John Dales, Director – Urban Movement, Urban Initiatives: Machiavellian street design – the art of the possible & the avoidance of self-destruction
It’s very simple: most streets are hugely complex. It’s not just that so many different people have a legitimate interest in any given street, and varying degrees of influence over what happens there, it’s that what any single person wants from a single street changes, often dramatically, with the role they’re playing, their present purpose, their mode of travel, the time of day, the day of the year, their mood, their state of health, the number of character of their companions, and many other factors.
Yet the design of streets is dominated by professionals who typically have a very narrow range of interest, skills and experience; and politicians who often have no relevant directly relevant skills or experience at all. How can ordinary people, the actual users of streets, best go about influencing the professionals and politicians in ways that will have positive effect? What’s more, how can those same people help ensure that what they’re trying to achieve is indeed positive, not just something they personally believe to be right? ‘Machiavellian’ is often used describe an approach marked by expediency, cunning and deceit. Is that the only approach that’ll help us get our way? Find out at Street Talks in July.
Upstairs at The Yorkshire Grey, 2 Theobalds Road, WC1X 8PN at 7pm (bar open 6pm) on 3rd July.
John is Director of Urban Movement, a consultancy specialising in transport, movement and streets. He began life as a transport professional in 1984 after leaving Imperial College/ University College London with an MSc in Transport. He worked first as a traffic engineer for JMP Consultants, and next for six years at the London Borough of Newham. He then lived and worked for two years in Jordan and the West Bank before returning to the UK and joining Urban Initiatives in 1996, becoming Director in 2003.
His work has focused on the movement aspects of complex urban development projects, and he has become well known as a champion of good urban design in transport schemes and as an advocate of well-designed, multi-functional, safe streets. John is a design advisor on streets to the City of Edinburgh Council, the London Borough of Ealing and Southend Borough Council. He is a Trustee of Living Streets, on Transport for London’s Major Schemes Design Review Panel, a Design Surgeon for Urban Design London, a Design Council CABE Enabler, and a Board member of the Transport Planning Society. John writes a monthly column in Local Transport Today on ‘Transport in Urban Design’.