr Kari Kankaala Dr Kayvan Karimi Philip Kassanis Daniel Kaye 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 Chris Lamb Charles Landry Richard Latcham Derek Latham Diarmaid Lawlor
Michael Leahy Emilie Leclercq Prof Steffen Lehmann John Letherland Ning Liu Kuan Loh Fred London John Lord Mark Lucas Aylin Ludwig David Lumb Nikolas Lyzba Kirsty Macari Carol MacBain Robin Machell David Mahony Keiji Makino Lee Mallett Andreas Markides Paul Martin Christopher Martin 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 Lucy Montague Dr John Montgomery Rob Moore Cllr John Moreland Paul Morsley Richard Motley Ronnie Muir John Muir John Mullin Neil Murphy Dr Claudia Murray Peter Murray Deborah Murray Prof Kevin Murray Prof Gordon Murray Allan Murray Stephen Neal Jon Neale Katy Neaves Marko Neskovic Francis Newton Victor Nicholls Dr Olli Niemi Ross Nimmo Malcolm Noble Hugo Nowell Richard Nunes Craig O’Brien Calbhac O’Carroll Killian O’Higgins Emmet O’Sullivan Stephen O’Malley Dr Dellé Odeleye
Simon Ogden Tiago Oliveira John Orrell Emeka Osaji Trevor Osborne Paul Ostergaard Erik Pagano Chris Pagdin Phil Parker 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 Nick Pollock Prof Sergio Porta 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 Dickon Robinson Dr Rick Robinson Tom Robinson Bryan Roe Nick Rogers Angela Rolfe Anna Rose Graham Ross Susana Ruiz Fernandez Dr Andrew Ryder Robert Sakula John Sampson Prof Flora Samuel Clare San Martin Ryan Sandwick Hilary Satchwell Arno Schmickler Dominic Scott
Sharon Scott Symon Sentain Lucy Seymour- Bowdery Chris Sharpe Richard Shaw Cath 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 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 Nick Taylor Ed Taylor David Taylor Rebecca Taylor Lord Matthew Taylor Nicholas Temple Ivan Tennant 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 Eime Tobari Ian Tod Bob Tomlinson Paul Tostevin Robert Townshend Rob Tranmer Stephen Tucker Neil Tully Jeffrey Tumlin Jonathan Turner Stuart 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 Ian Wall Julia Wallace 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 Peter Williams Martin Williams Patricia Willoughby Richard Wolfstrome Sandra Woodall Nick Woolley Gary Worsfold Tony Wyatt Wei Yang Bob Young Paul Zara
YOUNG URBANISTS Khalifa Abubakar Alexandros Achniotis Sidra Ahmed Eva Aitsam Amer Alwarea Camilla Andersen Patrick Andison Ben Angus Jennifer Angus Kinda Ayoub Nouha Ayoub Simon Banfield Jacqueline Barrett Laura Bartle Tom Barton Chris Bate Felix Beck Hafsa Bell Dean Bell Jordan Benson Fanny Blanc Mark Boyd George Breckenridge Michael Bredin Lucy Bretelle Ciaran Brown Thomas Buchon Matthew Carreau Cath Carver Jasmine Ceccarelli- Drewry Chow Chun Chi Cecil Victor Chamberlain Roland Chanin-Morris Elyem Chej Simon Chinn Katie Christou Francis Clay Ian Collier Lydia Collis Saul Collyns Lindsay Conn Nicola Contarin John Cooney Jonathan Couturier Robert Cox Rebecca Cox Henry Crabb Charles Critchell Elizabeth Crump Hugh D’Alton Lilly Dai Dan Daley Hanaa Dasan Sean Davey Annika Davies
Aaron Davis Vito De Bellis Felix de Gray Constance Desenfant Graziano Di Gregorio Odysseas Diakakis Aya Dibsi Amy Dickens Ina Dimireva Karl Diskin Aaron Doidge Pietro Donatelli Timotei Dudas Isabelle Dupraz Adam Dyer Paul Ede Akrem el Athram Ben Eley Dr Victor Elisa Alexander Evans Nadia Everard Alexander Farr Hannah Fasching Valerie Fenton Tobias Fett 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 Dimitrios Grozopoulos Julie Guilhem Anastassia Gusseinova Zarreen Hadadi Kheder Hajir Summer Haly Danny Harris Rosie Haslem Luwen He Francesca Heathcote Sapey Laura Heinritz Patrick Hennessey Simon Hicks Alan Higgins Sarah Hill Merwa Himrane Marie Hintz Dominik Hoehn Sinead Holmes Lidija Mirella Honegger Hasanul Hoque Louise Houston Saskia Huizinga Henry Hunter Julia Hurley Geraldine Hurley Emma Hutton Loukia Iliopoulou Ross Irvine Omar Islam Fred Jerrome Jennifer Johnson Alice Johnson Foteini Kanellopoulou Georgios Kapraras Ignas Kazlauskas David Kemp Charlotte Kemp Maxine Kennedy Robert Kerr Katie Keyes
