Remembering Elizabeth the Good

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 […]

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Moving Brum

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 […]

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(Don’t) Create Cowpats

Planning

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 […]

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

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 […]

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The Sack of Bristol

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 […]

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

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, […]

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How to love the NIMBY and build more homes

Essays

Create Streets Head of Research Ben Southwood explains why street votes goes with the grain of British care for place and neighbourhood. Place is emotional and rightly so. Britons are conservative about their neighbourhoods. They take pride in them. They wish them to remain green and pleasant. Many planning reformers have failed because they misunderstood […]

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