Urban Realm Volume 11.45

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We begin the story by marking the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, a test case for how modernism would survive an apocalypse the area is now in the running for UNESCO World Heritage status.

Closer to home we speak to photojournalist Chris Leslie to mark the 25-culmination of efforts to document the recovery of the Balkans from genocide through imagery that is both haunting and beautiful.

It’s a crisis of a more immediate and political kind which has been vexing architects recently, we ask what impact Brexit has had in the first months since Britain’s formal departure from the European Union.

Global events naturally command the greatest attention but it is the personal connections that make the biggest impact. It is with sadness therefore that we mark the passing of urbanist and friend Willie Miller, direct from those who knew him best. A steadying influence at even the most cantankerous charette Miller bequeaths a lasting legacy in the form of his eponymous urban design practice.

We dedicate this issue to his memory.


  • UR100
    Urban Realm is dusting off our biggest industry survey as we look to cap a turbulent year by identifying those practices which have done most to establish a more sustainable, resilient and happier built environment.
  • Chernobyl and Pripyat
    To coincide with the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and Ukraine's bid for UNESCO world heritage status for Chernobyl and Pripyat we reappraise Soviet architecture and specifically how modernism survives in those unique circumstances.
  • Exploring Edinburgh
    With Edinburgh's once-flourishing tourism industry still in hiatus, Robin Ward ventures off the beaten track to conduct a photographic tour of a city temporarily at peace from the visiting hordes.
  • Interior Design
    The return of our interior design focus explores where the profession is headed in a post-pandemic world. Has time spent indoors reframed client priorities on space and utility? We reach out to the industry in search of answers.
  • Yorkhill Quay
    A flurry of announcements suggest that Glasgow’s centre of gravity is belatedly returning to a river which had fallen from an artery of empire to a backwater. With concerted efforts are underway to reposition the waterway as a blue corridor of active travel, commerce and homes one project stands out for looking to the past as much as the future. A towering tribute to the ocean liners which once ploughed its waters and which linger still in the collective memory of the city.
  • Brexit
    A transition period in Britain’s departure from the European Union may have passed at the start of the year but the implications are only just making themselves felt. From recruitment to procurement we look at the implications for individuals, practices and the profession at large, in an attempt to disentangle the ramifications for architecture from that other great crisis, by sounding out sentiments thus far. How does reality shape-up against referendum rhetoric?
  • Holmlea Primary
    An historic school in Glasgow’s south side has been brought back from the brink courtesy of an enlightened developer and architect. Delivering more than homes the story of its revival serves as a template for rescuing other abandoned schools which are now on the brink.
  • Willie Miller
    The shock passing of Willie Miller, principal of Willie Miller Urban Design, on 12 January left the world of urbanism a poorer place. Popular for his straight talking, dry wit and eye for a down at heel telephone exchange, miller played a lead role in the regeneration of communities from Prestwick to Kirkwall. Now colleagues rally to remember a life well lived and ensure his legacy lives on.
  • Permitted Development
    Following a Scottish Government consultation paper proposing the extension of permitted development rights to facilitate the conversion of existing agricultural buildings to residential use and commercial use, we explore the ramifications for repurposing derelict buildings and boosting the rural population.

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