• Lessons from Minamisanriku: What does place mean to us?

    Negotiating different personal and community associations with a building or place Minamisanriku is in many ways an idyllic setting, a place of extraordinary beauty on the northeast cost of Japan in the Sendai province. It sits on the Shizugawa Bay and is made up of four districts, Shizugawa, Togura, Utatsu and Ikiya. Approximately 1,000 of […]

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  • 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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  • Do we accept the status quo in place? A round-up of our London debate

    “We are both too ambitious and not ambitious enough” opened our first speaker, Alastair Donald on Wednesday at our fourth and final debate in this year’s Series To a More Ambitious Place. The British Council Director for the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale told us firmly that design in placemaking was suffering from […]

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  • To a More Ambitious Place: Do we accept the status quo in place? Think piece #3

    By Alexei Schwab The pressure is on for London to build more homes, and we are seeing a raft of new policies to stimulate delivery of housing in the Capital. In previous periods of large-scale building, place making often took a back seat: the homes might have been well-designed, but the areas suffered from a […]

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  • To a More Ambitious Place: Do we accept the status quo in place? Think piece #2

    By Sir Tom Shebbeare An amateur planner: asset or a hazard? Challenging the status quo by using the tool of neighbourhood planning could involve making amateur planners of us all. But are we an asset or a hazard? I’m 63 and until very recently had never been involved with planning – although the concept of […]

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  • To a More Ambitious Place: Do we accept the status quo in place? Think piece #1

    By Samar Héchaimé The question put forth is ‘Do we accept the status quo in place?’ My question is what status quo do we refer to? The status quo that place is intrinsic, characteristic and essentially emerges from our own humanity? Or the status quo that has become so prevalent due to our misunderstanding of […]

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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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  • Is our view of place too short-sighted?

    Is our view of place too short-sighted? On Wednesday 11 February, we put this question to an engaged Bristol audience, who represented the many different faces of placemaking. First speaker, Barra Mac Ruairí, Strategic Director of Place at Bristol City Council,
 kicked off the debate with a yes-and-no answer: Yes, we currently think too short-sightedly […]

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  • To a More Ambitious Place: Is our view of place too short-sighted? Think piece #1

    By Katy Hawkins Today we continue to see a trend of one mega structure replaced by another; we go from one quick-fix to the next. This is an approach quite visible in London today, when rather than attempt to rehabilitate what we already have, demolition is often the favoured response; this has been the source of […]

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  • To a More Ambitious Place: Is our view of place too short-sighted? Think piece #2

    By Cleo Newcombe-Jones If places are designed to be both people-centric and environmentally resilient it’s difficult to be too short-sighted. However, there can be a gulf between aspiration and delivery – as the performance art that opened Bristol Green Capital 2015, challenged us – how do we ‘bridge the gap’? There is almost total synergy […]

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