Urbanism in Focus, 12 October 2022

Event report

Urbanism in Focus was a one day exploratory event organised by Leicester Urban Observatory for LCB Depot’s Design Season. Academics and professionals came together to share ideas about Urbanism with different communities in Leicester. Four sessions were organised as follows:

9:00–11:00: Looking to learn about Leicester;

12:00–14:00: Working Lunch: Introducing food’s urban graphic heritage;

15:00–17:00: Urban research across the region;

18:00–20:00: Debate and discussion with professional societies.

9:00–11:00: Looking to learn about Leicester—Moat Community College. Closed session, led by Robert Harland and Justin Webber

The day began with a session for 40 pupils in year nine and year ten (13–15 year olds) studying Geography at Moat Community College in the inner city of Leicester. The session was introduced by Head of Geography, David Hill, and comprised a short presentation by Robert Harland (Loughborough University) and Justin Webber (Leicester City Council) that introduced Urbanism. This was followed by a quiz that encouraged pupils to identify landmarks in major world cities as well as local urban details in Leicester.

Global city images (left) and local details from Leicester (right). Picture quiz for pupils at Moat Community College, Leicester.(Photography: Robert Harland, various dates)

12:00–14:00: Working Lunch: Introducing food’s urban graphic heritage. Public session, led by Robert Harland

This second session invited participants to bring and eat lunch that held meaning for them and reflected their heritage, family, and lived experience. This could include places to eat or food from other countries. After a short introductory presentation, discussion with Architecture students from De Montfort University explored ways migrant communities represent themselves on high street fascia panels through graphic images that reflect their cultural identity.

Four Architecture students inquisitive about food’s urban graphic heritage

15:00–17:00: Urban research across the region. Public session, led by Jamileh Manoochehri and Stafano De Sabbata

This session was about academic research exchange across the region. Jamileh Manoochehri (De Montfort University) introduced the session and showed her research into the mapping of building facades on Granby Street. Frank Breheny (also De Montfort University) then introduced the work of final year Architecture students, many undertaking substantial projects in Leicester. Stefano De Sabbata (University of Leicester) shared research for everyday digital geographies of Leicester and Robert Harland (Loughborough University) introduced Urbanism research in graphic heritage, global and world cities, and the Delos network. Doctoral Researcher Yusra Ali (De Montford University) shared her research about The Public High Street, and Angelina Pan (Loughborough University) explained the concept of graphic landscaping.

Doctoral Researchers networking and presenting their studies

18:00–20:00: Urbanism in Focus: A public debate between built environment specialists on how we live together and interact in and around Cities – Public session, led by Grant Butterworth

This evening session concluded the day with a discussion between ‘urban practitioners’ and an audience of 20 people. Issues for debate included:

—Definitions of Urbanism;

—History of urban settlement and indigenous nomadic culture;

—Notions of what makes a place more or less urban;

—Audience members volunteered examples of good urban places (e.g. Edinburgh, Letchfield);

—The proliferation of sustainable urban extensions;

—Green field development;

—Branding of new housing estates.

Grant Butterworth chairs discussion between three urban practitioners

Three invited speakers biographies

Michael Hopkins is a Principal Planner in the Local Plans Team at Charnwood Borough Council.  Before working in local government he was a researcher in urban morphology at Birmingham University. He will provide a perspective on Urbanism reflecting on the relationship between Leicester, Leicestershire and Charnwood. He is interested in Urbanism as an emergent phenomenon linked to the parts and wholes that make up built form (bricks – walls – dwellings – street/neighbourhood – settlement) and the importance of difference and connections in its creation. He will explore  relationship of Leicester as the central city with Loughborough and the Soar Valley villages and how urban or not they are in terms of form and function.

Dave Singleton was originally a geographer and surveyor from the East Midlands. He stopped making maps and moved into landscape architecture some thirty years ago.  Latterly he has dabbled in urban design.  And even urbanism.  He set up DSA Environment + Design in Nottingham 2005.  DSA is currently working on a number of public realm projects including in Sheffield, Rotherham, Grimsby and a redesign of Maid Marian Way in Nottingham as well as several large housing schemes and healthcare settings.   Dave will introduce a perspective on Urbanism from the Landscape architect’s point of view. Dave teaches at Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham.  He is an author of Building for a Healthy Life and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.   His interest centres on how people engage with place, in particular the role of blue-green infrastructure in making places, and what this might mean for the health of people, creatures and the natural environment upon which these depend.  Dave considers Urbanism to be the study of people’s interaction with an urban (that’s to say in contrast to rural) environment.

