The (city) centre cannot hold

Exeter councillors’ unanimous decision to reject the application for the Moor Exchange retail park suggests they have not grasped the changes in the city’s retail  environment nor the significance of the eastward spread of housing.   On Monday 13 March Exeter City Council’s Planning Committee unanimously disagreed with their officers’ recommendation to give outline planningContinue reading “The (city) centre cannot hold”

Put out some flags!

Two important decisions this month show that Exeter City Council could at last be facing up to the real challenges confronting the city. First, building more homes After a long – very long – gestation period in the shadows, the Council’s proposal to set up a housing development company has burst into the sunlight.  PutContinue reading “Put out some flags!”

High Street Greens

We can do so much better than the current High Street business model, and its current difficulties offer Exeter new opportunities There’s a lot of truth in the observation that Exeter’s city centre is a “clone town”.  Along the length of the High Street and in the shopping centres at Guildhall and Princesshay, the retailContinue reading “High Street Greens”

Reclaiming our main roads for residents

It’s not only our side streets that can be made people-friendly Traffic restraint on residential streets is not new – humps, speed limits, barriers, residents’ parking schemes, pedestrianisation, and so on.  Some of these measures have become discredited because of their impact on driving behaviour: for example speed humps encourage breaking and acceleration with consequentContinue reading “Reclaiming our main roads for residents”

Small but significant: Exeter City Council’s energy measures

I didn’t pick it up at the time, but a recent Exeter City Council report reminds its readers that the Council won a national award earlier in the year for its Renewables and Energy Efficiency Programme.  The Local Government Chronicle’s Environment Award was won by the Council for an “ambitious programme of projects to achieveContinue reading “Small but significant: Exeter City Council’s energy measures”

A Tale of Two …urban extensions

In my post on the Compact City, I noted the different choices made by Freiburg and Exeter in their approaches to balancing the need to provide new homes against the need to protect the natural environment.  To illustrate how these choices played out in practice, what follows is a brief study of how the twoContinue reading “A Tale of Two …urban extensions”

The Freiburg Charter

Freiburg’s experience of becoming a green, sustainable city owes much to its governance and political continuity.  What is being achieved there has been distilled into 12 principles, developed by the City of Freiburg and the Academy of Urbanism.  Published in 2012, it is known as the Freiburg Charter, and I reproduce it below. There isContinue reading “The Freiburg Charter”

The Compact City

How Freiburg does it, Part 2 We tend to like compact cities.  Why?  Is it because compact is the antithesis of urban sprawl, which has negative connotations.  So negative in fact that fighting it was one of the original aims of the Council for the Preservation for Rural England [1], formed 90 years ago, subsequentlyContinue reading “The Compact City”

Let’s support the thinkers

Change – particularly difficult or contested change – needs a clear purpose if it is to stand any chance of acceptance.  Why should I leave my comfy car at home and stand on a freezing railway station waiting for a delayed and crowded train?  Why should I turn down the central heating in those partsContinue reading “Let’s support the thinkers”

Think before you Park – and Ride

There’s a long-running stink about building a fourth Park-and-Ride facility on the edge of Exeter, this time near Alphington at the junction of the A30 and A377 roads.  Devon County Council has just withdrawn its second planning application, partly because of furious local objections but also because the goals originally claimed for the scheme seemsContinue reading “Think before you Park – and Ride”