Soulless architecture

Contemporary residential development in the United Kingdom is criticised for being bland and homogenous

Contemporary housing development in Melbourne. Are we doing any better?
British urban regeneration expert, David Twohig, recently criticised the UK’s approach to urban growth as producing housing that is only “just good enough to sell”. This has triggered a raft of concerns across the country about new residential and commercial development which is seen as being very low quality, using old fashioned building materials and bland, ‘cookie cutter’ designs. This soulless architecture threatens to blight Britain’s cities within the next 15 years and is part of a global trend which could have far reaching consequences.

“The prospect of hundreds of millions of people ending up in nondescript developments without a sense of identity will lead to future social problems: alienation, isolation, crime and more.” claims Twohig’s new book, Living In Wonderland: Urban Development and Placemaking, which is being published next month.

So how much do we need to sit up and listen in Australia? After all Melbourne, and indeed many Australian cities, are consistently ranked as some of the most liveable in the world.

At a time when the urban development industry is focussing more than ever on good urban design and placemaking, and notions of cultural heritage and liveability are embedded into the public discourse, how can the product be more homogenous than ever?

Read more about the British towns in danger of becoming identical and soulless here and tell us what you think. Are we doing any better than the UK?


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