From master planning blueprints to 21st century adaptive frameworks
Adjunct Professor, Syracuse University in London
Founding Editor, Urbanista
While spatial masterplans for cities historically set their physical structure and form, today’s masterplanners attempt to bring about the physical, social and economic revival of urban centres or districts on a more holistic basis. Priorities now include social equality of citizens, diversifying land uses, renewing coastal areas, reinventing transport infrastructure and achieving ecologically resilient community centers. Adaptive planning has replaced the rigid blueprint with multidisciplinary, participatory, retrofitting strategies to incrementally incubate new processes and land uses. Today’s complexities require a more relational design sensibility not afraid to challenge narrow knowledge silos, and a keen sense of where systems of governance are also open to adaptation.
The award-winning UK author, critic and curator Lucy Bullivant reflects on the various principles underlying some of the more promising contemporary masterplans and frameworks in process for urban districts globally, and on the wider roles being played by urban designers in the face of changing social, economic and cultural realities. The lecture draws on her ongoing research into this topic and her book Masterplanning Futures, published by Routledge in 2012, which won Book of the Year at the Urban Design Awards in the UK, 2014.