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