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The Weston Williamson mission statement talks about Creating Civilised Cities so quite often I am asked what constitutes a civilised city. The big picture answer is that our work encourages people to use safe, efficient, convenient, well designed public transport rather than their cars and free the streets for pedestrians and cyclists.
Valerie Le Vaillant, who recently became Master of the Company of Architects, has announced that apprenticeships are to be her major focus for the year. This is a subject close to my heart. I am as passionate about social mobility as others rightly are about race and gender equality. To me social mobility embraces all types of inequality and disadvantage. As a member of Valerie's Education Committee under John Assael as Chair, I will do everything I can to help.
The story goes that Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a novel in six words. His brilliant response was “For Sale. Baby shoes, never worn”. It conjures up a tale of grief, heartbreak and tragedy. All in six words.
I’ve just read Jeroen De Flander’s book “The Art of Performance”. He cites numerous examples where people of all ages and abilities have achieved greatness through demonstrating three stages of behaviour: 1. Passion and Purpose 2. Deep Practice and 3. Persistence.
I remember a TV interview with Paul McCartney and (I think) Michael Parkinson where they were discussing the writing of 'I saw her standing there'. McCartney proudly sang his first lines 'She was just seventeen. She could have been a beauty queen’ when John Lennon suggested the second line should be 'You know what I mean'.
I’ve just been listening to Carly Simon talking about the writing of 'You're so Vain'. It's a brilliant pop song - in August 2014, the UK's Official Charts Company crowned it the ultimate song of the 1970s. Like most creations it feels as though it came together easily and perfectly.
The excitement of visiting a new global city is unbounded - the buildings,
the spaces, the infrastructure, the people, the culture - all to be experienced
and explored. First impressions are said to stick, so with a few days in
Toronto supporting the growth of our new studio, I set about making some initial
judgements on how the city made me feel.
I started the run at 10.20 am at Greenwich knowing that I would be running for the next 4-5 hours, which is a daunting prospect. It had been 14 years since my last marathon and although I had trained for this I suddenly felt very nervous. But looking around me, I realised that everyone else would be experiencing the same emotions and gradually started to relax.
In order to prepare for the London Marathon I managed an alcohol free ‘dry’ January and actually enjoyed it so much I continued into February and March and have decided to avoid alcohol for the rest of the year. It’s actually surprising and reassuring how easy it’s been for these first few months.
A new super coach hub at Heathrow is a viable alternative to Victoria Coach Station which would reduce London's traffic congestion and air pollution and mitigate the effects of the proposed third runway.
In Melbourne, the ambient sound of the streets is the tick-tick-tick of the street crossings. In all directions this sound follows you around the city, shadowing you on every corner. Like all Aussie cities, Melbourne is structured around a city grid – the organisational framework that defines the urban grain of the CBD.