Urban Design 109 - Winter 2009

Re-imagining the City

Publication Date: 01 January 2009


The new Urban Design magazine challenges existing orthodoxies and may well upset a few people. Alastair Donald, the topic editor, has assembled a team of contributors who take their clues from early 20th Century visionaries such as the Futurists and who want great ideas uncontrolled by timid bureaucracies. So for instance, they challenge some aspects of sustainability and promote a form of libertarian citizenry, both of which will not be to everyone’s taste. Ian Abley regrets the lack of vision in the plans for the Thames Gateway. Paul Reeves and Austin William mourn the disappearance of daring technologies promoted half a century ago; Pauline Hadaway questions the reality behind the re-branding of Belfast and Doland Cummings mounts a guerrilla war against limitations on the use of public space. Richard Williams even makes connections between sexuality and urban design.


Urban Design is a wide chapel and the editors felt that the voices of dissent should be given a forum. The reader’s reaction will be interesting.


There is more in the January issue of Urban Design: Matthew Carmona reports on the last of the ESRC sponsored seminars on the Urban Renaissance, which took place in London and covered a number of flagship schemes in the capital and surroundings, while Sebastian Loew describes a workshop that brought together French and English built environment specialists to look at major projects in the Thames Gateway and the Paris surroundings. Lee Pugalis on the other hand attempts to demonstrate that cultural vitality and economic competitiveness can reinforce each other.


Following the first Francis Tibbalds Award for the best case study published by the magazine, the first two contenders for the 2009 award, Temple Quay2, Bristol by URBED and Jon Rowlanbd Urban Design, and Scott Browning’s scheme for East Quay, Farneham, are published here.