Archive by Author

The Grandhome Charette

The Grandhome Charrette was part of a series of three charrettes around Scotland, exploring innovative placemaking masterplans undertaken in an intensive manner with the involvement of local bodies and community members. The charrettes were led by American New Urbanist Andres Duany and his international team of practitioners, employing their well known diagnostic transect and associated […]

The Dictionary of Urbanism – book review

Whilst academics may reflect on the nature and validity of concepts by analysing their evolution in discourse, planning practitioners possibly reflect less deeply on the terms and concepts we use as daily professional currency. Yet those of us who work across different administrative jurisdictions are often bemused by the subtly different meanings of such basic […]

Planning is mental. Absolutely.

It is all in the mind, as they say. The sooner we acknowledge planning as a dynamic, neural activity the quicker we can devise approaches, skills and behaviours to make us more effective. Planning cannot – and will not – survive as an effective spatial management activity if it is confined to rigid statutory processes […]

Sustainable places …and how not to design them

Creating enduring places is one of the key challenges for those of us charged with delivering communities that will be successful throughout the 21st century and beyond. In this highly mobile and globalised information age, when individuals and companies can choose to locate anywhere, creating a ‘somewhere’ rather than a ‘nowhere’ has become a new […]

My ‘first fifteen’: the values of planning – contributing towards a true professionalism

Those values which have drawn practitioners into the nurturing fields of town or regional planning have varied across time and space, so identifying a set of universal values or principles is well-nigh impossible. Nevertheless here is a crude attempt at my ‘first fifteen’ which fall roughly into two categories – those ‘forwards’ primarily concerning the […]

The Urban Summit – from an RTPI perspective

The significance of the Urban Summit lies in its recognition that those working in the fields of planning, regeneration and urban design are doing something very important. Something valued by society and by government. Part of our contribution to the wider global agenda promoted in Jo’burg, Rio, Kyoto and Istanbul. After more than a couple […]


Making People Friendly Towns: Afterword

This book is undoubtedly a seminal piece whose message is being constantly validated over time. Although partly inspired by Francis’ reaction against the qualities of alienating corporate urbanism which he witnessed emerging during the 1980s, it is the important observations and exhortations about synthesis – or ‘closing the gaps’, as he sometimes called it – […]

BBC Radio 4: You and Yours with George Monbiot

I participated in a Radio 4 listeners call-in radio show, You and Yours with George Monbiot, discussing community experiences of planning.  I did it down the line from the soon to be vacated BBC Scotland studios in Queen Margaret Drive Glasgow, before the move to Pacific Quay. It showed that people care about planning and […]

Kevin Murray and Sheena McDonald

Cities in 2010 – Beyond the Millennium

I was involved in what seemed like a very pivotal interview with Sheena McDonald on the future of cities, at a time when ‘New Labour’ had just arrived with an allegedly much more urban agenda, and indeed a regional one too. What was changing in architecture and place design had already begun to impact upon […]