Private ambitions: what more can universities do to ensure their buildings contribute to cities?

The best opportunities for architects to express their skills and challenge the possibilities of built form are provided today not by the Church or the State – but by universities. Unlike cathedrals, museums or railway stations, university buildings tend to be private, shielding both brilliant ideas and brilliant architecture from a wider public. Whilst it’s…

Fragile Ideas III: the medium-sized city and building for beyond average

Just because you are in the middle, you don’t have to be average. This is the conclusion I drew after a handful of days spent at the Urban Universities conference hosted by The Collaborative Centre for the Built Environment at the University of Northampton this July. The conference focused on the partnerships being established between universities…

Smart but unfair? Economic divides in knowledge cities seem sharper than elsewhere

Data on income inequalities in American cities released last month by the Brookings Institute makes uncomfortable reading for those of us who trumpet the emergence of “knowledge cities” as a sustainable solution for our future prosperity. The Brookings Institute gathered data on income distributions from America’s largest 50 cities, comparing the income of those on…