Great Places, The Academy of Urbanism Awards

Great Street - 15A great day this last Friday, 6th November, celebrating fifteen of the places that are lighting up the ways we live now, Granby 4 Streets proudly amongst them. Ann, Hazel and me at The Academy of Urbanism Awards for 2016.

That's John Thompson on the left there, Honorary President of the Academy.

That’s John Thompson on the left there, Honorary President of the Academy.

Coucillor Ann O’Byrne, of course, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, Hazel Tilley of Cairns Street, and me and Hazel both both Board members of the Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust.

At the 9very0 Grand Connaught Rooms in London.

At the (very) Grand Connaught Rooms in London.

Now normally I loathe and avoid Awards ceremonies for reasons too bitter to besmirch a generally celebratory blogpost. But this was different. During the daytime for a start, no pompous dress code in operation and much more of a celebration than a competition.

None of us fifteen places up for Great City, Town, Neighbourhood, Street and Place awards had nominated ourselves. We’d all been selected by The Academy of Urbanism as good examples of what people are doing with the places where they live and work. So we were all interested in each other and during the day there was much intermingling and curiosity as the room sparkled with conversations about ‘How did you do that? And what made you think of it?’

Let me list the places. Places with names like poetry:

The cities of Bologna, San Sebastián and Stockholm,
The towns Frome, Halifax and Margate,
The neighbourhoods Devonshire Quarter in Sheffield, Hulme in Manchester and Old Town Hastings,
The streets Cairns Street in Liverpool, Deptford High Street in Lewisham and Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork,
And the places Irvine Harbour in Ayrshire, Peace Bridge and Ebrington Square in Derry and Scale Lane Bridge in Hull.

Great Street - 3

An honour to be there with you all.

George Ferguson, architect and Mayor of Bristol is introduced.

George Ferguson, architect and Mayor of Bristol is introduced.

Then the Academy's Poet-in-Residence Ian McMillan introduces each one of the places.

Then the Academy’s Poet-in-Residence Ian McMillan introduces each one of the places.

With a poem for each of us. Yes, brilliant idea. And a framed copy of our poem was the prize each of us got. No gongs or awkward pieces of glass to worry about on the trains home. But the recognition and respect of all of us, and our urban poems. Here’s Ian McMillan’s poem for Cairns Street.

Great Street - 6

“Their collective wills…”

By the way, a word about why Cairns Street rather than all four of our streets? Because that’s what someone from the Academy nominated us for. Maybe because the Street Market’s mostly been there? The three of us though, obviously, talked all day about all four streets.

The awards get underway and soon Geoff Haslam, one of the Academy who came to visit us, sttod up to talk about the Great Streets.

The awards get underway and soon Geoff Haslam, one of the Academy who came to visit us, stood up to talk about the Great Streets.

In Liverpool, Lewisham and Cork.

In Liverpool, Lewisham and Cork.

And did we win? No, or I would have told you by now.

The Great Street of 2016 went to Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork.

The Great Street of 2016 went to Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork.

Our new friends from the next table. See you soon!

Our new friends from the next table with their own poem. See you soon?

San Sebastián get European City.

San Sebastián gets European City.

Then it's time for talk and photographs.

Then it’s time for talk and photographs.

Thank you Hazel and Ann for a lovely day together.

Thank you Hazel and Ann for a lovely day together.

Then it's time to go home.

Soon time to go home.

On the train, looking through the pack of stuff we’d been given I discovered another treasure I’d not noticed during all the talking of the day.

This exquisite little book.

This exquisite little book.

Containing all of Ian McMillan’s poems for the day. And beautifully set out and illustrated, unless I’m very much mistaken, by the Academy’s Artist-in-Residence (yes, they’ve got one of them too) David Rudlin.

Beautifully done.

Beautifully done.

If you’ve been around this blog a while You’ll have come across David before in ‘Places by Design.’ It was great to see you again at this David.

Meanwhile back in Granby, the day before all of this, it had been our weekly site meeting.

Urbanism in Progress.

Urbanism in Progress.

Building up what's broken down.

Building up what’s broken down.

Working steadily through the rain.

Working steadily through the rain.

Taking decisions as we go.

Taking decisions as we go.

The delicacy of restoration.

The delicacy of restoration.

Taking down old tiles.

Taking down old tiles.

Building up new walls.

Building up new walls.

Next week the plasterers are in. We're well on with these now.

Next week the plasterers are in. We’re well on with these now.

The joy of opening up new futures.

The joy of opening up new futures.

So consecutive and contrasting days, both deeply rewarding in their different ways. Finally, a last look at David’s book and Ian’s poem about us. Thank you both.Great Street - 26Meanwhile over in Cork? I think there might be a bit of a do going on along Oliver Plunkett Street.

Well done you, all of you.

Well done you, all of you.

8 thoughts on “Great Places, The Academy of Urbanism Awards

  1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

    Yes Robert, the poems are a perfect gift. And of course all of them will always be Ian’s. But being only about our places who else would best make use of them? Not gold, not crystal – just real. There was a moment there where each group of us was handed an A4 sheet, as pictured, with our poem on it. And it felt like treasure. ‘He’s thought about this. He’s thought about us’ we all said. Being noticed is so important. And we felt noticed.

    Reply
  2. Ami

    Congratulations to all involved, Ronnie! No matter about the non-win – the recognition speaks volumes. Well done all. See you soon.

    Reply
  3. KerriF

    Congratulations on your well-deserved nomination and a lovely blog – we’re so glad you enjoyed it. I’m part of the AoU’s Awards working group (and the lead assessor for the European City award), so I can assure you there is a huge amount of thought & consideration into the shortlisting and assessment process, and it’s a real achievement to get to the final 3. Keep on keeping on!

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thank you so much for this Kerri. We’re very proud of what we’re collectively achieving and it’s great to get this recognition now. We all loved the day the Academy judges came to visit and then coming to London for such a celebratory Awards event was great too.

      And we will certainly keep on keeping on. We know of no other way!

      Reply

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