Nils Feldmann set up Feldmann Architects after twenty years of working as a registered architect in London, Hamburg and Nottingham. Nils is currently the co-chair of the RIBA East Midlands region and a co-chair of the Design Review Panel for Design:Midlands. His portfolio includes architecture, urban design and interiors with an emphasis on offices and housing for commercial and private clients.

Acknowledgements: Urbanism in Focus happened through close collaboration and support from James Burkmar, LCB Depot Creative Workspace Manager. LCB Depot is run by Leicester City Council, City Development & Neighbourhoods, and Tourism, Culture & Investment.

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2022 Love Architecture Programme Confirmed

Our Friends at the Leicestershire and Rutland Society of Architects have confirmed this year’s programme of events here on Event Brite: http://lovearchitecture.eventbrite.co.uk

Submission deadline Friday 7th October 2022 –   Winner to be announced on LOVE ARCHITECTURE Festival Award Evening 20th October 2021T&Cs apply refer to OneDrive link below for submission details and further information     https://linktr.ee/lrsaarchitects  Architectural Photography Competition       Colour in the Built Environment
4th October 2021 10am   Winner to be announced on LOVE ARCHITECTURE Festival Award Evening 20th October 2022  LOVE ARCHITECTURE : President’s Prize launch   One day design competition opens to students of both Leicester School of Architecture and Loughborough School of Architecture
6th October 2022 LCB Depothttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-festival-pecha-kucha-2022-tickets-417823249587  LOVE ARCHITECTURE: Pecha Kucha (Colour and the Built Environment) Part of the Love Architecture Festival. Powered by Pecha Kucha. Bringing together creative professionals across Leicestershire and Rutland to discuss their interpretation around the subject of ‘Colour’ (speakers TBC). This is a laid-back and entertaining take on presenting. Each presentation includes 20 slides, each displayed for only 20 seconds before automatically switching to the next slide – whether the presenter is prepared or not! Be ready for an entertaining and informative series of presentations from some of Leicester’s best creatives, in the home of creative business in Leicester. Followed by refreshments and an opportunity to network and possibly meet some of our brave speakers!
8th October 2022 Outside LCB Depothttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-festival-guided-walk-of-leicester-cultural-quarter-tickets-417828234497LOVE ARCHITECTURE: A Guided Walk of Leicester Cultural Quarter Leicester has undergone significant culture-led regeneration with areas transforming into new, vibrant and exciting places. Discover more about Leicester’s Cultural Quarter by joining an informative, architect-led guided walk covering the history and recent transformation of the area from hosiery and boot making to today’s creative industries. Architect Nils Feldmann, on behalf of the Leicestershire and Rutland Society of Architects, will expertly guide visitors around the Cultural Quarter. The walk will include the LCB Depot, Curve, Maker’s Yard and the Phoenix. Not to be missed! Meet in the Lightbox in our local architecture exhibition at the LCB Depot then join us for a tour of the cultural quarter.
8th October 2021 LCB DepotLOVE ARCHITECTURE / Cultural Quarter Early : Family Event LEGO and Den Building  
11th October 2021 LCB Depothttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-evening-lecture-tickets-420236216837  LOVE ARCHITECTURE Lecture – An evening with Evans Vettori   The talk will focus on how Evans Vettori use colour to relate to context, in a variety of urban and rural settings. Much of this colour is driven by the careful selection of natural, local materials.   The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.
 14th October 2022 LCB Depothttps://www.phoenix.org.uk/programme/push-lcb-depot/  Push @ LCB Depot A documentary about the social housing crisis
15th October 2022https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-guided-walk-of-leicester-cathedral-quarter-tickets-420253237747LOVE ARCHITECTURE: A Guided Walk of Leicester Cathedral Quarter Having retraced a series of plaques in the city centre, marked for the 1984 LRSA Trail, which had until that point been a complete mystery to us! Some serious investigation later and we have uncovered a map of the 1984 trail highlighting the most important public spaces and vistas in the city. Local architects David Hickman and Adam Smith will take the lead of this tour, focusing on areas, buildings and views at the established LRSA Trail stations around the Cathedral Quarter. Join our architects and see this part of the city in a whole new light!  
19th October 2021 Parcel Yard, Leicesterhttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-festival-planning-series-2022-tickets-417806700087  LOVE ARCHITECTURE : Housing: Quantity, Quality, Cost As a society we seem to have such major problems with one of our basics of living, shelter. This seminar, in a pub, will feature three short presentations by leading experts focusing on the three key themes in the title followed by a discussion; most of which will be at the bar. Snappy Informative and light, as befits a session after work. Panel Peter Wilkinson – Landmark Planning Grant Butterworth – Leicester City Council Clare Bowman – RCZM Architects Peter Brown – SGP Architects This event is part of LOVE ARCHITECTURE festival 2022 in partnership with LCB Depot’s Design Season 2022; hosted by Leicestershire and Rutland Society of Architects in association with RIBA.
20th October 2021 LCB Depothttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-award-evening-tickets-420287259507LOVE ARCHITECTURE Award Evening An evening of celebrations! Winners of the LOVE ARCHITECTURE photography competition and the President’s Prize (students 1-day design competition) will be announced. Join the architects and celebrate with the award winners.
22nd October 2021 Top of New Walk / Victoria Park Car Parkhttps://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-a-guided-walk-tickets-420310850067LOVE ARCHITECTURE: A Guided Walk of New Walk Justin Webber, Leicester City Council Senior Building Conservation Officer takes you on a tour around the picturesque pedestrian promenade of New Walk in Leicester.

