Estuary Urbanism

A couple of highlights (perhaps the only ones) of a small presentation I did at the RCA this week on the Thames Gateway.

The basic premise was arguing for some kind of vision which could make sense of the bureaucratic demand for 30 ?????? 500 000 new houses in the area. And that this vision should come out of something specific to the site ?????? in this case Estuary English. This is the most modern, attractive and influential accent in Britain. It is spreading across the UK from its heartland by the banks of the Thames. It is a modern kind of accent – blurring geography and class, the things that accents are usually all about.

What would happen if you applied these characteristics to planning? It would be a strategy you might call Estuary Urbanism.

This would be a place where scale, use and distinctions between metropolitan, suburban and rural would blur and juxtapose.

Here is an animation (running a little jerkily on my ibook):
estuaryanimstill.jpg

And here are some pictures:
gateway1.jpg

gateway2.jpg

And some sketches:

thamesland.jpg
bencommunity.jpg

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