John Dales, Director.
In the same way that the United Kingdom doesn’t have a formally codified constitution, Urban Movement has a number of foundational principles that we haven’t written down. One of the most important of these is that we need to get out more! Which is to say, we need to experience streets in all sorts of towns and cities in order to inform our own design work.
To this end, we undertake regular StreetTours to towns and cities around the UK and across Europe. These are trips of one to three days in length where we all go (at the company’s cost and on company time) to see what other places are like and what other designers have done there. We walk the streets, ride cycles along them, sometimes speak to local practitioners or campaigners, and then argue about what we see in some café, bar or restaurant.
In my view, StreetTours are the best possible form of ‘continuing professional development’ for people who do what we do; and if it turns out that this form of business is also a pleasure, then so much the better!
It's obviously a real privilege to be able to do this, but it’s also a large part of what makes us who we are. In the past eight years, we’ve been able to have one- or two-day trips to 15 UK towns and cities, as well as numerous half-day outings to various parts of London. We’ve also had two- or three-day StreetTours to the following 11 European cities: Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Paris, Aachen, Barcelona, Stockholm, Dublin, Seville, Munich and Vienna.
The Vienna trip was just last week, and over the next few days each of us at UM will post one photo from the city along with a short commentary about why they chose it. I hope you enjoy the reflections and insights they provide.