Urbanism in focus: how we live together and Interact in Cities: Speaker Update

A Series of discussions promoted by Leicester Urban Observatory as part of Design for Life /Design Season 2022

Wednesday 12 October 2022

LCB Depot, LCB Depot, 31 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1RE

9:00–11:00 · Looking to learn about Leicester – Closed session for Colleges, led by Robert Harland (Loughborough University)  & Justin Webber (Leicester City Council)


12:00–14:00 · Introducing food’s urban graphic heritage – Public session, led by Robert Harland (Loughborough University).

Check out “URBANISM IN FOCUS: Working lunch: Introducing food’s urban graphic heritage” on Eventbrite!

Date: Wed, Oct 12 • 12:00 BST

Location: 31 Rutland Street, Leicester, LE1 1RE


15:00–16:00 · Informal networking for PhD students undertaking research on urban issues in the LCB Depot cafe.

16:00–17:00 · Urban research across the region –Interactive discussion with contributions from Academics from De Montfort, Leicester and Loughborough Universities (Public session) 

Check out “URBANISM IN FOCUS: Urban research across the region – Public session.” on Eventbrite!

Date: Wed, Oct 12 • 15:00 BST

Location: 31 Rutland Street, Leicester, LE1 1RE

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/urbanism-in-focus-urban-research-across-the-region-public-session-tickets-424111377547?aff=eand

18:00–20:00 · Urbanism in Focus: A public debate between built environment specialists on how we live together and interact in and around Cities (Public Session- booking required via Urbanism in Focus- How we live together and Interact in Cities Tickets, Wed 12 Oct 2022 at 18:00 | Eventbrite)

A Debate and Discussion with ‘urban practitioners’  –led by Grant Butterworth, Head of Planning Leicester City Council.

Speakers include:

Michael Hopkins is a Principal Planner in the Local Plans Team at Charnwood Borough Council.  Before working in local government he was a researcher in urban morphology at Birmingham University. He will provide a perspective on Urbanism reflecting on the relationship between Leicester, Leicestershire and Charnwood. He is interested in Urbanism as an emergent phenomenon linked to the parts and wholes that make up built form (bricks – walls – dwellings – street/neighbourhood – settlement) and the importance of difference and connections in its creation. He will explore  relationship of Leicester as the central city with Loughborough and the Soar Valley villages and how urban or not they are in terms of form and function.

Dave Singleton was originally a geographer and surveyor from the East Midlands. He stopped making maps and moved into landscape architecture some thirty years ago.  Latterly he has dabbled in urban design.  And even urbanism.  He set up DSA Environment + Design in Nottingham 2005.  DSA is currently working on a number of public realm projects including in Sheffield, Rotherham, Grimsby and a redesign of Maid Marian Way in Nottingham as well as several large housing schemes and healthcare settings.   Dave will introduce a perspective on Urbanism from the Landscape architect’s point of view. Dave teaches at Nottingham Trent University and University of Nottingham.  He is an author of Building for a Healthy Life and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.   His interest centres on how people engage with place, in particular the role of blue-green infrastructure in making places, and what this might mean for the health of people, creatures and the natural environment upon which these depend.  Dave considers Urbanism to be the study of people’s interaction with an urban (that’s to say in contrast to rural) environment.

Nils Feldmann set up Feldmann Architects after twenty years of working as a registered architect in London, Hamburg and Nottingham

Nils is currently the co-chair of the RIBA East Midlands region and a co-chair of the Design Review Panel for Design:Midlands.

His portfolio includes architecture, urban design and interiors with an emphasis on offices and housing for commercial and private clients.

