RIBA Building Futures – Carwood 2035

A month or so ago I was flattered to be asked to write a ‘think-piece’ on the Future of Villages by the RIBA Building Futures team. The Building Futures website aims ‘to promote public and political debate on the future of the built environment’, and past topics have included ‘Tall Buildings’, ‘Play in the City’ and ‘Architectural Education’. It’s great to see rural development receiving similarly weighty consideration. Continue reading

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Professor Ruralise?!

The Royal Forestry Society enjoyed my Forest Village thought-piece, so much so that they asked me to re-write it to run in the July edition of their Quarterly Journal of Forestry. As a keen science buff it’s quite a thrill to be sandwiched in between ‘Chord-Forming Fungi in British Woodlands’ and Continue reading

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Double Plus…

Two rural houses have caught my attention in the last few weeks, both in a rural location, both in their own way engaging their local context and architectural heritage. Continue reading

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A BD Top Tweeter?

It was very flattering to be listed last week as one of the ‘Top Ten Architects to Follow’ in Building Design magazine’s ‘BD Twitter 100’. The magazine uses an automated ranking-device called Peer-Index to list architectural Twitter users according to their connectedness and level of activity. A hefty slice of subjectivity from the magazine’s editorial staff is then added Continue reading

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The Community Right to Build: Signs of Life?

Spooky. In my last post I was saying that there was still a deafening silence on my Community Right to Build Google-Alert, but hours after posting this plopped into my inbox. Planning Magazine reports that there have been four bids to the DCLG/HCA’s £17.5m Community Right to Build seed-fund, though it says the HCA can’t reveal from where and for how much. Continue reading

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A Ruralise ‘Reader’

It’s been a while since my last post, the final installment of my Forest Village epic. The piece was well-received: specifically one international journal has picked up on it and I have done a re-write for publication, hopefully in their next quarterly edition in May. More here when I can. Continue reading

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Forest Village #12: An Epitaph?

So that’s where the story ends, for the time being at least. We had run up against the fact that England is very much still the ‘green and pleasant land’ that we imagine it to be. In the furore around the proposed forest sell-off, and later in the consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework, well organised and vociferous lobbying groups successfully exploited our fears about ‘concreting over of the countryside’. But most of us don’t realise how well-protected our countryside actually is, and how much of our small island it covers. Planning Minister Nick Boles’ recent pronouncements on green-field development have raised this issue afresh. Continue reading

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Forest Village #11: Six of the Best

It’s a snappy title for this section, but in fact the six sites we identified in our quick and crude site-search weren’t all perfect; far from it, in fact. Continue reading

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Forest Village #10: A Crowded Island?

Before spending any serious time (and money) on constructing a financial and management model for a new Forest Village, we wanted to get an idea of the likely availability of suitable land. We had developed the following description of an ideal site: Continue reading

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We Need More…But Not More of the Same

Given the imminent arrival of the Leveson Report, Planning Minister Nick Boles’ foray into the difficult territory that is UK green-field development did well to make Newsnight last night. During most of the day I had been following the opening Twitter-salvos on this one between @CPRE and @ColinWiles, picking up their cudgels where they let them fall, exhausted, after the battle of the NPPF. Continue reading

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