How Cities Change


Edward Nash, Nash Architectural Partnership

18 October 2018



'How Cities Change' was the keynote lecture to launch the 2018-19 BRLSI Cities series of talks.  Betty Suchar introduced the speaker, Edward Nash who has lived in Bath for 34 years where he founded the built environment consultancy now known as the Nash Partnership.  This multi-disciplinary firm has been involved in numerous projects in Bath along the industrial river corridor, the redevelopment of the MOD Ensleigh site, Hope House and the current redevelopment at Roseberry Place.


The speaker believed that when we think of cities we should have a vision of a beautiful place, an earthly paradise with harmony and beauty and he illustrated some cities that combined these ideal attributes.  He maintained that improvements were always possible but that we did not always know how to achieve the desired outcome.  He blamed this partly on the post-war planning process which he felt had squeezed out something that contributed to achieving the most desirable outcomes.  


He cited some of the multiple factors that influence outcomes such as ownership, finance and showed how Preston and Bristol in particular had developed during this post-war period.  He focused on how suburbs had spread further and further out from the city core creating difficult problems of employment, transport and congestion.


Some cities seem to have been able to establish a more beneficial and supportive link with other urban areas eg Manchester and Liverpool whereas Bath and Bristol he argued need to improve their economic integration.


His overarching issue was how suburban areas could be regenerated and he used his work with the South Gloucestershire area to illustrate growth patterns and possibilities.


He concluded with some attributes these regenerated areas must consider such a good public realm and local pride and highlighted the value of high urban densities which provided work, culture and leisure activities while avoiding congestion and pollution. 


The large audience enjoyed this highly illustrated talk and asked a variety of  interesting questions.