The URBED has always sought to promote a debate about cities and the issues that affect them. Our aim is to get beyond the motherhood and apple pie platitudes about things like community engagement and sustainability by delving into the complexities and contradictions that we come up against in our day to day work. This section of the site will be therefore be a portal for a wide range of writing, discussion and events promoted both directly by the Trust and by our friends and associated organisations.


Oxfordshire Futures

The future of the city of Oxford cannot be seperated from that of the wider surrounding area from where thousands of people travel in daily to work, shop and enjoy the city’s many cultural attractions. While Oxford’s nationally important knowledge-based economy grows, space to house the people who work in and support it is shrinking. Oxford is part of the Central oxfordshire city-region, and planning for development must be on this basis. This is the theme of Oxfordshire Futures.


4×4 Manchester

4×4 Manchester is a series of talks centered around a range of varying topics each year. 4 speakers speak for 15 minutes each on their topic, after which the audience is invited to enagage in a lively debate. 2016 saw ‘The Big Questions’ asked, with events looking at the urban environment through the lens of Money, Love, War, and Freedom, as we took a soul searching look at the city.


In the Autumn of 2016, URBED and the online news agency The Samosa put on a free screening of the play Dara in Manchester city centre. The politically charged historical play of the conflict between the 17th century Moghul royal brothers was met with a vibrant discussion between the audience and the panel, and raised topics stretching from the 17th century context of the play all the way up present day society, religion, and politics.


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Wasn’t Built in a Day 

As part of the 12-12-12 project, URBED contributes their piece; Wasn’t Built in a Day. This idea sought to reproduce the city of Manchester using only plasticine as well as the labour of Manchester Architecture students and their family and friends, with the aim of revealing the shape of Manchester today, but also the utopic shape of the future as envisioned by those living within it’s walls.

The Offenbach block

Given the opportunity to house the Architectural Summer Rhein-Main 2015 pavillion in the centre of Frankfurt for a week, URBED pursues once again their love for plasticine. This time, with the aid of Frankfurtians and Offenbachers, we reproduce both cities with the aim of highlighting those areas most stimulating in more stimulating colours, with some fascinating results and a brilliant timelapse video resulting.


Climax City

In this blog David Rudlin elucidates on his conceptions of the city, specifically, the idea of a ‘climax city’ – that being the theoretical end point of a cities growth. Rotating around this motif he tackles a number of far ranging topics, and in the process elaborates on his perspectives of the urban world the majority of us find ourselves surrounded by.

Postcards From the Future

Here, Nicholas Falk embarks upon the task of scouring his experiences of the urban environments from around the world, for lessons on how best to build our cities. This journey takes him from Pittsburgh to Leipzig, to as far flung as Kochi in Southern India, and is met along the way by local experts in discussions on the strengths, weaknesses, and nuances of each place he visits.

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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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