John Thorp – The Dynamics of the City

As part of the Open City event, John Thorp drew upon his experience as Leeds’ Civic Architect to present a view of city planning as the product of collaboration and partnership working. He described his approach as a process of weaving, collage or ‘urban dentistry’, which is underpinned by a concern with the materials, geography and history of a place, and a belief that the forming of cities is a collective undertaking. He talked about how he viewed the relationship between the various circles, or districts, of a city as pieces of a jigsaw – part of a large mosaic, rather than individual ‘zones’. These pieces form a ‘collage city’, consisting of a collection of different pieces. Understanding their relationships is, for him, part of the urban design process.