12 12 2016 Oped in Place North West Design for unpredictable change

Op-ed in Place North West: “Design for unpredictable change”

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12.12.2016

Francesco Veenstra, partner architect at Mecanoo, considers the challenge of designing in uncertain times in op-ed article for Manchester-based real estate website Place North West.

“Increasingly, 2017 and beyond will ask architects to create a vision of growth that responds to the unknown scenarios that follow innovations, trends, demands and changes in education and information technologies. How do you prepare not just for the changes you can predict, but also the unpredictable?

The North West is stretching in terms of population and economy and Manchester is expected to be its fastest growing city. Things are looking good for development. But with growth comes responsibility. There is a danger that value could be lost when growth is not made within the framework of a coherent and forward-looking plan: a plan that allows for flexibility, diversification and understands that things will change. This is where our profession needs to formulate a coherent vision.

What city models can we look to where a flexible plan for growth has been developed successfully? How have they been implemented? The Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will have a part to play in this but it is our responsibility as urban planners, architects and designers with an investment in Manchester and the North West to contribute to this vision positively. What kind of city do we want to create? If we want a city environment with great diversity in living, working, education, sports and leisure, that challenges its citizens to lifelong learning in the broadest sense of the word, we need a holistic and integrated approach to growth.”

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