New City Series event: Edwin Lutyens Architecture of Remembrance

The next free talk will be delivered by Tim Skelton on Thursday 30th November 2017 and will focus on ‘Edwin Lutyens and The Great War’. Tim has written on a wide range of subjects, including travel and history, and is the author of ‘Lutyens and the Great War’. He is a member of the Lutyens Trust. The talk is sponsored by the HLF/Leicester City Council funded ‘Story of Parks’ project.


The work of the eminent architect Sir Edwin Lutyens is central to the way in which we now remember those who have given their lives in the service of their country. His Cenotaph forms the centrepiece of Remembrance Sunday and the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval is the largest British war memorial in the world.

Less well known is the work that he did for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the design of cemeteries on the Western Front and the 50 memorials that he designed at home and abroad including at Victoria Park in Leicester, which was the largest of all. As well as inspiring architecture, the commissioning of the memorials tells interesting stories about British communities as they sought the best way to mark the loss that they had suffered.

The event will start at 5:15pm in the Victoria Room at New Walk Museum.


satellite seminar: HOUSING, COMMODIFICATION & ALIENATION. weds 15th November 2017. 10.30am-1.30pm. Civil Court, Leicester Castle Business School

Brought to you by the DeMontfort University, this event is a partner provided seminar developed to support of the main ‘City Series’ lecture programme. The Satellite Seminars are intended to provide a more focussed opportunity to join one of the Observatory partner organisations in discussing a topic in more detail than the main City Series programme which is aimed at a more general interest audience.

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This is a free event aimed at researchers, academics, students and those interested in theoretical discussion & debate regarding housing issues. For further details please contact:- Dr.Jamileh Manoochehri on 

date: Wednesday 15th November 2017
venue: Civil Court, Leicester Castle Business School, see dmu leicester castle building directions
time: 10.30am til 1.30pm   

CITY SERIES / 6th Dec 2017: The Architecture of the Healthy City: ADDITIONAL SPEAKER/ Sir Peter Soulsby, City Mayor to speak on the new Leicester Local Plan


The final CITY SERIES lecture of 2017 will take place in the early evening on Wednesday 6th December 2017 at DMU’s new Art & Design building, the Vijay Patel Building (fourth floor lecture theatre: VP4.05).

“The Architecture of the Healthy City”, will offer two different perspectives on place-making and better public health. Neil Stacey, Associate Professor in Architecture from DeMontfort University, will offer a response to the question “does architecture improve your health?”. Ivan Browne, Deputy Director of Public Health, Leicester City Council, will reflect upon the cross-discipline requirements and challenges of delivering better public health in present day Leicester. A question and answer session will follow.

UPDATE: In addition, Sir Peter Soulsby, City Mayor, has agreed to join the lecture to make a contribution on progress in developing the new City of Leicester Local Plan to the meeting.

All welcome. To register for free tickets please go to: Eventbrite


Homes, Jobs or Green space? Have your say on the New Leicester Local Plan

An extensive consultation is underway which will run through to 31st October 2017 seeking input to and views on the new City of Leicester Local Plan.

cityThe online consultation seeks views on 4 main documents:

  1. Emerging Options: seeks views on strategy options and choices around how to best strike the balance between allocating lands or sites for homes, employment retail and leisure purposes. It also sets out key issues such as the need to sustain open space and a specific questionnaire also seeks views on which open spaces people value most.openspace
  2.  Potential Sites document: this sets out all sites options which the Council is seeking views on. There is also the opportunity for new sites to be submitted which might help meet the council’s housing and employment land targets.Watermead
  3. Draft Development Management Policies: sets out a set of draft Development Management policies for consideration and comment
  4. Sustainability Appraisal: this seeks to test and assess how sustainable to policy options set out in the consultation are.

The site includes interactive maps which allows you to interrogate the site options……


……..and view specific highway safeguarding proposals.


The Council is also seeking views on its extensive evidence base which can be viewed here.

The Local Plan will form one of the most important documents which will shape the city’s future.

If you would like more information, or to arrange a specific discussion on aspects of the Local Plan please contact


Leicester Urban Observatory Satellite Seminar 1: Urban Change in Small Cities

Brought to you by the University of Leicester is the first in a new set of partner provided seminars which is being developed to support of the main ‘City Series’ lecture programme.

The Satellite Seminars are intended to provide a more focussed opportunity to join one of the Observatory partner organisations in discussing a topic in more detail than the main City Series programme which is aimed at a more general interest audience.

The free talk will be delivered by Richard Ocejo on Tuesday 10th October 2017 and will focus on ‘Urban change in small cities’. Dr Ocejo is an Associate Professor at City University of New York and is author of  Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy and Upscaling Downtown: From Bowery Saloons to Cocktail Bars in New York City

The event will start at 5:00pm in LT2 Lecture Theatre 2, Bennett Building (University of Leicester). Registration is not required

Seminar summary from Richard: “I’m studying a small city (population 30,000) 60 miles north of New York City that underwent a steep decline in the late 20th century and is starting to rebound.  The people moving there are mostly middle class and finding New York City unaffordable.  They are in their late 20s-40s, established in their careers, want to maintain a certain urban lifestyle (to live in a place that’s walkable, bikeable, diverse, architecturally interesting), and have to commute to New York City infrequently if at all.  The artisan, light manufacturing, and arts economies are also expanding, as some new retail (a farm-to-table restaurant, cafes, a clothing boutique) have opened.  Meanwhile, the city is remarkably poor with a lot of crime, drugs, and abandoned and vacant properties. My initial macro-level thoughts revolve around the idea that the gentrification story in large, successful cities like New York is continuing in smaller nearby cities as the middle class gets priced out (low-income folks are obviously too poor to leave).”      

