Peter Murray

 

CIRIA, the construction industry research and information association, is holding its third annual debate on the issues surrounding the urban regeneration of our cities on 21 June at the Royal Society of Chemistry. The event will bring together highly regarded senior professionals from the engineering and built environment sector to discuss 21st Century challenges in regenerating our existing cities by balancing economic growth, environmental protection and social inclusion.

Chaired by Peter Murray, speakers include

  • George Ferguson CBE, Past president RIBA and first elected Mayor of Bristol
  • Dr Steffen Lehmann, Professor of Sustainable Architecture, University of Portsmouth
  • Louise Brooke-Smith, Partner and UK Head of Town Planning, Arcadis

For further information or to book a ticket, visit the CIRIA site here.

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Peter Murray

 

The Travellers Club in Pall Mall were generous enough to invite members of the Society for a private tour. Jo East was lucky enough to get a ticket and reports. 

Our host for the day was Club Secretary David Broadhead. Asked to explain his role he denotes himself as “Headmaster of a Public School for Adults”. Having been in post 10 years he brings with him as a former hotelier all the nous and knowhow to both look after this Grade 1 listed building and its 1300 members.

Assembling in the Outer Morning Room, one of the five major rooms we were to see on our visit, David explained the club’s history: Founded in 1819 after the Napoleonic Wars the club was set up as a meeting place for anyone who ventured 500 miles from Trafalgar Square. Undertaking what we would now know today as “networking” tales would be exchanged, the latest maps pored over and anecdotes shared and bested. Obviously today to travel 500 miles is considerably easier than at its founding so the rules have been changed. Now members must have travelled to four countries! This isn’t the end of the process however: There is a waiting list, members can only be proposed, seconded, gain five additional signatures of support and then dine with the Club’s membership committee before being accepted. Although the Foreign Secretary of the time is offered honorary membership – of which the present incumbent has taken full use.

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Peter Murray

‘Guerilla Geographer’ Daniel Raven-Ellison spoke to the Society in the meeting rooms at Allies + Morrison about his vision to turn London into a ‘National Park City’. Ben Taylor of Hawkins Brown went along to listen.

Dan Raven-Ellison is on a mission. Donning an EEG headset, the self-professed ‘guerrilla geographer’ has walked each of the UK’s national parks and many of its cities – including all 32 London boroughs – measuring the emotional affect of each landscape. Crossing fields, parks, motorways, high streets and wildernesses, his brain activity was recorded every step of the way. The conclusion of this techno-psycho-geographical traverse? Urban greenery can be just as stimulating a landscape as a national park – we just don’t realise it.

Opening with the now well-used primer that in 2007 humanity became a majority urban species, the talk began with a barrage of statistics charting the cost of our growing disconnection from the natural world – and its expensive. In lockstep with our increasing urbanity is our torpidity: obesity costs us £900m a year and one in five of the capital’s children are overweight. Meanwhile, mental health conditions cost London £26bn a year. Both of these issues are exacerbated by limited access to outdoor activity (one child in seven hasn’t visited green space of any quality in over a year, we’re told) and could be greatly improved if Londoners had more frequent access to higher-quality outdoor space. We walk our dogs, Dan jabs, because if we don’t they get fat, unhappy and chew up the sofa; why think children should be any different?

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Peter Murray

 

A free two day workshop organised by architecture practice what if: projects, London Metropolitan University’s Cass Cities programme and Cass Architecture Studio 8, local business association Vital OKR, community group Peckham Weeklies, Livesey Exchange workshop, Treasure House and Southwark Council.

A talking, drawing, making + thinking workshop with residents, businesses, urban designers, and anyone keen on a good future for the Old Kent Road.

Between Peckham Park Road and Burgess Park developers are proposing big scale change, but have forgotten to ask many people for their ideas. This workshop is the start of a discussion that can influence the future. It’s an experiment in collaboration. We don’t know where it will go! Please come and join in, for as much or as little time as you can.

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Peter Murray

 

The latest of the Society’s Saturday walks saw Blue Badge Guide Angela Morgan take 25 members to see the delights of Camberwell. Hannah Murphy reports (and took these photographs).

The tour began in Camberwell Green, a spacious common in the heart of Camberwell. Angela, our Blue Badge tour guide, explained that ‘Camber’ means crooked and that Camberwell literally meant ‘Crooked Well’. Historically Camberwell Green and St Giles Church, a Victorian gothic church on the hill, formed the heart of a village surrounded by farms and market gardens.

We ventured up Denmark Hill, noting the ceramic Camberwell Beauty above a shopfront. The Camberwell Beauty, also known as Morning Glory, is a maroon butterfly with blue spots and a yellow petticoat and was given its name after it was first sighted in Britain in 1748 near Camberwell.

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