Ilkley Literature Festival can throw up some fascinating subjects for talks – yesterday Rowan Moore, architecture critic, and journalist, was discussing his new book, Why We Build. The book is an exploration of the interface between architecture and real lives. His argument, is that buildings should be adaptable to the way that people want to use them – and that it is the emotional experience of a building that should be the primary focus of architects, rather than ‘monuments to ego’.
He highlights Notting Hill as an area of ‘quick’ speculative development in the nineteenth century, that became a slum in the 1950’s with notorious landlords, and is now a highly desirable residential area of London – all without the buildings changing. Other ‘stories’ explore the development of Dubai, where ego rules, and buildings that can excite emotions from above or afar, are dull and ubiquitous close too and in use.
Relating this learning to Aireborough, one of the questions we asked in our initial research was how people ‘felt’ about the place they lived – we specifically asked for emotions – good and bad. The chart below was the result of that – the size of the word relates to the number of times, and the number of people who used it.
Overall, people love and are happy in the townships of Airebourgh, but they are worried and frustrated by the over development and lack of placemaking in the last years. This is what we need to address in the Neighbourhood Plan.