Isobel Knapp Anna Kravec Melissa Lacide 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 Iacovos Loizou Stephen Lovejoy Tierney Lovell Laetitia Lucy Alina Ludviga Madeleine Lundholm Belinda Mackay Catriona MacRae Wendy Maden Giacomo Magnani Claire Malaika Tunnacliffe Theo Malzieu Nick Mann Peter Mansbridge Ryan Manton William Marr-Heenan Patricia Martin del Guayo John Mason Georgina Maud Greg Maya Carl McConnell Chloe McFarlane Duncan McNaughton Shawn Meyers Aleksandra Milentijevic Darcy Millar David Milner Jose Monroy Lily Moodey Graeme Moore Lucy Moore Tristan More Antonia Morgan Charlotte Morphet Monika Mosiej Cathe Desiree Nadal Katerina Nagnopol Daniel Mateo Neira Alvarez Ioanna Nicolaou Pauline Niesseron Jim Nightingale Bobby Nisha Szymon Nogalski Nicole Norman Marketa Nosalova Alex O’Hare Killian O’Sullivan Eleana Orr Floriane Ortega Benedict Pagani Pradumn Pamidighantam Laura Parker-Tong Sejal Patel Victoria Payne Claudia Penaranda- Fuentes Francesca Perry Tom Pinder Victoria Pinoncely Emma Pitt Kerstin Plain Julie Plichon Tessel Pool Fleur Praetorius
Alice Preston-Jones Bright Pryde-Saha Kseniia Pundyk Longning Qi Mura Quigley Cristina Racsko Emma Rainoldi Lorna Reed 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 Shane Scollard Alec Scragg Safeer Shersad Shreya Shetty Matthew Sims Claudia Sinatra Rebecca Sladen Roxana Slavcheva Emilia Smeds Andy Smith Henry Smith Tom Smith Alan Smithies Rihards Sobols Bethania Soriano Emma Spierin Matthew Spurway Catherine Street Rebecca Sumerling Lucy Sykes Charlotte Tate Jerome Thibault Gideon Thomas Gavin Thomson Kieran Toms John Townsend Yoana Tulumbadzhieva Joanna 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 Jennifer Wiles Niall Williams Steffan Willis Derek Wilson Curtis Witter Evelyn Wong Nicola Wood Timothy Wu Mirjam Wurtz Jieling Xiao Haibo Xu Yordanka Yordanova Armando Zappala Lea Zeitoun Yigong Zhang Maria Zouroudi
GROUP MEMBERS Argent Beam Chelmsford City Council Clarion Housing Group Cork County Council Glawsgow City Council Green Blue Urban Leeds City Council Milton Keynes City Council Nantes Métropole PDP London Architects Renfrewshire Council Scott Tallon Walker Sheffield City Council SituPlan ThinkingPlace U+I URBED
HONORARY ACADEMICIANS Prof Wulf Daseking Jan Gehl George Ferguson CBE Christer Larsson Tina Saaby Manuel Salgado John Worthington MBE
IN-RESIDENCE David Rudlin AoU Artist Frank McDonald AoU Writer Ian McMillan Poet
Academicians and Young Urbanists
Integrated Urban Model, Thamesmead Space Syntax creates Integrated Urban Models that forecast the impacts of development on the lives of people. IUMs combine data on spatial accessibility, land use attraction, transport connections and demographics. They show how existing places work (top), highlighting opportunities and constraints in the urban fabric. Integrated Urban Models inspire context-specific planning and design ideas. They allow proposals to be rapidly and affordably tested, at an early stage, in terms of their likely social, economic and environmental impacts (bottom). Pedestrian connectivity Red = high Blue = low
before you leap.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Your work is an invaluable aid to considering design approaches. You should know that it is now baked into design briefs and much of what we consider.â&#x20AC;? Phil Askew Peabody