Michael Francis

Newcastle MArch student, having previously studied BA Architecture at Brighton, I’m enrolled on the accelerated Urban Design course because if the urban environment is the most sustainable model for an increasing world population, if more of us are destined to live in cities, what are the myriad of solutions which might make the city a humane place to live? Is Urban Design a solution? Who is elected to take charge of our urban spaces and why do they end up like they do?


The blog formula is an intriguing structure, offering a more conversational tone to our work. It has also offered opportunity to link together our research in a less formal environment. By far the most challenging aspect of the task has been defining a writing style in which the blog could become the rather odd blend…
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Who’s looking for authenticity?

Urban Design often tempts with a suggestion of grand strategic game play, the manipulation of public transport systems and the ability to affect the lives of communities across an urban territory in a way few other disciplines would dare attempt. It reminds me of playing with a Hornby railway set, commander of all I surveyed,…
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The threat of generic green: The sanitised landscape city?

A reflection on landscape in the city In 1967 the town centre of Cumbernauld, designed by Geoffrey Copcutt, was opened to the public. Here stood the future. A centre of leisure and commerce, a complete indoor world, grand, vivid, the fruition of a prosperous modern Scotland; the ‘New Town’ landing to the east of Glasgow,…
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Uni-Health A Better ‘Greener’ Future

Uni-Health is a university exchange program, a collaboration between Universidad Politecnica de Madrid and Newcastle University, focusing on the positive contribution urban design has to the health of an urban population by way of improving the physical and social spaces within the city. A series of guest speakers describing the city from the perspective of…
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