Building the 21st Century Home: The Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood - 1999 Edition

The front cover
The front cover
The Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood
The Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood
A Copenhagen Street
A Copenhagen Street
Project date
  • Publication
  • Research
The Architectural Press
Associated team members
Associated documents

Throughout the second half of the 1990s we spent a lot of our time undertaking research and writing on urbanism. It was a time when the debate about urban design and development raged between those like ourselves who believed in cities and those that were content with the dispersal and suburbanisation of new housing in the name of consumer choice.

The first piece of work was the 21st Century Homes action research project for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which looked at the type of housing required for the coming century. We came up with the 4 'C's; Choice, Conservation, Community and Cost as a structure for looking at the influences on new housing and suggested a new model urban form - the Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood or SUN. This work was expanded in the late 1990s through research for the UK Government, the EU, Friends of the Earth and the Housing Corporation. It therefore seemed a good idea to bring all of this work together with our original Joseph Rowntree Foundation report to produce a book.

This took a long time but was eventually published by The Architectural Press (Butterworth Hienemann) in 1999. It was well received at the time (see review comments below) and went through two reprints selling around 4,000 copies in the UK, the US and Australia. It has subsequently been translated into Chinese and as far as I know is still available there.

The second edition of the English version of the book will be out later in 2009. It has been out of print for a number of years and the publisher has been pressing us to do an updated version. Looking through the original it was clear that things had moved on to such an extent that it needed more of a rewrite, rather than an edit and pressures of work meant that this has taken longer than we or our publishers would have liked.

We continue to get requests for the book and know that students still make use of the copies in University Libraries. So in advance of the new edition we have made available this web based version of the 1999 edition.

Published by - Architectural Press, An imprint of Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, A division of Reed Educational and Professional Publishing Ltd. First published 1999 © URBED 1999 ISBN 0 7506 2528 7

Some Book reviews:

‘Building the 21st Century Home is the best analysis I have read of the crisis of the contemporary British City... This book offers a chance to rethink our priorities, break the cycle of decline and to create sustainable cities suitable for citizens’. Lord Rogers of Riverside Chairman Urban Task Force

‘There are many books published now with a revisionist urban program but Rudlin and Falk’s is one of the best and most comprehensive’. Joe Holyoak Writing in AJ 12th August 1999

‘This book says some good things and some things that in my view are quite misguided but all of it is interesting. Every British planner should read it forthwith’. Professor Sir Peter Hall Writing in Town and Country Planning

‘Leading protagonists of a burgeoning cult of the city… URBED know their subject intimately, put it across with lucid arguments, copious examples, fascinating statistics and attractive illustrations’. The Land is Ours Autumn 1999

‘A reference to this book would have cut at least 100 pages from the Urban Task Force Report’. Will Howie HouseBuilder Sept. 1999

‘The authors have integrated a range of concerns into a well structured argument which will be hard to rebut – though one could easily think of some who will try to do so. The very weight and intellectually respectable nature of the book signifies a case to answer’. Timothy Cantell Writing in the Royal Society of Arts Journal

‘An excellent and very valuable contribution to the necessary new thinking on urban planning and development’. David Walton Llewelyn-Davies

‘Those in the planning, housing and associated professions who see the need for new thinking on [renewing and repopulating cities] would do well to read this book. Maybe even politicians of all shades might benefit from considering its message’ Anthony Goss Planning for the Natural and Built Environment

‘The Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood goes to the heart of what we are trying to do across this department and across government’. Dinah Nichols Director General Environmental Protection DETR


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