Making space in cities
We lived in Leeds for a while when I was a child. Whenever we'd drive past the Town Hall, my dad would tell us that the magnificent building - I particularly liked the statues of the lions - showed the pride its Victorian founders had had in their city.
I have been sent a thoughtful book called Transforming Cities: Revival in the Square by Nick Corbett, which takes this simple idea - pride in the public realm - and applies the concept to public space.
A lot of the excitement about modern urban renewal is focused on new buildings - the Sage in Gateshead; the Bullring in Birmingham...
But the argument of the book is that healthy communities depend on shared space and not just shared buildings. (By contrast tyrannical regimes tend to hate the idea of public shared space: the book points out that General Franco placed strict rules and control over the use of public squares).
Public space creates community - from public art to cafe culture.
The planning system gives Local Authorities the power to make a difference, and they need to use it.
posted on 22 March 2006 15:00
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