Events around the country, including Cambridge and Birmingham as well as Manchester and London, enabled the impact of URBED’s work to be reviewed by some of the leading practitioners we have worked with. Themes included the reuse of old buildings, the promotion of enterprise, town centre revitalisation, and housing. The results were filmed, and form part of an ongoing project to share experience and best practice in making cities work better for all.
The Wolfson Essay won considerable praise and publicity. It led on to URBED helping the Oxford Civic Society run a series of consultations and events under the theme Oxford Futures. The final report Oxfordshire Futures 2050 suggests priorities and objectives for a joint strategic spatial plan, with proposals for funding and implementing projects, include an integrated transport system.
Indian Urban Futures: Working with the Urban Design Group, the trust has organised two symposia in London, and a third in Tamil Nadu. The trust’s main project is testing out the application of garden city or ‘eco neighbourhood’ principles to the growth of medium sized cities through locating new housing where it will have the least environmental impacts and the most social and economic benefits.
The SCAD eco house: Working in partnership with SCAD (Social Change and Development) and the Nirman Trust, Nicholas Falk has funded the design and construction of the first of a series of low energy houses. These are intended to be affordable to India’s fast growing middle class. The lessons for sustainability are being shared with a range of colleges, including a project with post graduate engineers at the Centre for Sustainable Development in Cambridge University.
Winning a contract from the Greater London Authority enabled URBED to draw lessons from how cities in other countries assemble the land needed to build housing. Other related work on land value capture has been commissioned by the UK 2070 Commission under Lord (Bob) Kerslake., and by other bodies.
A contract from a major Chinese housing developer, following on from visits to exemplary projects in England, reviewed the meaning and application of ‘smart growth’ principles to urban development. A presentation was given in Hangzhou, and the reports draw on case studies of seven cities that are in the forefront of the digital economy.
A contract from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority involved assessing the value of Design Review, the meaning of social cohesion, and the most practical way of assessing the performance of new communities. A refreshed version of this influential charter will be published.
Initial research by David Rudlin and Indian urban designer Shruti Parikh using figure ground plans to explore how cities have grown over time led onto a highly illustrated book published by the RIBA. The book shows how masterplans are rarely implemented as expected. The places we like best follow the principles of natural growth.
A contract from Shelter to advise their Social Housing Commission on international good practice resulted in thirteen illustrated case studies from Bilbao to Singapore and Zurich., and an analysis of published information on social housing in Europe.
The URBED Trust is a not for profit company with charitable aims set up to promote research into the future of urban areas, and to disseminate best practice. Registered England & Wales, company number 01826806.
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