Alice in wonderland

Posted Posted in Essays

The death has just been announced of Professor Alice Coleman whose controversial 1985 study, Utopia on Trial, infuriated the architectural establishment and helped change housing policy in the 1980s. Many, though not all, of her findings have correlated with many subsequent studies of relationships between urban morphology and design with wellbeing and prosperity. In 2014 […]

Do ants have a pattern language?

Posted Posted in Guest Blog

Alexander Boys Smith applies the theory of Christopher Alexander’s pattern language to the architecture of Leafcutter Ants. In 1977 the architect and theorist Christopher Alexander published his seminal work, A Pattern Language. It set out 253 “patterns”, physical ways in which humanity tends to solve the perennial problem of how to live alongside others in […]

Mansards in Tower Hamlets: an East End case study on the challenges and opportunities in densifying neighbourhoods

Posted Posted in Case Studies, Guest Blog

Tom Bage is a Bow resident. The inclusion of a paragraph on mansard roofs in the new NPPF is welcome news for the millions of people living in pre-1918 properties who would like a little more space or a greener home. I live in Bow, where different groups of residents have spent nearly a decade […]

We should build places with character

Posted Posted in Design

Create Streets’ senior architectural designer, Robert Kwolek, considers how important a strong character and identity is to beautiful places with which residents and visitors can fall in love. We tend to like places with a unique identity, those places with a strong, easily recognisable character. Think about the most beautiful places in the world. Usually […]

What could Lambeth’s Kerbside Strategy look like in practice and how do we get there?

Posted Posted in Case Studies, sustainability

Councils nationwide have signed up to climate emergency charters. So far so good. Yet all too often we find that sustainability targets and ambitions to support active travel are undermined by a narrow traffic-oriented approach to design. Many designers are used to working in a world where streets are for vehicular movement and nothing else, […]

Streets to dream of in Toulouse…

Posted Posted in Case Studies

Have you ever heard of Toulouse as a city centre whose improved street design is revolutionising local prosperity, benefiting from and in turn further catalysing the region’s booming economy? Probably not. It is not normally lauded as a case study. But the quality of Toulouse’s street design is staggering. The results are stunning. Walking round […]