Lucio Costa’s 1957 master plan for Brasilia, the new capital of Brazil.
As many others have observed, even the appalling event of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 40,000 people in the UK and inflicted huge damage on the economy, has brought about some beneficial consequences. With a big reduction in vehicular traffic, towns and cities are quieter, birdsong can be heard, and the air is cleaner. While other retail businesses are suffering, bike shops have never been busier.
More design goes into a pizza than a local plan? Nearly 200 people from engineering through to planning attended this event, the first of four lunchtime events addressing the Planning White Paper.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had all kinds of effects and one of them has been for the Academy of Urbanism (AoU) and the Urban Design Group to collaborate in a seminal event.
Change in any form requires political bravery. And shaping our cities as healthy and democratic places is no exception. Birmingham has been on an extraordinary journey - a place where car was king to a city that is set to become net zero carbon by 2030.
When the National Urban Design Awards were first conceived in 2009, the Urban Design Group, supported by the Francis Tibbalds Trust, wanted to recognise the best of the profession and inspire others. If we are to make better places, we need to raise the profile of urban design. What better way than awards to celebrate the best ideas and achievements delivered over the course of a year.
During the lockdown and social distancing, the Urban Design Group (UDG) has not stood still.
The Coronavirus has had big effects on movement and lifestyles, and therefore on our energy consumption and carbon emissions. There has been a lot of coverage of air pollution drops across countries during the pandemic. Here we provide some useful links on this topic as well as other aspects, highlighting the opportunities for urban designers to help take the good from this crisis.
At last year’s UDG annual conference I ran a quiz on Great Streets, asking participants to identify pictures of European streets in Allan Jacobs’ book of the same name. I did consider putting in a rogue picture in order to confuse. The one I had in mind was High Street Deritend in Birmingham, which I rate as the most unpleasant street in the city centre. It is a mediaeval street, which originally connected the small town of Birmingham around the marketplace of the Bull Ring to the village of Deritend, on the other side of the river Rea.
De Dijk, Rijwijk, The Netherlands
The pandemic provides us with time to reflect on the kind of world we have been building. Do we continue to treat the planet and its resources as commodities to be traded for our own benefit or do we re-emerge after the crisis with a different set of priorities?
Covid 19 has changed the world in an unbelievably short period of time, and we will not be able to go back to our old ways anytime soon, or arguably ever. People will need to adapt to new ways of life for the foreseeable future, whilst our towns and cities will need to change to reflect new norms. With this, our streets offer an attractive and flexible solution to help us do so - protecting people from COVID19 and any future crisis we might face.
As urban designers we aim to be as comprehensive as possible in our baseline evidence gathering, but many of us have been grappling with capturing climate change information at this baseline stage. However, an increasing number of data sources are coming to our aid. In this quarter’s climate change digest, we flag up useful data and maps that urban designers can now draw on to better support the climate change and environmental side of their baseline analysis.
I do enjoy making a counter-scheme. I admit to being a bit equivocal about my competitive instinct, to which the idea of the counter-scheme appeals. It’s not all good but I think a context in which counterschemes can be made, enabling a comparison of attitudes and values, and generating a productive debate, is healthy.
The Liverpool City Plan (aka The Shankland Plan)
Almost a decade after London hosted the Olympic Games, we look at how the largest new piece of city in the capital is maturing into a place of its own.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were established in 2013 as a global set of goals for every country to work towards. February’s event was convened to explore their use in the UK and their relevance to the work of urban designers.
2019 was the year when the world woke up to the prospect of climate change. It is fitting that the first event of 2020 was the launch of the year-long programme on Climate Responsive Urbanism, staged jointly by the UDG and the Edge Debate.