"Architect Knows Best"', Simon Richards observes wryly, as he describes how we architect-planners stride onto the urban scene asking "where's the Big Idea?" The words "urban vision" bring Le Corbusier to mind. But social change in the 1950s altered the terrain of architects' visions, diversifying them, making this trail harder to follow. With love and fascination, Richards teases out the last sixty years of such ideas. Noting that we feel our expertise entitles us to prescribe for cities, he shows how much of our prescription consists of navel gazing as we delve into our own psyches and value systems. We ask ourselves, "What did Corbu - or Frank, Rem or Zaha - do?" Or we adopt the values we find in a particular book - one book - which makes our world. In the 1950s, social scientists and activists began attacking us over the unintended consequences of our proposals, wondering why we pontificated so naively about cities and why our "do gooding" had been allowed to cause such harm. Yet because we are among the rare urban professionals whose training is holistic, we end up leading the planning team. Few sociologists can or care to assume this role. But we architect-planners do, and therefore the gaps in our awareness are harmful. Richards has taken an early step towards defining the problem: we need a wider view on the world. You can't just read a book. Which book? Might not Von Thunen help more than Derrida? Who decides? And how best use the knowledge? The problem clearly calls for another type of architectural education. But we must add it without losing our architectural strengths - our immediacy, our out-of-the-box thinking, our ability to get things done, and especially our passion.'Denise Scott Brown, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, USA'A sure-footed and highly informative guide to the battle of ideas about architecture and the city of the past half century. With pithy, and sometimes deadly, precision Simon Richards analyses the ideas of Jane Jacobs, Leon Krier, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Aldo Rossi, Charles Jencks and many other writers.'Jules Lubbock, University of Essex, UK
About the Author
Dr Mark Sullman is a Senior Lecturer at Cranfield University. He is European Representative of Division 13 (Traffic and Transportation Psychology) of the International Association of Applied Psychology and is on the Editorial Advisory Board for Traffic and Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. His current areas of interest include driving anger, driver distraction and safety culture. Dr Lisa Dorn is Director of the Driving Research Group at Cranfield University. She is President-Elect of the International Association of Applied Psychology: Traffic and Transportation Psychology Division and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Chartered Psychologist. Dr Dorn has published a number of journal papers on driver behaviour, driver stress and risk and is a regular contributor to the public debate at major conferences. Currently, Dr Dorn is working with global organisations to improve driver education and training.