Tickets available at Eventbrite here: Urbanism in Focus- How we live together and Interact in Cities Tickets, Wed 12 Oct 2022 at 18:00 | Eventbrite

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Seeing Leicester in a different light

The incredible Light Up Leicester festival attracted hoards of people on Saturday night. The festival is a city-wide illuminated event displaying impressive, large-scale illuminated immersive artworks lighting up the streets from 3–6 March 2022. I made an impromptu visit with friends to see what the fuss was about. What an incredibly fun experience the organisers managed to arrange.

Not only did we see a fantastic array of artworks, but also several parts of Leicester city centre as the various light sculpture locations took us on a wayfinding journey around the city, taking in some of the best the city has to offer architecturally. Here’s a selection of some of the fantastic illuminations on display that I photographed.

It was incredible how those in attendance moved around the city so freely; a testimony to the great urban design work undertaken over the last decade that has transformed the place.

At one point I found myself staring at the floor, preoccupied with the quality of hard landscaping! There were lots of families, plenty of shops open, and places to eat and drink. It felt so safe and welcoming.

We all saw Leicester in a different light.

Light Up Leicester is delivered by Leicester City Council, ArtReach and BID Leicester. It has been made possible thanks to the support of Arts Council England.

To see the full programme and how you can get involved head over to www.lightupleicester.com.

Instagram: @Lightupleicester

Twitter: @Lightupleics

Facebook: @lightupleicester

Heritage for Global Challenges: publication and free conference links

If you are interested in the role of heritage in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, you might find this report of interest.

Furthermore, note this free conference on Heritage and our Sustainable Futures, organised by the UK Commission for UNESCO, this coming week.

https://www.nomadit.co.uk/heritage-and-our-sustainable-future/index

Leicester Urban Observatory will be represented in the ‘Inclusive Development for Sustainable Cities’ strand on Friday 26 February between 4:00–6:00pm. See abstract below. Hope you can join us.

INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE CITIES 
Friday 26th February 2021 | 16:00 – 18:00 (GMT) 

Session Description 

It is estimated that by 2050 two-thirds of all humanity will be living in cities. We are living through a time when rapid processes of urbanisation, migration, and urban development have caused significant physical, economic, environmental and social transformations. These transformations challenge the achievement of equality and social justice in urban environments, as marginalised, displaced and other vulnerable groups suffer disproportionately from the consequences. Contemporary changes also threaten the preservation of the urban heritage, highlighting the need to find and implement sustainable conservation, management, and development strategies acceptable to a variety of stakeholders.   

In this session we explore how to rethink and transform current ways of urban heritage interpretation, conservation, management and representation in more creative, integrated, inclusive, and participatory ways. Who controls, conceives, constructs, and communicates the meanings of heritage in urban settings? How are the plurality of heritage interests represented in multicultural environments? What challenges does this present for local decision-makers? What kind of research and practical actions are needed now to maximise the ways heritage can contribute to achieve SDG 11?

See other Praxis publications here:

Design Now – what you need to know

Last month a national RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) event on the design dimension of planning was chaired by Justin Webber (RTPI Urban Design Network Chair), who is one of the Leicester Urban Observatory steering group members.

The event featured wide ranging content on current developments in policy and guidance from across the UK, with a mixture of short talks and Q&A sessions. Speakers included:

  • Joanna Averley, MHCLG Chief Planner for England;
  • Professor Matthew Carmona, Head of Place Alliance;
  • Dr Victoria Thomson, Head of National Strategy at Historic England;
  • Mike Leonard, Head of Building Alliance.

From the East Midlands, Dave Singleton provided a focus on ‘Building for a Healthy Life’ and broader insights from the world of landscape architecture. Otherwise, comparative content was provided from speakers representing Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, alongside insights on planning reform, building performance, design codes and recent academic research in England. The recording is now available on YouTube here .

Blue is the colour, football is the game

Are you a blue or a red?” That was the question the bus driver asked as I waited to step off the bus to watch Liverpool versus Everton. I could not have scripted it! Your football colour is important in Liverpool, where personal and collective identities are forged in an allegiance to either the “blues” or the “reds.” In Leicester there is only one answer to this question, and it’s not red. Blue is the colour of Leicester City Football Club, and for many, the colour of Leicester.

At Loughborough University we have been exploring the importance of colour in place identity in response to the question: How does colour contribute to constructing place identity in urban environments? The King Power Stadium, home of Leicester City Football Club, is one of four case studies highlighted in the research, alongside Belgrave Road, Narborough Road, and Highcross.

You will not have the slightest interest in my answer to the question, but it wasn’t blue. What would your answer be? And why? Some answers to these questions will be found in the research. Follow the links below to find out more.

