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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the isolation of rural communities from the country’s transport infrastructure.
With a growing elderly and vulnerable population, matched with splintering social structures, many find themselves lacking access to social and communal support. Meanwhile, rural bus services are increasingly underfunded and underused, constantly threatened with closure at great detriment to those who rely on them to support their daily lives.
Digital technology is rapidly changing the way that airports operate, streamlining efficiency and creating new possibilities for improving `end to end’ customer experience. By adopting a more human perspective, airports can spatially respond to the demands of the aging population, in particular passengers with dementia.
In September 2019 when no-one had heard of Covid-19 Chris was asked to introduce a Symposium organised by the RIBA on the subject of ‘The Happy City’ in Kuwait. The introduction has been updated, filmed and is available to watch here.
During the Covid-19 lockdown many of us have had the chance to appreciate nature a little more than usual. Maybe for some spending time in their gardens, others the local park or walking round the local streets. For others spending time by a river trying to focus on the sunlight glinting on the water in Durham before starting a long journey home.
As I’m writing this (working from home obviously) it occurs to me that it is five years to the day that Bill Gates gave his TED talk predicting the pandemic we are now in the middle of. If you haven’t seen it, you might find it interesting. But even in 2015 it was nothing we didn’t know.
At Dubai Cityscape I gave a presentation promoting the advantages of Polycentric Cities citing London as an example. London was formed from small distinct communities such as Chelsea, Dalston, Hampstead and Brixton, which have grown together into a fantastic world city. The extensive underground rail system has helped enormously bind the city together but even now there are distinct communities.
This month, Kuwait is hosting a symposium on the subject of “Happiness in the City”. The event will provide a unique platform for cultural, creative and technical minds from the UK and the Gulf to explore the issue of how our built environments can be designed to promote happiness and wellbeing. The symposium has been organised by the RIBA in conjunction with the DiT.
As we contemplate how our high streets must reinvent themselves in light of the rise of online and the shift toward the experiential, it is perhaps not a coincidence that we are seeing the shopping centre break free from its internalised focus and look much more urban.
The emphasis on reducing carbon emissions is forcing all of us to examine the way we travel. Greta Thunberg sailed to New York over 15 days rather than flying in six hours. This is commercially unsustainable for most businesses. But there could be other solutions.
Exploring the concept of remote airport check-in facilities and how they could be applied to a central London setting. Utilising the existing Royal Mail underground infrastructure to create a network of check-in facilities which are integrated with the transport network serving London's airports.
Many architects view the completion of their projects as the day the building is handed over and they move on to other things. The shop has opened for trading, the occupants have moved in to the office, the builders have moved out of the house, the snagging done, the final completion certificate issued. Like an artist who finishes a painting, sells it and never sees it again, we get sucked in to the project and when it has “ended”, seldom give it another thought or learn other than immediate superficial lessons from it.