What happens if you get 40 people in a room for a day ands tell them to write a manifesto for the future of the city? Well, this (see below). This declaration was one of the products of ‘Global Policy Dialogue: Sustainability and the City’, a workshop held 29-30 March, jointly organised by the University of Edinburgh and the British Council. I can’t be objective as I was involved in organising it, and was the MC on the day (see Jim Medway’s drawing, above). It was a fascinating piece of urban therapy, however. I use the word ‘therapy’ advisedly. As MC, I modelled the process surreptitiously on the gestalt model of therapeutic dialogue, which is to say (a) the staging of a ‘safe emergency’ in which participants could say hard things without fear of hurt, and (b) an emphasis on process, rather than product. Needless to say, nobody got the…

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About Richard J Williams

Professor of contemporary visual cultures and head of history of art at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Books on cities include 'The Anxious City' (Routledge, 2004), 'Brazil' (Reaktion 2009), 'Regenerating Culture and Society' (edited with Jonathan Harris, LUP 2010), and 'Sex and Buildings' (Reaktion, 2013). Writing a new book about Reyner Banham.

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