The Academy of Urbanism Awards 2014

I am an Academician at the Academy of Urbanism; this allows me to comment upon the finer things in our physical world – like ‘urban grain’. The use of such phrases is usually preserved for a select few!


The Academy exists to promote and celebrate great places.

The 2014 awards have been announced and the following are winners:

The European City of the Year : Marseille
The Great Town : Cork
The Great Neighbourhood : West End, Glasgow
The Great Street : Lamb’s Conduit Street, London
The Great Place : Custard Factory, Birmingham

In the Press Release, Kevin Murray, Chairman of the Academy, said:

“With these awards we are celebrating inspirational and heroic stories of places that are saved, turned around, rediscovered and rejuvenated. Great places don’t just happen, they are planned, shaped and supported by human endeavour.”

I was interested to see that Cork was a winner having been theatre in the Summer. I thought it was a fascinating place which I would characterise as being ‘independent’. That made it unique and a place you wanted to go back and explore. But I was also interested that the shortlisted towns included Buxton and Hastings & St Leonards.

I do some work in Buxton – and was involved in the purchase of the former Devonshire Royal Hospital – which is now and amazing University. That place has changed beyond recognition in the last 10 years. It too has independents and is ‘different’.

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