This House Believes the Urban Renaissance Never Happened

Urban 'froth' or lasting change?

Urb Ren

SUPPORTING
MICHAEL EDWARDS – BARTLETT, UCL
WITH AUSTIN WILLIAMS – FUTURE CITIES PROJECT

michael austin

OPPOSING
FRED MANSON, HEATHERWICK STUDIO
WITH ROGER MADELIN, ARGENT

fred roger

Spring, 18 March 2009

LISTEN TO PODCASTS

MICHAEL EDWARDS
FRED MANSON
AUSTIN WILLIAMS
ROGER MADELIN

1998’s Urban Task Force, led by Lord Rogers, aimed to identify the causes of urban decline and establish a lasting vision of future cities that promoted social wellbeing and design excellence. It was to be the new orthodoxy in town planning. We would walk to work or use public transport, eat out more often, bask in open squares and take advantage of new cultural spaces. In the last decade there has been a considerable shift in favour of development in towns and cities, reflecting a nationwide drive towards the Urban, but have we really embraced it?

Government and strategists called for well designed public spaces and safe neighbourhoods; cities that could compete economically with each other and embrace the international economy. The evening asks, with the financial downturn severely weakening the property market and exposing our reliance on commercial giants to deliver the urban agenda, how much of what has been built is desirable in the long term and how much of what we have built can be considered Cappuccino urbanism mere froth?

The spring debate featured contributions from Roger Madelin of developers Argent, former Director of Regeneration at the London Borough of Southwark and urbanist Fred Manson, Austin Williams, director of Future Cities Project, author, Enemies of Progress and architectural producer at NBS Learning Channels and Michael Edwards author and senior lecturer at the Bartlett, UCL.

A stimulating discussion was had of the urban renaissance seen in the past 10 years, and in the end Michael and Austin managed to win by one vote, with the audience voting in favour of the motion.

Building Futures Debates Series 2009 are supported by BDP and the Evening Standard’s Homes and Property Magazine

For more information on this event contact buildingfutures@inst.riba.org

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