Narratives have played their part in the construction of our cities since antiquity.

Through the medium of built form, they reflect back to urban populations the images

of divinely sanctioned settlements, of well-ordered urban societies, of the wealth

that came from imperial exploitation. Yet today pluralistic democratic societies present

no confident image (least of all confidence in political systems) and the creation

and manipulation of urban images are left to commercial interests, for marketing,

services, or the ambiance of the city itself. Against this background of market-led

regeneration, where every city’s unique selling point seems strangely similar to every

other’s, the narrative reconceptualization of the city provides the political route

of engagement between people and their place, between the environment and its