Learning Moments

January 3, 2013 - Michele

The Claddagh

Last year I was part of the assessment team for the Academy of Urbanism Great Town Award 2013. The winners are announced at the Awards Ceremony in November, so they can benefit from their award for a full year and Galway (pictured left) is the winner of the Great Town Award this year.

One of the real pleasures of being an academician is spending time with like-minded professionals who all share a passion for understanding what makes great urban places and helping to shape them. The AOU is not just about tourism but it’s clear from the shortlist for the Great Towns Award this year – Falmouth, Galway and Shrewsbury – that tourism and the visitor economy are very much part of the identity and economy of these places. And of course it adds depth and value to look at tourism in a joined-up way as part of the social, cultural, economic, political and physical mix of a place.

The Academy of Urbanism Awards – there are five categories in total: great European city, great town, great neighbourhood, great street and great place – are all about celebrating success, as indeed are all awards. What makes these awards special is that they are also about learning from place.We all know what success looks like, what is more interesting and valuable to share with others is how success has been achieved.What are the vital ingredients, the dynamics and processes that make somewhere outstanding? And what is the next challenge, because places are constantly evolving and responding to external influences and stimuli; nowhere is ever ‘completed’.

The reports for each shortlisted place is a collaborative effort between all the assessment team and draws out Learning Moments, so that academicians and others can learn about new practices and ways of doing things from around the UK, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. The Academy is now sharing online summaries of some of the assessment reports. So take a look on the AOU site to find out more.

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