An Urban Manifesto

We are the community.  We are the public, and thus, one would assume, we should have a say in what constitutes public space.  In the words of architect Ken Greenberg, we are “offering an overt invitation to inhabitants to influence the shape of their environment”. We are seeking a dialogue, a conversation, even a debate.  The creation of our neighbourhoods must not be an exercise in passivity.  Our community must not be something that happens to us, but rather something that evolves with us, because of us.  We the inhabitants, the dwellers, the users, the visitors alike.  Built environments are to be used, utilised, enjoyed, inhabited, molded, adapted to better uses.  Living in a place is an act of creation, of learning and adaptation.  Good urban design recognises that the ‘design’ is but a piece of the process.  It is the hammering together of the frame, it is the stretching of the canvas, the placement of the palette and the pulling together of the paints and the brushes.  It is about providing the elements and the atmosphere for an organic process of creation.  It is about allowing the neighbourhood to blossom in a way that is unpredictable, but encouraged through active participation to adopt a shape that is pleasing to the eye.  Good design is about balance.  It is about participation, collaboration, inspiration.  It is about setting the stage for evolution. —