Urban Designer - Vernacular Architect - Maritime Planner - Owner-Builder - Servant of Piglet - Educator - Author - Revolutionary - Peacenik - Tour Guide 

Tony Watkins

 ~ Vernacular Design 

Peaceful Cities
Auckland Peace City Print E-mail

ImageIn the Arab world, where the streets are narrow and walled, you can put your door wherever you like along your frontage. When the person across the road builds they too can put their door wherever they want, but not opposite your door. It is a matter not only of courtesy. It avoids conflict.



Birth of the idea Print E-mail

ImageWe needed a powerful idea, which was simple enough to be easily communicated, able to be effectively implemented, and which could be translated into a hundred different languages without losing any of its impact.

In 1995 the "Habitat II" United Nations Conference was being branded as the "Cities Summit", in recognition of fact that soon more than half the world's population would be living in cities, and most of the problems the world would face in the next twenty years would also be in cities. The focus of the United Nations had always been on peace.

Putting the two ideas together gave us our concept and our agenda. "Peaceful cities."

This was a built environment idea rather than the rather vague notion that cities would support the theoretical idea of peace. It recognised that the way we build cities can make them places of peace or places of violence and conflict. It also challenged the accepted norm of architectural violence to place, landscape and heritage.

Traditional vernacular architecture was never violent. Developer-driven architecture almost always is.