How to improve your neighbourhood

Posted Posted in News, Uncategorized

We are often contacted by individuals or community groups asking how to improve their neighbourhoods. We have previously published some advice on this, Love thy neighbourhood, in 2016. It’s mainly aimed at those living in England, though many of the principles will apply more widely. However, it is a little out of date now thanks to […]

Why do traditional places make the best Christmases?

Posted Posted in News, Streets, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

When you think about it, nearly all of our happy Christmas clichés depend on traditional towns, walkable streets, beautiful houses and vernacular homes with (let’s be honest) slightly antiquated approaches to keeping warm. Here are six components of the traditional Christmas. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy these in the deep countryside, the wide suburb […]

Street Fight: why we should fight the good fight for happy, healthy and beautiful places

Posted Posted in News, Streets, sustainability, Wellbeing

A few people (well actually quite a lot) have asked me what I think of recent announcements and media reports on “the war on motorists.” Here’s my reply. I suspect it may annoy everyone.  But I nevertheless think that it’s correct and the best route to more homes, a more productive economy and happier and […]

Remembering Elizabeth the Good

Posted Posted in Uncategorized

How should London physically commemorate Queen Elizabeth II? It’s a subject that will be widely and deeply discussed in the months, years and even decades to come. Here are some early thoughts that might guide our collective thinking. Firstly, commemoration should be significant and meaningful. The longevity of her reign and the significance of her […]

Moving Brum

Posted Posted in Uncategorized

Why Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealth Games was all about getting about An American Perspective, by Jon Bibbins A native Virginian here, reporting from Birmingham, England not Birmingham, Alabama. The 2022 Commonwealth Games were a smashing success! I was blown away by the world-class quality of the event.  ‘Brum’ transformed itself with a spectrum of colour splashed […]

(Don’t) Create Cowpats

Posted Posted in Planning, sustainability

Transport for New Homes, an organisation that advocates for creating new homes designed around walking, cycling and public transport, have released a scathing report on the state of new housing developments in England declaring most unfit in our quest towards carbon net zero. It was not hugely surprising that most of the brownfield housing sites […]

Don’t fall for self-interested blandishments: upvc windows are not green

Posted Posted in sustainability

The press has reported recently that residents in Poundbury want to install upvc windows rather than wooden ones because they are “greener.” But the idea that upvc windows are “greener” than wooden ones is for the birds. Sustainability works at three levels. Firstly, manufacturing. Wooden windows can readily be created from sustainable forests. Upvc ones are 43% oil and […]

What does the Levelling Up White Paper mean for community leadership and local place-making?

Posted Posted in Essays

After all the hot take in the first 24 hours, here’s a more considered take from Toby Lloyd, the Chair of the Create Streets Foundation’s No Place Left Behind Commission.” The sceptical take on last week’s long awaited Levelling Up White Paper it is that it’s largely a rehash of existing policies and initiatives, loosely bound […]

The Sack of Bristol

Posted Posted in Essays

Bristol’s former mayor and former RIBA President, George Ferguson, asks if Bristol is returning to the age of destructive planning. Bristol’s history, special character and environment are under assault from more damaging development than we have experienced in the past 50 years, but we are in danger of sleep walking through it. Soon after I […]

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away: what does Star Wars tell us about architecture for goodies and baddies?

Posted Posted in Essays

Do filmmakers and set designers understand architecture better than architects? My study of the 11 Star Wars films released over 44 years suggests that they do. I examined 12 Star Wars locations (some cities, some villages, some spaceships, some individual buildings). I categorised them as either: ‘Good.’ The home of innocents, harmless but kind planet-dwellers, […]