The British local authorities have always had a penchant for thoughtful architectural projects. But at a time of austerity measures, it is impossible to live without counting, and the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment (CABE) has paid the price. How to maintain a certain quality level when subsidies spin in the English way? Leslie Doumerc for the Parution d’Esquisses 2016, the magazine by the Order of Architects of Quebec.

Below you can find the abstract from the article:

Placemaking

To build on this collaborative vision, the Farrell report advocates a forum that brings together stakeholders in the field who are able to put pressure on high-level politicians. Thus, twice a year, the Big Meets arouse the interest of a hundred people or organizations that strive to prove that the architectural quality has positive impacts in the short and long term and deserves to be supported.

From these gatherings was born the Place Alliance, a rather informal and horizontal movement, based on voluntary engagement. Supported financially by private donations, universities or professional institutes, the collective has no connection with the government. Ultimately, however, the final step would be to establish a new independent council whose status in relation to the National Government would be similar to that of the BBC, the Bank of England, the British Council or even British universities.

In the two years of its existence, Place Alliance has already sent a series of recommendations to the House of Lords committee working on a national built environment policy, produced a manifesto, and compiled a guide presenting exemplary architectural achievements.

According to Prof Matthew Carmona, four years after the end of the CABE, England still benefits from the positive effects of the colossal work done. “It’s not a reason to release the pressure. We will not try to reinvent the past, but take this opportunity to step back, inspire success and avoid mistakes. The mission remains the same, reinforce day by day the importance of good architectural quality, a principle with which everyone agrees, but which everyone forgets very quickly as soon as the economic aspect comes into play.”

You can read the full article in french here →