Tag Archives: master planning

Down at the seaside…

MTUD have joined in with way finding architects, Placemarque to develop a way finding, identity and town centre investment framework for Littlehampton on the West Sussex coast. The project involves developing a strategy, which will link the town centre back into its seafront and beach and the new River Arun Promenade now under construction.

Future talk…

Registration is now available for the AoU, CABE seminar…

Regeneration: Past Present and Future. 

16.00 – 18.30 20th March 2014.

Chaired by Mick the seminar will bring together different points of view regarding growth and regeneration in what is a rapidly changing world.

West Gorton takes shape…

Mick’s original master plan for 1000 new homes at West Gorton, East Manchester is starting to take shape. Demolition has begun on the first of the two tower blocks and most of the original Radburn housing is gone. First phase homes are complete along with two large apartment buildings and a series of terraces and semi-detached villas which are starting to put proper streets back into the community again.

Spontaneous stuff….

This week we managed to put the Spontaneous Places exhibition over at the RIBA Hub. The Preview is on Tuesday evening 5.30 – 8.00pm. This is your invitation to come along…we have wine!

The work is simply stuff I do in the basement. Its intuitive and spontaneous, hence the title and its really about the process rather than the product. I rely on found material to shape these places. An assembly or a drawing starts with things coming together without a plan. You see things, stumble upon them. Its mostly accidental  but you seem to know how it works. Shapes, forms and lines intertwine, collide and intertwine again…you don’t know why this happens. It just pours out. Very much like the wine!

See you on Tuesday…

Happy By Design…

Earlier this week I was invited to give a talk on well being and urban design for the North West Region RTPI event, ‘Planning for a Healthy Future’.

Pages from Happy by design talk5

This is a subject I have been interested in for some time. Based on the New Economic Foundation’s 5 Ways to well-being the talk proposed  a new  approach and methodoogy for making new and happy communities. You can download it here: Happy by design

There is huge anmount of work being done on Happiness at the moment. It ties very closely with the emerging Mindfulness work which is spreading across the internet and, it seems, Waterstones in Deansgate.

For me its liberating and could be the basis for new ways of talking about design and place making over and above the usual design guidance we have. Its also very inclusive in that invites other professionals to get involved in design, particularly from the health sector. The 5 ways also puts the advantage back onto the developer and their design team to think more freely and  creatively about how we can make lasting places. I have always thought design guidance should invite and encourage what could be done rather than what can’t be done.

 Stay happy.

3 months in…

Today MTUD has been in business three months. It’s going well.

Being back in the city I have made contact with all my old friends, collaborators and colleagues. The new office is great too and I have made friends with barista in the new Albert Square Costa…

Projects are growing. I am working on an interesting strategy for Sandwell Country Park with the Leisure Consultancy, which seems to be leading to more work focusing on concept making and feasibility work.

I am also back designing churches with a nice project in Chorlton.

I am also out, giving talks and workshops. Last month saw me leading a workshop on well being at Lancaster University and next week I am giving a talk entitled Happy by Design for the NW Region RTPI event, ‘Planning for a Healthy Future’, at BDP on well-being and place making. This will be the first time I have put together well being as set out by the New Economics Foundation and place making design tactics…watch this space.

I have finally joined the establishment too. I have just been elected an Urban Academician (about time too) and then directly got roped in as local helper.  I have also become an Affiliate of the RTPI and an Ambassador for Placed based in Liverpool.

I am still drawing and making too. Here is the view from drawing table…

City view

Who is watching who…

I have just finished (again) George Orwell’s trio of English political novels, Coming up for Air (1939), Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) Some of you know that Penguin have published new versions this year. Here are two of my copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four, ( I think I have about 4). On the left is my very first copy given to me at school while doing my CSE’s in 1974, 10 years before it was supposed to happen. It features a detail form William Roberts painting, ‘The Control Room, Civil Defence Headquarters. The other copy is this year’s Penguin, given to me for my birthday, designed by David Pearson.


Its brilliant in that its ‘redacted’ title (you can just see the words under the black in the right light) tells us more about where we are in relation to what Orwell wrote about regarding control, manipulation of truth and ‘Big Brother’. Of course many people take Orwell’s picture of a highly controlled society too literally. They say it’s never happened and that Big Brother doesn’t exist.

Plus those telescreens in Airstrip One, located everywhere, watching your every move, listening to everything you say and to whom, never really took off.

Well sitting on the tram this morning heading into the city I was completely struck by the countless number of people staring vacantly into their smartphones. Like the telescreens those things know who you are, where you are, what you are saying and to whom and through twitter, exactly what you are thinking – all the time. Unlike Winston Smith we all seem to be very willing participants.

The key question is who is watching it all?

Just saying…