• Lessons from Minamisanriku: Introduction

    When I asked a survivor of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Minamisanriku, Japan in June 2011 what we could do to help, his reply was “Come here, shed a tear with us and tell our story.” The recent earthquake in Nepal has once again shown our vulnerability to natural disasters and the devastating effects […]

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  • Design training

    Urban governance: do current models support our ambitions for great places?

    This blog post was first published on the Future of Cities blog run by Foresight Projects, part of the Government Office for Science The Future of Cities paper, Comparative urban governance, begins with a clear and concise definition: Urban governance refers to the process through which democratically elected local governments and the range of stakeholders […]

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  • Towards a more open dialogue around place

    Recently many place organisations and institutions have met to discuss the desire for collective action and stewardship on place, prompted by The Farrell Review of Architecture + The Built Environment (1). Emerging from this is the idea of a new Place Alliance. My vision for a Place Alliance is an open network of people and […]

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  • How can we learn something from every experience with place?

    The irony of it. The day after returning from our debate in Edinburgh exploring the relationship between place and health and wellbeing, I found myself with a cast on my foot, having to navigate London on crutches. While tackling patched up pavements, I was reminded of one of the key themes from our conversation in […]

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  • £1 Homes – an initiative to applaud

    It’s about time that we looked at more creative, small-scale interventions to improve neighbourhoods and bring our failing streets, towns and city centres back to life. The recent announcement from Liverpool City Council of their £1 homes homesteading initiative, which follows a similar scheme launched by Stoke-on-Trent council, is a step in the right direction. […]

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  • The show’s over… let the legacy begin

    Monday’s London parade marked the end of our Olympic summer.  I think that all said, we Brits are pretty pleased with how it’s gone. We delivered a Games to be proud of in a series of sports venues in both established and treasured London destinations, and in our spanking new Olympic Park and sports arenas. […]

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  • A crisis in housing and transport: what about placemaking?

    Two news items caught my eye yesterday.  One was the much commented on statement of Housing Minister Grant Shapps, that it is “blindingly obvious” that social housing in expensive places should be sold to fund house building in areas that are cheaper. The second was that train fares are “forcing commuters off trains and on […]

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  • The National Planning Policy Framework and Community Led Design

    Yesterday, the final version of the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was released. I would like to draw attention to three very simple points that Minister Greg Clark makes in his foreword to the document: Our standards of design can be so much higher. Planning must be a creative exercise in finding ways to […]

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  • In Bruges: Belgian students present their plans for East London site

    This week I paid a swift visit to Bruges, where I sat on a jury to assess 3rd year Applied Architecture students from Howest University College West Flanders who have developed masterplans for a mixed-use site close to the Olympic village in East London.  Fourteen groups presented their ideas on how to transform an industrial […]

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  • The Secret Life of Buildings

    The Glass-House was really pleased to be a part of the first episode of The Secret Life of Buildings last night. It was fantastic to see Tom Dyckhoff looking at how our buildings and spaces affect us and challenging us all to be more demanding about the environments in which we live. Design does matter, […]

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