About the Urban Peripheries Unit

Urban Peripheries: from individual experience to collective space

We were a Masters (fifth year) unit at the Dundee School of Architecture in 2007/08 this is our shared blog.

We were: Lorens Holm (tutor); Ian Harrison (tutor); Aidan Williams; Alex Wilson; Bob Donnachie; Cairn Macdonald; Calum Brander; Kenneth Dick; Lorraine Lydon; Mirembe Kifumba; Nadeem Mughal; Patricia Pinheiro; Ryan Richardson; Wes Brownlee;

Our goal is to formulate strategies of engagement with the public realm, and to do it through design projects. The public realm includes public space; it also includes other forums for democracy, the paradigm for which remains public spaces for gathering (agora + stoa) but which includes other sorts of domains that might not, on first blush, be seen to be spatial.

We wanted to develop a studio culture in which collaborative discussion and critique support individual project work, using group workshops, seminars, round table discussion to define:

  • agendas and critical issues,
  • appropriate sites and programs, and
  • design strategies and methods.

We will consider questions of:

4. Place: the qualities and identities of city spaces
3. Inhabitation: how we live in cities, city life and experience, civility, socialisation, crime
2. Communication: social networks and infrastructure
1. Subjectivity: the who-I-am and the what-its-like-for-me



  1. ok just to introduce what i will be doing for the year, my ideas have already gone a bit mad as aidan will know

    firstly in relation to our recent conversations on the possible idenification of a space or place which is unappreciated or unoccupied i have investigated and had conversations on the phone with my father regarding this. Already he has indicated a small plot adjacent to his own land which is neither owned nor occupied by anyone. He himself has investigated the possibility of acquiring it but was distraught to find the cost of legally acquiring it would be vastly in excess of its worth. This is partially due to the fact that it is situated on a steep slope at the edge of a cliff of a river gorge and because it is covered in dense vegetation. Its a scenic place and is overlooked by a number of heron nests, within a few hundred yards of two ancient mounds left behind by hill forts(commonly known as raths)

    The ease with which i located a plot was surprising however this seems to have fed my deep seated urge for power as i immediately began dreaming of declaring it an independant state named Weztonia and appointing myself ruler.
    That was until i realised that such a state may be self-sufficient in regards to timber, hazelnuts, squirrels and perhaps natural wildflowers(e.g. bluebells) but would have to import all other resources making it dependant on the UK and Ireland. Currently i have been considering an ancient feudal system of government but i am curious as to suggestions which you may have. Especially as to whether the Weztonian’s should consider joining the European Union to exploit the financial incentives given to developing countries.

    Secondly I will be progressing with my research into the Architecturally significant buildings within Armagh and the “image of the City” whilst investigating it more dynamically using a range of different methods


  2. I wouldn’t worry about the EU Wes I think you might have some problems meeting the copenhagen criteria especially if you have your heart set on the feudal system. I would concentrate on getting UN membership first. See Danny Wallace’s attempts at http://www.citizensrequired.com

    Lorens will be sending out some submission requirements soon to keep you busy with your new rural nation.

  3. Dear Wesley,

    I think you’re idea is phenomenal and very interesting.
    what type of philosophy is behind this new independant state your claiming? I like the idea of self-sufficient and a enviromental friendly state where the people will produce enough to survive and maintain the land free of toxics. Is a bit of hippie spirit, which nowadays is very much claimed by the new ages members. Living for the day and ignoring the capitalist society that are only exploiting the earth. The planet health is not considered in most cases in the making of places.
    I actually have a friend who is thinking in creating a colony in Brazil only for people who wants to live for the day… no money will exist in this “territory” he is going to buy.People will build their own dwellings harmoniuos to the local materials of the site and in scale.
    I know that in Brazil as you know many people is very very poor, the lack of oporttunities make people to be homelless. There is this “without land” movement is all over Brazil creating enormous political problems, as homeless people are owning lands ilegally and creating independant states ruled by themselfs. This territorries are normally called “favelas” in the Brazil and in Rio de Janeiro, the capital are the most famous.
    I am talking about a serious of thinks that come to my mind about your comment, hope is of any help.
    So if you like drugs and want to live for the day you’re more then welcome to my friend colony 🙂

    good luck

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