What can the form of cities tell us about the structure of the brain? And what can the structure of the brain tell us about the form of cities? These are questions that I’d like to address in this talk. In summary, I believe we can learn a good deal about the interaction between the mind and the urban places in which the global majority of people now lives.
After all, the city is the largest intentional product of the human species. We’ve had them for millennia and, in them, we’ve manifested our societies, created our industries and developed our cultures. They are the product of our imaginations, the places where we take decisions – and they are the inspiration for new thought. The link, I want to suggest though, is not just contextual. It’s much deeper than that. Continue reading Reflecting ourselves in the city
Notes from a talk at the Bartlett Real Estate Institute, University College London, 24th April 2019.
Placemaking is the art and science of planning and designing spaces for human activity, however that is done:
– by a single hand (usually not a good approach) or by multiple hands (usually a good approach)
– by academics, professionals and non-professionals.
But beyond placemaking is “place working”, or “place functioning”, or “place performance”: when the planning, design and construction work is finished and the place becomes operational. When it fills with the mysterious liquid called human behaviour.
And key to which is human transaction: the everyday social and economic exchanges that take place between people – these transactions not only sustain lives but bring about inventions that shape cultures.
Place Performance has many dimensions. Here are seven that I have seen work in practice: Continue reading Beyond placemaking: 7 dimensions of “Place Performance”
Notes for presentation at Transport & Housing conference:
To understand where we are & where we need to go, we first need to understand where we come from. And where we come from is a relationship with the car that has fragmented cities & damaged lives.
Transport & housing
– mental health
– social unrest.
The irony. The paradox.
We have never been as connected.
We have never been as spatially segregated. Continue reading Transport & housing: tools, standards, principles
Good afternoon. I’m delighted to be a member of this panel today.
Let me start by describing my organisation’s approach to the creation of cities from scratch.
Space Syntax is an international urban planning and design studio and has been involved in plans for new cities and new city extensions throughout the world, including here in Kazakhstan.
Our approach is built on three key ingredients: Continue reading Cities from scratch – Astana Economic Forum
Good afternoon. It’s an honour and a pleasure to be here in Astana today with this distinguished panel.
In speaking about the cities of the future I’d like to speak about three technologies that I think are not only exciting but are also capable of genuinely addressing the “Global Challenges” theme of this Forum.
The first is a mobility technology. The second is a physical transaction technology. The third is a digital technology.
As an architect involved in the design of everything from new buildings and public spaces to entirely new cities, these are three technologies that I’m particularly invested in. Continue reading The return of the impossible – Astana Economic Forum
Good evening. It’s a great honour to have been asked to give this evening’s Kevin Lynch Memorial Lecture, and a special honour to be doing so on behalf of Bill Hillier, who is unable to join us. Bill sends his best wishes to the Urban Design Group.
First, I can’t do justice in the time available to the breadth and depth of Bill’s genius. And I use the word genius carefully. I believe, as do many others, that he is a genius.
I may only this evening touch on concepts that each deserve a more lengthy explanation and discussion. And, likewise, on the hundreds of urban planning and building design projects that Bill and Space Syntax have helped create over the past four decades.
But what I hope I will do is paint a picture of Bill’s achievement – albeit a personal one.
I want to talk especially about the future directions that his work is taking. The future is important because Bill is not obviously sentimental. He is far more likely to want to talk about something he is currently working on, or something he doesn’t yet understand, than to dwell on the past. He hasn’t ever, to my knowledge, sought prizes. He’s enjoyed them when they’ve appeared, but he hasn’t gone after them.
And, I suspect like anyone receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, he has wondered why it was being given so soon, before his lifetime is fully achieved. When I spoke with him last weekend he explained that what he’d really like to be talking about is what he’s currently working on. But, as is often the case with emerging theory, he’s not sure he’s right about it yet. In other words there’s always more to be done.
But Bill was keen to shape this evening’s presentation. So let’s begin with some words from him: Continue reading Kevin Lynch Memorial Lecture
Slide 1 Technology is the answer
I’d like to begin with a little scepticism about new technology. Of course “Technology is the answer“, said Cedric Price in 1966. He also said, “But what is the question?”
What are the questions that we are trying to answer in the pursuit of autonomous vehicle technologies?
I don’t think it’s enough to talk about intelligent mobility from the perspective of the driver alone. I’d like us to think about its benefits for cities as a whole. And the risks too, if we focus too much on the vehicle and not enough on what’s around it: the city. Continue reading Intelligent mobility: risks & rewards