chapter  1
14 Pages

Introduction

My interest in the concept of facadism has its roots in the historic city of Bristol, where I worked as an urban planner during the 1970s and 1980s. The early part of this period brought drastic changes to the inner city, which saddened me. It was a time of mass destruction of areas of characteristic inner city townscape as a result of rampant commercialism, which in turn spawned a grotesque array of poor-quality modernist buildings, alien townscapes and spaces devoid of meaning, beauty or interest. Thankfully, the orgy of destruction came to a shuddering halt as the result of a mid1970s property crash, which gave the historic built environment a reprieve and allowed time for people to take stock of what had happened to the centre of Bristol. Many felt a sense of outrage, and popular opinion provided a fertile land for the growth of new ideas about urban change. Suddenly, the urban conservation movement, which had been flexing its muscles during the 1960s, found a platform on which to base an effective and meaningful influence over the process of urban change.