Why we need urban development heretics

When shopping centre developer Hammerson walked away from Sheffield’s much-vaunted New Retail Quarter last year, it could have been a blessing in disguise. Here was an opportunity to radically rethink the ‘mall without walls’ template for city centre regeneration. Sheffield City Council’s chief executive, John Mothersole, has been quoted as saying that the next iteration of the […]

Inspiration of the month: Offshoots, Burnley

Eighteen months ago Gillian Newlove struggled to leave her house. Her confidence was at rock bottom and she did all she could to avoid meeting people. Last Christmas couldn’t have been more different. Her paintings were exhibited at Accrington Town Hall, she met the mayor and visitors were enquiring about buying her work. The change […]

Introducing the Canning Town Caravanserai

A guest blog from the Caravanserai team Traditional Caravanserais were vital, busy compounds along the Silk Road, places with some greenery, water and shelter, to take a break from traveling. Once rested, people of different backgrounds, nationalities and races would exchange goods and stories. They were cities in miniature, bustling with trade & activity, vibrant […]

An Association of Agitators: the next step for our high streets?

Imagining Alternative High Street Futures from Architecture + Design Scotland on Vimeo. Where can you find an Association of Town Agitators, a ‘framework for mess’ and a high street Truth and Reconciliation Commission? Answer: Glasgow, where around 40 people gathered to ‘imagine alternative high street futures’ on Tuesday. We blogged some thoughts here earlier this […]

Inspiration of the week: The Greenhouse

Walk into the Greenhouse and you wouldn’t imagine it was once a local eyesore. The former Shaftesbury House workers’ lodgings in Beeston Hill, south Leeds, is now a showpiece for sustainable living. It’s an example of what can be done with a building that could easily have been demolished and replaced with a boring development of […]

Inspiration of the week: Jane’s Walk

It’s an unusual legacy but Jane’s Walk, which gets people out exploring the areas where they live and talking to their neighbours, would surely be welcomed by urbanist Jane Jacobs. Jane’s Walk celebrates the memory of Jacobs, who died in 2006. She had radical ideas about the best way to make cities work, believing they […]

How old world urbanism is streets ahead

In recent weeks two contrasting visions of city life have caught the attention. The one that’s grabbed the headlines has been that of economist Ed Glaeser, whose book The Triumph of the City sells the city as glitz and wealth, of entrepreneurship and energy. The other vision looks to the Old World. The Academy of […]

Why ‘here be dragons’ won’t do for our cities

Ancient cartographers had a fine way of dealing with lands beyond their knowledge. They’d write ‘here be dragons’, often accompanied by an appropriate illustration. In a world where every inch is mapped by satellite, every idea (barmy or otherwise) to be found somewhere on the internet, and more information than any of us can ever […]