People, Places and Processes
An inspiring, open-minded and healthy urban environment thrives on irrational human behaviour – both
in time and space. An open-minded city connects people, places and processes.
As a market place for the exchange of goods and ideas and as an environment that is inspired by the
contradictions and “confl icts” within the community, towns and cities all over the world have always been
the seedbed for cultural development. The urban structures within a city, planned or established as a
jigsaw of events and time, refl ect their purpose, physically and emotionally. Despite the complexity of
the execution, the rules for building towns and cities were, and still are, only a few:
• Creation of a beautiful framework for our daily life.
• Creation of sensitive and recognisable boundaries between what belongs to the individual and
what is in common ownership.
• Creation of a clear way of movement.
• Creation of physical organisations for work, trade, living, landscape and beauty.
As such, the open-minded principles of any townscape are simple, recognisable, familiar and deeply human.
– they are a natural part of our system. The human soul has always, now and in the past, related and responded to good community: an environment expressed by a certain minimum density, an intensity of use through a mixture of functions and population diversity.
Familiarities, surprises and identity
The well-functioning and open-minded townscape is full of contradictions; it is built up of large-scale civic
gestures but also contains small and spontaneous spatial surprises.
These opposites – the grand scale, and the intimate scale, – are a fundamental aspect of our approach to the regeneration, in other words, this is about familiarities and surprises.
A strong identity in a new development will fail if the bonds to its surroundings are loose or non-existent. A
new development within a town or city will only function successfully if the old and the new collaborate in
providing a successful whole. Central to this approach is the creation of an environment that is “Urban”,
in the widest sense. A successful urban environment establishes a relationship between buildings and
spaces that enables the provision and definition of the public realm – be it parkland, streets or squares.
The dimensions, scale and form of these spaces, as well as their inter-relationships, must provide a variation and richness in form that is both stimulating and that promotes a sense of ownership amongst
the users. The creation of enclosure, intimacy and identity forms the basis of an informal control,
without which a public area becomes a no man’s land and thus falls outside an individual’s sense of
Respect, time and the new
Sustainability in town planning is about long term respect for changing ways of living, respect for basic
human needs and for the integration of new elements into an established context. The creation of a new
community must reflect and cater for changes over short and long periods of time. It needs to be precise
as to the goals and aspirations on one hand, to retain flexibility and to stay open-minded on the other. In
a pragmatic sense: a strong vision, flexible enough to encourage and respect changes over time.
Cultural, commercial and public functions are integral aspects of urban life. Their distribution and their relationship with public spaces has significance not only for their own success, but also in terms of their potential contribution to the quality of urban life the village or town offers.