URBAN DESIGN Journal Issue

URBAN DESIGN 118 Spring 2011


This issue of URBAN DESIGN addresses DESIGNING LONDON with articles from many of London’s leading designers, commentators and observers, edited by Professor Matthew Carmona.

Lord Richard Rogers leads by asking why, despite recent efforts, London struggles to deliver a coherent high quality public realm; for him, administrative fragmentation represents a key problem. However for Sir Terry Farrell and Eugene Dreyer, the absence of concentrated power makes planning London an inherently inclusive, collaborative and incremental process. It is London’s underlying urban patterns that make it unique. Through the work of Foster & Partners, Spencer de Grey argues that London is essentially a privately funded city and always has been. The challenge for the designer is to add value to the private developer, occupiers and the city as a whole. Anna Minton, however, laments a trend towards large parts of the city falling into private hands, creating places characterised by security, defensible architecture and strict regulations. The democratic nature of London’s space is threatened unless it can be created and managed by the public sector once again. Nicky Gavron briefly reports on the enquiry being conducted by the London Assembly into these matters, so that policies can be recommended for truly public spaces in London.

Mark Lemanski sets out approaches that MUF architecture/art have used to encourage more profound public engagement with London’s public realm, through how public stewardship limits or enhances choice and inclusivity. Oliver Wainwright takes the recent achievements of Design for London as the subject for his piece, and argues for engagement with London’s public space at two levels, the strategic and the detailed. Stitching together fragmented landscapes represents a critical task requiring careful, coordinated public sector action.

To conclude, Matthew Carmona considers how the governance of design has operated in London in the recent past, and how London might be better shaped in the future. In the downturn London can ill-afford to rest on its laurels, but must invest in place-shaping capacity now if it is to compete on the global stage in the future.

This issue also features a compelling viewpoint on the legacy value of the 2012 Olympics proposals and processes by Benz Kotzen and Gulsen Guler. Mike Biddulph, recipient of the UDG’s inaugural research fund presents his first stage report on shared streets. As a past regular contributor, CABE concludes its current series of articles with a longer piece on the design and siting of waste to energy plants. Following the successful awards event this February, the winner of the Student Awards is illustrated, along with the runners up. Regular features include book reviews, the practice and education indexes, and the insightful Endpiece by Joe Holyoak. The Urban Design interview in this issue is urban designer/ artist/ hotel operator Rajesh Rana.

URBAN DESIGN is the leading journal in its field. Each issue provides in-depth analysis of topical themes, with contributions from leading practitioners, policymakers and academics from the UK and abroad. Its 48 pages offer a mix of articles, short reports and listings that reflect the diversity of urban design today. This is a journal no urban design professional or student should be without. It is sent automatically to all members of the Urban Design Group - a good reason to join the group today!