Nottingham and Derby Society of Architects

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Climax City: Masterplanning and the Complexity of Urban Growth

  • The Urban Room 38 Carrington Street Nottingham (map)

Event organised by URBED (Urbanism, Environment and Design)

Climax City is an exploration in maps of the growth of cities and the way they are planned. It argues that modern planners are fighting a losing battle to impose order on complex, emergent systems because they fail to understand what it is they are dealing with. They assume that the future can be captured on a plan and built under blue utopian skies but are invariably disappointed. Cities can be planned but only if we work with, rather than against, the systems of urban growth. We can do so by providing structure through a masterplan and we can change the conditions of the system through planning regulations.

Climax City explores through case studies from across the world how this has happened in the past and how we might once more rediscover this lost art of planning. From the medieval hill town to the Indian slum, from the mature cities of Europe the megacities of Asia: the struggle between the planned and the unplanned is universal.

This event will provide an illustrated overview of the book based on the stories of cities from around the world from Tokyo to New York, Jaipur and Mumbai to Milton Keynes.


Prof Shruti Hemani

Shruti Hemani is a professor for urban design programme at Aayojan School of Architecture in Jaipur, having gained her PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India.

Qualified as an architect with distinction, she persuaded her interest in cities with a masters in urban design from Nottingham, UK. She worked with David at URBED in Manchester for four years before returning back to India to practice as an independent urban designer. Later she undertook her PhD on the topic ‘influence of urban forms on social sustainability’ based on case study work in neighbourhoods of Guwahati including informal settlements. Shruti has published and presented her research work at a number of international conferences.

Shruti’s B.Arch Design Thesis was awarded the University Gold Medal, and her M.Arch Design Project in Nottingham was awarded the students’ joint first prize for the RIBA’s Integration of New and Renewable Energy in Buildings (INREB) international Design Ideas Competition (2003).

David Rudlin

David is a director of URBED, Honorary Professor at Manchester University, Chair of the Academy of Urbanism and winner of the Wolfson Economics Prize in 2014. He trained as a planner and started his career with Manchester City Council. He was a member of the Homes for Change housing cooperative that commissioned one of the flagship buildings of the Hulme Redevelopment and co-wrote with Charlie Baker the seminal Hulme Guide to Development. He joined URBED in 1990 and has been responsible for high profile masterplans across the UK.

He has written widely including a monthly Column for Building Design Magazine. His first book, co-authored with Nicholas Falk, Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood (originally published in 1999 as Building the 21st Century Home) for Routledge in 2009. He is also the author with Rob Thompson and Sarah Jarvis of the book Urbanism published in 2016 by the Academy of Urbanism and Routledge as well as being the Academy’s artist in residence.

Later Event: October 16
NDSA: Student Award Scheme