My first visit to the Netherlands has taken me to the historic city of Haarlem, located to the west of Amsterdam. Here there are several multigenerational 'Centraal Wonen' projects. Centraal Wonen translates as 'Central Living'. In the UK we use the term 'cohousing' which follows the US who coined the term 'cohousing' when bringing the concept to America in the late 1980's.
I met Prince Charles recently in Wales. Joined by my colleague, journalist-historian Hywel Williams, the two of us were invited to meet the Prince of Wales at Coed Darcy, where a small group of guests had been invited to see how Neath Port Talbot council, BP, the Welsh assembly and developers St Modwen are trying to turn one of Europe's biggest brownfield sites into a healthy, flourishing community.
Just as we are what we eat, I believe we are what we are surrounded by. The art of place-making was all but dead, as was the skill of creating genuine communities rather than rather soulless housing estates, until I determined to revive these timeless skills over 25 years ago. Although it seems misunderstood, my concern for design is part of a much wider concern about the impact places have on the people who live or work in or around them. My concern is for the built environment as a whole and how that environment affects the way people feel and live.
In this morning's press conference, Sou Fujimoto recalls his dream of making an architectural installation at the Serpentine Gallery which this Saturday will be officially realised upon the pavilion's public opening. Inspired by the trees and people of Kensington Gardens, Fujimoto strives to create an 'artificial geometry'.
With chilly February extending into an equally frigid March, I think longingly of our recent trip to one of my favourite cities - sunny Seville, the exquisite capital of Andalucia in southern Spain. Only a short flight from the UK, followed by a short taxi ride, Seville is an ideal weekend destination.