Alan J. Simpson

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

streets space and society

streets space and society

Alan Jackson Simpson - Professor of Architecture and Urbanism

alan j simpson architect?has worked across the UK, in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States, with national and local government agencies, universities, community and business interest groups, and?interdisciplinary professional teams, brought together to respond to critical urban, social, and economic problems and opportunities. He led the creation and application of the Yorkshire (UK) Urban Renaissance and Town Team Programs.

He is currently working on the creation and application of Urban Renaissance and New City Beautiful strategies; on charrette approaches to working with and for local communities; and on workshop based educational and training programs through Urban Renaissance, and New City Beautiful methodologies.

professor alan j simpson has led innovative academic teaching and research initiatives at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne; University of Liverpool; University College London; the Mackintosh School of Architecture Glasgow; Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Pittsburgh Pennsylvania; and the ReMaking Cities Institute (RCI) at CMU Pittsburgh Pa


Projects and Publications:

York New City Beautiful (2010)

York New City Beautiful

York Urban Strategy (2009)

York Urban Strategy


Architecture, Urbaninsm and Community

Architecture, Urbaninsm Community Lectures

South Yorkshire National Park (Cover)

SYNational Park

Renaissance Towns

Renaissance Towns


Regional Renaissance - Towns, Beginnings

Renaissance Towns Beginnings


Regional Renaissance - Visions, Actions, Realities

Renaissance Towns Visions, Actions, Realities (2004)

Regional Renaissance - The Walk the Talk

Regional Renaissance
The Walk The Talk



Cityscape - Streets for People

Cityscape - Streets for People
Newcastle upon Tyne
RIBA (1996)

Townscape - Streets for People

Townscape - Streets for People
RIBA (1998)


Remaking Cities Institute

Remaking Cities Institute

Remaking Cities

Remaking Cities

All cities are ideas ultimately. They create themselves and the rest of the world acknowledges them accordingly, or ignores them.

The Vision for York offers challenges; it challenges the practice of preparing economic strategies without supporting urban strategies through which new economic futures can be delivered; it challenges the role of city authorities in their governance and leadership in the creation and delivery of long term strategic visions; and it challenges the degree to which city authorities and their resident business and amenity communities are simultaneously engaged in the delivery of long term strategic plans – through partnership.

Lessons from the past have inspired the work– the City Beautiful and Urban Renaissance experiences in particular. We have married them with best practice in vision making through the engagement of community and business interests, and we have learnt from elsewhere through precedents studies demonstrating successful economic, cultural and urban strategies. It is – as yet – rarely understood that the economic success of towns and cities is reliant upon so many characteristics in the urban setting beyond the purely economic.

Economies are not isolated components within cities, but are essentially a part of the richness and complexities that comprise cities and city life. Economies are reliant upon the culture and traditions of cities; reliant upon the efficiency of the place – of its streets as arteries for movement – pedestrian and vehicular; reliant upon its public places and spaces as settings for public life – their accessibility and attraction; and most of all reliant upon the city's communities and civic life – its people and their ability to pursue rich and meaningful lives in business, in the day to day life of the place, and its public amenity – places for play and pleasure set against healthy and beautiful surroundings.

York has grown and changed since the mid twentieth century when the city was a very different place to the one we see today. Long recognized for its historic and archaeological significance York in the 1960's was a 'smaller' place than it is today – certainly in terms of population. York was at that time a city far from the international tourist trail it sits on today; without the university now ranked in the top 100 in the world; without the quality shopping centre we now see; and without the ambition current within the city to become more widely recognized for its culture and its physical attraction - its beauty; for its ability to do good business in a growing economy; to teach and carry out research at the highest level; and to welcome and entertain the visitor in a manner most UK towns and cities fail to achieve.

Amongst many great cities around the world from which York can learn, none improve upon the rich mix of history, tradition and culture York has displayed over time, never more so than it displays today, nor in its potential to do yet better tomorrow – economically, culturally, and as a place of beauty.

The last such exercise in forward planning for the City of York was the Esher Plan (1969) – a study in conservation, when Bath, Chester, Chichester and York were the subject of the government-driven Four Towns Study. This next visionary plan-making exercise is a major opportunity for York. The City of York Council recognizes that quality of place matters to businesses making decisions about where to locate and invest; matters to residents as a living place and a place to live; and matters to the visitor – to enjoy, to learn, to invest and to come back.

The business community in York called for a master plan for the future of the city – a plan that sets out a long-term vision. This vision for York responds and will focus the growing debate. In so doing a twenty- first century layer in the history of York will emerge predicated upon the city's future economy, culture and physical setting – a rediscovered York reaffirming its importance nationally and internationally a city with a vision of the future – for the twenty first century – a New City Beautiful.