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The green between the grey: The countryside in the city

Park in the city Park in the city Photo: Professor Ken Worpole

CPRE's series of six connected symposia will examine the powerful interplay between the countryside, and its urban partner. Come on a journey through concentric circles, from the heart of the modern city, into the suburbs, edgelands, and green belt, and out to the modern countryside, discussing these different landscapes: their history, their transformation, and the way we move through them today.


Writer and Senior Professor at The Cities Institute, Ken Worpole, joins Dr Anna Jorgensen, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield and author of Urban Wildscapes, to discuss the greening of urban spaces. This event examines the diverse mix of green spaces in the city: royal and municipal parks, allotments, community gardens, city farms, playing fields, cricket pitches, recreation grounds, heaths, commons, waterways, woods, stately houses, churchyards, cemeteries, and squares. Is the countryside a repository of longing and illusion for city dwellers? Does greening cities make them more liveable places? Does green space in the city contribute to social renewal? Does it reduce antisocial behaviours and provide an alternative to surveillance society? Are green spaces good for our health?


Professor Ken Worpole

Professor Ken WorpoleProfessor Ken Worpole is the author of many books on social policy, landscape and architecture. He was a member of the UK government's Urban Green Spaces Task Force, and an Adviser to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). His  books include, Here Comes the Sun: architecture and public space in 20th century European culture (2001), Last Landscapes: the architecture of the cemetery in the West (2003), and most recently, Modern Hospice Design: the architecture of palliative care (2009). He has also worked with the photographer, Jason Orton, on 350 Miles: An Essex Journey (2005), an exploration of the coastal and estuary landscapes of that county, along with a number of other landscape studies. He is currently a Senior Professor at The Cities Institute, London Metropolitan University.

Listen Professor Ken Worpole speech

Professor Ken Worpole's website


Dr Anna Jorgensen

Dr Anna JorgensenDr Anna Jorgensen is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield. She is the editor of a book entitled Urban Wildscapes, published by Routledge in 2011, and an associate editor of the academic journal Landscape Research. She teaches Landscape Planning and Design at undergraduate through to postgraduate level. Her research focuses on the aesthetics, meaning and function of the urban green, with a particular interest in wild urban spaces.

Listen Dr Anna Jorgensen speech

Dr Anna Jorgensen's website


Coming up in the series

Little boxes: Suburbia
31 October 2012
Head of LSE Housing & Communities, Professor Anne Power, and author of Making Sense of Suburbia Through Popular Culture, Dr Rupa Huq explore suburban society.

Edgelands: Unofficial countryside
7 November 2012
Poets Professor Michael Symmons Roberts and Professor Paul Farley, co-authors of Edgelands: Journeys into England’s True Wilderness join Marion Shoard, author of the award-winning essay Edgelands to discuss the role of wildness in urban landscapes.

Green belt and braces: Green girdles
14 November 2012
Writer, geographer, and CPRE Vice President Nick Crane discusses the role and nature of the Green Belt with Cedric Hoptroff, Secretary of the London Green Belt Council.

Created countryside: unnatural nature
21 November 2012
Professor Anthony O'Hear, author of the essay The Myth of Nature and Howard Davies, Chief Executive of the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, talk about managed landscapes, and close the series.

Reserve your free place on talks coming up
Book online: The country and the city

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