URBAN DESIGN Journal Issue

URBAN DESIGN 115 Summer 2010


Architects, planners and urban designers have tended to shun the suburbs as being sub-urban, an inferior kind of environment, neither rural nor really urban. Yet most people live in suburbs and, because of the neglect of professionals, they are the territory where volume builders rule.

This issue of Urban Design looks at suburbs in a more positive way and attempts to give them a new image for the future. Jon Rowland, the topic editor for this issue, has assembled articles by a number of thinkers, commentators and practitioners with the objective of putting forward ideas for the design and development of the 21st century suburb.

  • Alastair Donald sees criticism of the suburbs as being elitist;
  • Isabel Allen and Kevin McCloud argue for suburbs that heave their own narrative and not one related to another place;
  • Tim Hagyard, perhaps anticipating  the new government’s policies, regrets the disappearance of suburban gardens; Clare Mitchell sees the future in self-build neighbourhoods;
  • Nicholas Falk and Barry Munday offer examples of successful suburbs;
  • Jonathan Meads envisages a different type of suburb for the future;
  • Kevin Logan puts forward ideas for the future of suburbs and
  • Jon Rowland ends the series of articles with a manifesto for the 21stCentury Suburb and a call for a wider debate on the issue. At the end of the last Century the great challenge was the urban renaissance; today we start the debate on the suburban renaissance.

On another matter of interest to our readers, Neil Double adds to the previous issue’s topic dealing with local authority work, by describing how the London Borough of Tower Hamlets embedded urban design into their Local Development Framework. Meanwhile another international contribution comes from Mauricio Hernandez Bonilla who looks at the role of public spaces in Mexico’s divided society.

Three projects shortlisted for this year’s Francis Tibbalds Awards are also published in this issue, as well as a contribution from CABE, news from different parts of the country, the regular interview of one of our members, book reviews and the usual endpiece by Joe Holyoak.