The Academy Spring Debate 2016: Stewardship


27 April 2016. Grosvenor. London.

“One of the characteristics common of the great places the Academy celebrates through its annual Urbanism Awards is stewardship. Somewhere in the governance and leadership of a place, at whatever scale, is a commitment to investing in, and sustaining, its qualities over the long term.

This commitment may come; from community groups from elected representatives, from landlords, from business interests or from special interest groups. We have examples of all of these among our awards finalists.

This year’s Spring Debate aims to determine and describe the distinguishing features of the stewardship of different groups, and to explore which is more important and valuable, and in what circumstances. The benefit of structuring our deliberation as a debate is that we test the idea through argument; pushing ideas to their limit, stimulating new ideas, and enjoying the sport.

The Spring Debate is hosted this year by our recently-confirmed Principal Sponsor, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland. Grosvenor’s world-class reputation as a landlord and developer that builds to hold makes them an ideal proposer for our motion:

This House believes that the stewardship of an enlightened and long term landlord is more likely to secure and sustain great places than the collective stewardship of similarly enlightened individual owners.

The counter-position will be led by Chris Crook, former Director of Countryside Homes, with many years’ experience in creating places in which individual owners will want to take a stake.

We may all agree that an enlightened long-term perspective is a pre-requisite of successful places, but where might it best reside? Come and join the debate, raise your standard and be prepared to change your mind. Whether we come to a firm conclusion is not really the point – the cut and thrust of the argument, and the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and the hospitality of our hosts are sufficient to make it a great evening.

I look forward to sharing it with you!”

Steven Bee, AoU


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