Conversations with Practice: Rowan Moore

Tuesday 17 May 18:00
Lecture Theatre 3, Herschel Building, Newcastle University

Rowan Moore is architecture critic of the Observer and was named Critic of the Year at the UK press awards 2014. He is the author of Slow Burn City and Why We Build.

Londonism: the future of cities?

“London is the dark star of the economy, inexorably sucking in resources, people and energy. Nobody quite knows how to control it.” Alex Salmond, former First Minister of Scotland

London in the 21st century has become an exemplar for a contemporary form of city-building, where the logics of investment and global markets drive planning and overrides local conditions.

Combined with social freedoms, this approach creates a city that is fast-changing and wealthy, with conspicuous new architecture, high towers and an array of sensory delights. But it also seems unable to deal with the pressures it creates, especially in housing.

The new London seems increasingly disconnected from the rest of Britain, but it is developing forms of city-building that will be applied across this country and much of the rest of the world.

Is this the best way to build modern cities? Does London’s own history, of dramatic public interventions combined with dynamic and aggressive trade, suggest any alternatives?

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