|Aerial view 1970s|
|Shipquay Street (Mark Lusby)|
|Above: The Fountain, below: Bogside|
|Above: Peace Bridge, below: Ebrington|
If the purpose of the Academy of Urbanism is to learn from place, Derry was an outstanding choice for the 2012 Congress. Difficult, ambiguous, admirable and infuriating in equal measure, the city falls short of the European benchmark for good urbanism in all kinds of ways. But Derry has triumphed over adversity to become a better, happier and more optimistic place than it was ten years ago. It is salutary to read the account of the city in the 1979 Buildings of Ireland volume, with the walls occupied as a military camp and the bombers – and planners – wreaking daily damage on the urban fabric.[iii] Derry is still a difficult and troubled place and the wounds of the recent past are, understandably, still raw but it has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Now the city needs to translate its proven resilience into a credible plan for sustainable prosperity. It will be a huge challenge but Derry has made a brave start.