chapter  1
27 Pages

Design Governance (Why, What, and How—in Theory)

Such critiques are broad indeed. They apply to the majority of our planned post-war suburbs and contemporary urban extensions; to most peripheral office, retail, and leisure parks; to our inner-urban estates; to peri-urban areas in general, including the large swathes of land along our urban arterial corridors and around our ring roads; and to new settlements (where they exist) in their entirety; to almost anywhere a coherent and unifying human-centred urban structure has been allowed to break down or where one never existed in the first place. These sorts of environments are what some have termed ‘placeless’, and they are certainly global: they are the parts of cities to which tourists never venture (at least not on purpose); are unremarkable, incoherent, and often unloved; and typically require inhabitants to adopt carbon-intensive lifestyles simply to get around. We all know such environments and likely as not will live or work in one. Increasingly they have become the urban norm rather than the exception across much of the world, and in the not too distant past even threatened to overwhelm and replace many of the historic centres we now so jealously guard.