Here & Now 5: Risk

Alastair Blyth AoU, Editor:

In this issue of Here & Now Nicholas Falk reads through a recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Metropolitann Century: how to assess great cities, and asks whether when we look at cities and other places do we really know how well they meet the needs of different people, how well they are connected? (see page 7) Income inequalities, affordability of housing, commuting times affect most people’s sense of well-being and that we should include such measures in the Academy assessments of places. Indeed it will be interesting in the future to see how places like Manchester fair under these measures once the new mayor is in place.

Elsewhere in this issue Shane Mitchell looks at digital connectivity and how digital infrastructures can enable new forms of collaboration and participation beyond large cities (see page 10). While digital urbanism enables civic engagement in different ways, community participation is the theme taken up by Katy Hawkins who looks at the increasingly popular process of participatory budgeting – giving the people a direct say in what their money is spent on (see page 20). Participation takes many forms from the role played by Tulane University in rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (see page 23) to community self-build projects (see page 13). In our new In Focus section we look at how ‘Risk’ impacts on urbanism in different ways, from creating safe places to long-term economic resilience. As we continue to develop Here & Now we thank all of our contributors for taking the time to give us the benefit of their valuable wisdom, and making this such a vibrant issue.



1. Welcome
2. Editorial
3. The Academy in Action

7. Size still matters: how to assess great cities
Nicholas Falk AoU reviews a recent OECD report on urbanisation

10. Digital clusters beyond cities
Shane Mitchell AoU explores new forms of participation beyond large cities

13. Community-led urbanism
Raquel Ajates Gonzalez and Sam Brown look at the projects redefining risk and return in community-led urbanism

16. Plot-based urbanism: a roadmap to masterplanning for change
Ombretta Romice and Sergio Porter AoU analyse the role of plot-based urbanism in place-making

20. Participatory budgeting: community X Factor or civic pedagogy?
Giving the community a direct voice in budget decisions is a growing part of democratic life. Katy Hawkins finds out how this works

23. Rebuilding New Orleans
Camilla Ween AoU explores how collaboration with Tulane University helped a city devastated by floods rebuild itself

28. Shared streets: accidents by design
James Gross AoU speaks to Ben Hamilton-Baillie AoU about making our streets safer

31. Rethinking Rotterdam
Mattijs van Ruijven AoU, head urban planner for City Development Rotterdam, explains the city’s pragmatic approach to future risks

34. Run the risk
Simon Hicks makes the case for breaking away from our low risk ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to urban design

37. Feeling safe
David Rudlin AoU looks at the role of defensive yet welcoming design in creating safer neighbourhoods

40. In conversation with… Stephen Willacy AoU
David Porter AoU talks with the city architect of Aarhus about the Danish approach to trust

43. Malmö: taking a bet on innovation
Nicola Bacon AoU and Bjarne Stenquist visit Malmö to find out how innovation has boosted place-making

46. Space for great places!
A gallery of ideas and reflections on great places

52. My own view is…
Urbanism is not planning, but the pathway to urbanity, say Brian Evans AoU

53. My own view is…
The Parliament Hinge, by Paul Finch OBE

54. Urban idiocy
Brilliant but flawed ideas for the city

55. AoU programmes
What we do and how to get involved

56. Academicians and Young Urbanists
Who we are

Back cover…And a final thought…
David Porter’s third instalment of learning to learn from place

For more information on the Academy Journal, Here and Now, please contact Stephen Gallagher on +44 (0) 20 7251 8777 or email

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