Colour in urban places: A case study of Leicester City Football Club blue (journal article)

Colour in Urban Places: A Case Study of Leicester City Football Club Blue testimonials (research interviews)

Colour as Place Identity: A Case Study of Leicester (dissertation)

If you want to know more about how graphic objects facilitate the function of cities and urban places, visit here.

Robert Harland, School of Design and Creative Arts, Loughborough University

Photographs © Johnny Xu 2020

Acknowledgments: The featured research is by Dr Johnny Xu, undertaken during his PhD. With thanks to Grant Butterworth and Neil Stacey for their support.

Leicester Local Plan

A consultation on the draft of the Leicester’s Local Plan is now open! The Council is asking people for their views on the document, which sets out policies and proposals for the city’s growth over the next 15 years.

The urban area of Leicester is one of the fastest growing areas in the country, with a diverse population of about 650,000. Planning for the future involves anticipating future growth and making decisions about where we allow more development for homes and jobs, as well as identifying the built and natural heritage assets that we need to protect.

Since 2014, the council has undertaken a range of consultation exercises on various stages of developing its local plan. These consultations have considered all aspects of planning policy, although the fundamental focus has always been around the level of growth and how growth is delivered.

Whether your interests lie in local neighbourhoods, the city centre, transport, housing, employment, shopping, climate change or the natural environment, we are seeking your views on the draft Local Plan and its associated evidence.

The consultation is open from 14th September until Monday 7th December.

For more information, to view the draft of the Local Plan and provide comments please visit the City Council’s consultation hub at https://consultations.leicester.gov.uk/sec/draft-local-plan/

Planning for the Future? Leicester City Council’s response……

The Government’s consultation on potentially huge changes to the planning system ends today. The White Paper  can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/planning-for-the-future.  Leicester City Council’s response to the White Paper has now been submitted to the Government and is attached  here: https://leicesterurbanobservatory.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/leicester-city-council-pff-response-29th-october-2020-approved-for-submission.pdf .   The Council sets out significant concerns about many aspects of the White Paper.

There has been much debate on the Government’s intentions-and it is anticipated and acknowledged that any new Legislation will take time to refine and implement. To provide clarity and certainty to citizens, stakeholders and other interested parties, the City Council are pressing ahead with their current Draft Local Plan Consultation which runs to December 7th 2020. To participate in this, visit https://consultations.leicester.gov.uk/sec/draft-local-plan/ 

LOVE ARCHITECTURE

This October Leicestershire and Rutland Society of Architects are hosting Leicester’s annual LOVE ARCHITECTURE Festival, integral part of this year’s Design Season. It will comprise of over 20 online and offline events, including talks, panel discussions and exhibitions, celebrating the local architecture and its community.

Events are open to all, led by local architects, students, designers and other people passionate about local architecture. The offline events will be based in the LCB Depot in Leicester.

For more information about the festival and the events please visit the Love Architecture website at – https://love-architecture.co.uk/

A photography competition is an important part of this year’s festival. The theme is architectural detail in Leicestershire and Rutland. The deadline for submission is 9th October 2020. It is free to enter!

Some of the main events of this year’s LOVE ARCHITECTURE Festival are listed below:

10th October, 2pm – Meet the Architect

A rare opportunity for people across Leicestershire and Rutland to meet our RIBA architects with a free one-to-one half-hour design consultation. Bring any home or design query; whether you are looking for advice to create more space in your home, or are looking for ways to bring in more natural light, our architects will do their best to help you. You do not need to be planning a “Grand Designs” style house to come along and talk to a professional, but we would recommend bringing plans (if you have them) and photographs of your existing space.

Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-meet-the-architect-tickets-123227447613

14th October, 6pm – Evening Lecture – Dian Small – Diversity

Diversity in the profession. Dian Small, Regional Director RIBA London discusses diversity in our industry, her experiences and the work she is doing to encourage change within the RIBA and the profession.

Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-evening-lecture-tickets-123229882897

15th October, 6pm – LOVE ARCHITECTURE Award evening

Presentation of Presidents Award for 2020 graduate at DMU and Loughborough Yr 1 Best Homes / President’s Prize and photography competition.

Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-award-evening-tickets-123316058651

17th October, 2pm – Model making for children

A virtual session for children making paper models of buildings.

Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-kids-event-tickets-123644860105

21st October, 5pm – Evening Lecture – Ben Channon

Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-evening-lecture-2-tickets-123233387379

24th October, 8pm – Pub Quiz

It is not all about Architecture or the built environment! Our Regional Director – Mike Baulcombe will be the quizmaster.

Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/love-architecture-pub-quiz-tickets-123236296079