Leicester Urban Summer School

The University of Leicester, De Montfort University Leicester School of Architecture, Loughborough University and Leicester City Council recently hosted the inaugural Leicester Urban Summer School, exploring how architecture, history, urban design and policy are contributing to the city’s regeneration.

Revaluing Leicester A4 flier

Organised by the University of Leicester (UoL) on behalf of the Leicester Urban Observatory – a partnership between DMU, Leicester City Council, Loughborough University and UoL – the two day summer school aims to establish itself as a key annual event for those interested in studying urban issues.

Day 1 Friday 30th June 2017

Delegates were welcomed by Professor Simon Gunn from the Centre for Urban History at UoL, who had been the main inspiration behind the event.

Professor Gunn challenged them to use the Summer School to reconsider and revalue Leicester from a range of perspectives throughout the two days.

Designing Leicester

DMU’s Neil Stacey kicked off the interactive sessions with an architectural design workshop at the University of Leicester.


setting the challenge….
Will it fit?

The workshop challenged small groups to transform Leicester’s Soar Island into the ideal community- using scale plans, delegates rose to tackling the spatial questions faced by real life site planning considerations.


Perceptive conclusions were drawn- to be informed and maybe re-evaluated by a site visit later in the day.



Multicultural Leicester

Professor Loretta Lees, Professor of Human Geography at the University of Leicester, then took the floor to lead an insightful discussion on multicultural Leicester- drawing comparative thinking from global academic perspectives through to the City’s current population composition and make up.

The City is almost uniquely placed to take advantage of it’s diversity and character- a subject which generated much discussion about how a Leicester approach might help define a city model of multiculturalism going forward.


Leicester’s letters- a look and learn workshop

In the afternoon DMU welcomed delegates for an urban typography workshop led by Dr. Robert Harland, a Lecturer in Visual Communication (Graphic Design) at Loughborough University.


Attendees had the chance to compare the ornate and decorative graphic detail found on older buildings in Leicester to the more vivid and dynamic styles which have emerged in modern times, as well as to complete a simple but challenging typographic design exercise.



peer review

Thanks to DMU for photographs

Rob was critically incisive in his assessment of the delegates efforts- an eye opening and thought provoking session which brought home how design and visual appreciation is a skill and an art which we all have- to a greater, or lesser extent…..

Regenerating Leicester Waterside

The first day concluded with a session by Grant Butterworth, Head of Planning at Leicester City Council, concluded the day with a tour of the City’s Waterside and workshop in the newly refurbished Friars Mill.


friars mill after




The session asked attendees to role-play the position of the developer or that of the planner, with a lively debate ensuing during a ‘live’ review of the regeneration of the Leicester Waterside.

Negotiations were at times heated, good-humoured and passionate- but disappointingly the debates fell somewhat short of a happy and agreed consensus between developer and ‘elected’ Planning authorities.

Mr Butterworth declined to elaborate on how reflective of real life this outcome was.

A reception kindly sponsored by the University of Leicester and ongoing discussion followed through into an informal evening dinner and drinks which concluded the first day’s events.

Day 2: Saturday 1st July 2017

Engaging Challenges

Professor Lees and Grant Butterworth led an interactive discussion on how could municipal authorities more effectively engage with diverse communities and stakeholders .


This is a major issue for planning and regeneration- delegates tested opinions and perspectives which provided a broad range of insights.

Mr Butterworth committed to seek to take on board suggestions in the Council’s upcoming activities.

Urban Trails

Colin Hyde (East Midlands Oral History Archive, University of Leicester) held a masterclass exposition on the history and art of developing Town Trails.



Leicester unique track record of producing a variety of trails of the city’s assets presents a fascinating history of encouraging people to experience the city at first hand- a theme central to the Summer School’s agenda.

Keynote Lecture:

Leicester’s Changing Landscape: the city and modern architecture since 1945

Elain Harwood (Historic England) drew proceedings to a close with a tour de force presentation on the City’s modern architectural offer. A packed house was captivated by Elain’s energy, passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject.



A unique asset

The keynote was a fitting conclusion to the Summer School which sought to encourage a Revaluing of the City.

The breadth of debate and discussion was a clear endorsement of confidence and value placed upon the city by a wide range of participants, and different perspectives of partners allowed a new understanding and evaluation of what makes the city special.

A video of Elain’s talk can be seen  here. 

(courtesy of Colin Hyde of the east Midlands Oral History Archive)

Partners are already in discussion about how to build on the event and any feedback or comments in this respect would be very welcome via this blog.

Thanks must go to all the delegates for their enthusiastic participation, the contributors and hosts, but in particular to the efforts of Sally Coleman and Professor Simon Gunn at UoL and Justin Webber at the City Council, without whom it really wouldn’t have happened.



City Series: Register now for our next free event – Leicester’s Changing Landscape: the city and modern architecture since 1945

The latest lecture, on Saturday 1st July 2017 at 2:00pm, will be delivered by Dr Elain Harwood, a senior architectural investigator with Historic England, formerly part of English Heritage. Elain’s talk will focus on the post-war expansion of Leicester, which produced new churches and schools of great interest. It will take in other ambitious but unrealised schemes, including the proposals for a civic centre by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. She will also look at the physical expansion of the University after gaining its independent charter in 1957, when a development plan was produced by Sir Leslie Martin followed by a series of buildings by Britain’s leading modern architects.