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Exeter (UK), 2013.

Commissioned by Kaleider, and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Exeter City Council.

Where to build the walls that protect us is an opportunity for us all to imagine a future city. Our city of Exeter… An architect or planner might call this sort of process a ‘charrette’ – a term that’s used to describe an intensive, collaborative enquiry that seeks to solve a complex design issue. Perhaps that sounds rather dry and dusty, but you should be assured that this is going to be an exercise in serious play. We’ll try not to get too distracted by Utopian visions. Or to worry too much about logistics. But, with one eye on the persistent fiscal crisis and the challenges of climate change, and the other on Hope, let’s look again at the fundamental fabric of our city and envisage it afresh.

This first phase of the work comprised 4 x 6-hour reconnaissance excursions dotted throughout the autumn of 2013. They wove through the city, playfully exploring the keys themes of terrain and climate, buildings and the life between them, industry and commerce, and mobility and communications. As they travelled, participants had opportunities to encounter experts (climatologists, planners, community leaders and long-term residents), to gather material, and to contribute ideas to the on-going planning enquiry.

Images: Stephen Hodge, Robert Darch, Exeter Express & Echo.

Where to build the walls that protect us