By Dennis Rodwell

This booklet offers with the prognosis, diagnosis and service matters linked to concrete constructions. Definitions : conservation and sustainability -- Conservation : heritage -- city making plans context -- Sustainability : history -- Conservation : overseas tasks and instructions -- Conservation : uk place and instructions -- Sustainable towns and concrete tasks -- coping with international history towns : uk -- dealing with historical towns : the bottom-up process -- The twist of fate among conservation and sustainability -- The problem and the chance -- resources -- Bibliography -- Index

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In 1968, at a time when the world population had reached three-and-a-half billion (it is now six-and-a-half billion and rising), Paul Ehrlich reignited this argument in his book The Population Bomb. Over the same two-century time frame, authors of fiction have also been painting nightmare visions: from Mary Shelley (1797–1851); through Aldous Huxley (1894–1963; grandson of Sir Patrick Geddes’ mentor, Thomas Huxley, and brother of the biologist Sir Julian Huxley, the first Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)); to George Orwell (1903–50; once a pupil of Aldous Huxley).

They were diffused with craft industries and traders – often integral with residential accommodation – and they housed mixed communities: always socially, and often, especially further east in Europe, by religion and ethnic origin. The market place was the focal point for trade, sited strategically within a city so as to serve its citizens best and to entice travellers passing through. Such cities related to their topography and enjoyed a balanced relationship to their locality – whether to the sea, rivers, forests or fields – and to the outlying communities that depended on them.

Between 1931 and 1961 the population of the Old Town of Edinburgh declined from 20,000 to 3,000. The road proposals were eventually abandoned and the whole street became the subject of another major programme, this time of upgrading and restoration. (Illustrated here: nos. 6 to 14 St Mary’s Street. ) 32 Conservation and Sustainability in Historic Cities visitor was reported as saying: ‘Here I stand at what is called the Cross of Edinburgh, and can, in a few minutes, take fifty men of genius and learning by the hand’.

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Conservation and sustainability in historic cities by Dennis Rodwell
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