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Who are we meeting with?

We spent the week imagining the future, but it wasn’t just hover cars and jetpacks. We kicked-off the week discussing the future of architecture education with Will Hunter where we learned about an opportunity for students to enjoy quality training at half the price. The London School of Architecture plans to offer a more economically accessible ARB-accredited Part 2 programme beginning in 2015 that has the potential to dramatically alter the educational landscape. Our week moved on to discussions about the future of policy for architecture, planning, housing and the construction industry at a summit meeting to link up thinking on several current and recently submitted reviews. Sir Terry Farrell chaired a meeting of Lord Taylor of Goss Morr, Andy von Bradsky and Peter Hansford, as well as representatives from BIS, DCLG and DCMS. We discussed Lord Taylor’s significant strides in modernizing the UK planning system with the Taylor Review, which advocated digitising and updating our planning guidelines. We also examined the Housing Standards Review, which advocates a slimmer set of standards to simplify the housing development process. Finally, we discussed Construction 2025 and a new long-term strategy for advancing the construction industry to help the UK economy grow. In closing the week, we met with Scott Cain, from Future Cities Catapult, to consider the transformative impact that new technology will have on our cities, from establishing new jobs like ‘Code Fellows’ who can coordinate government open data offerings to revolutionizing our living experience with smart homes.

What are we reading?

While reading through the aforementioned reviews (along with revisiting some Arthur C. Clarke novels), we’ve been considering how our recommendations can and should shape our cities FAR into the future. Now that Lord Taylor has taken up reforming the planning system, and after the Government Construction Strategy restructured procurement policies in 2011, how might a remodelled design strategy look and interact with the new ideas? How can new policies capitalise on and also encourage new technology? We were pleased to read this week about London’s advancing international reputation as a Tech Hub on the Thames, but we were most interested to catch the reference to the role architects and built environment professionals have played in facilitating the growth of this vibrant industry. The refurbishment of derelict buildings and their conversion to co-working and event spaces created a new home that suited London’s tech sector. It reminded us how our design decisions and architectural policies can drive our economies.

Finally, we were excited to read the most recent issue of the New London Quarterly, which featured the Farrell Review.

What are we watching?

While this might have been the perfect week to catch up on past episodes of the Jetsons, we enjoyed listening to a speech by Sir Mark Walport on Forsight’s Future of Cities Project which was launched in June this year.

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