Agenda for The Future of Urbanism

The Academy of Urbanism in collaboration with Barton Willmore have prepared an Agenda For The Future of Urbanism – a distillation of the key themes to emerge from our London Congress in June 2016. The document will be used to stimulate further discourse on the subject and identifies the three key areas which are to be the focus for the Academy in its next ten years.


2. Foreword

5. Fixing What We Have
Exploring How We Can Reform our Existing Towns and Cities

7. In Focus: Integrating The Green and The Blue
Herbert Dreiseitl, Director of Ramboll’s Liveable Cities Lab

9. Planning For The Future
Understanding How We Apply The Principles of Urbanism In New Development

11. In Focus: The Innovation System
Lisa Addiscott & Steve Robbins, Barton Willmore

13. Making It Happen
Focusing On How We Bring About Change

15. In Focus: Local Interest Vs. Global Capital
Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner, City of Toronto


Over its first 10 years The Academy of Urbanism has explored and celebrated over 150 great places across the UK and Ireland and, in our great cities category, the whole of Europe. These successful urban places illustrate our collective capability in creating great urbanism.

Many of the lessons we have learned are universally applicable, but our examples tend to be exceptional. Unfortunately most urban areas are still mediocre to poor. The Academy now appreciates that celebrating great places is not sufficient to secure the application of good urbanism more widely. The trickle-down effect of publicising the success of great places is not sufficient – we have to understand how all places can improve.

The problem is not that we disagree about what makes a great place. Most people, and all urbanists, would agree that the places shortlisted by the Academy are indeed great places. Some might argue that it is no longer possible to recreate the mature urban environments that tend to be nominated by the Academy, but this ignores the fact that a significant number of nominations are either new places or newly regenerated places. The reality is that we consistently celebrate one type of place and yet in our personal and professional lives we put up with, allow or even design very different places.

So looking forward, three areas in which we believe should be the focus for The Academy of Urbanism in its next ten years:

  1. Fixing what we have: Exploring how we can reform our existing towns and cities.
  2. Planning for the future: Understanding how we apply the principles of urbanism in new development.
  3. Making it happen: Focusing on how we bring about change.

David Rudlin AoU
The Academy of Urbanism

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