3 Jun 2008

The 'new me' says I should stop taking pot shots at the Irish Times. Because, when you’re cocking a snoot at the Times for their planning/environment coverage you are, let’s face it, taking a pop at Frank McDonald. Which isn’t fair. Because, no matter how much you/I disagree with his more recently published views on planning chose divers, Frank really does deserve credit for shining a light on what was happening planning-wise in this country during the 70s and 80s. I’m not joking here – no matter what you think or say, he deserves credit for that. It will be his legacy. As legacies go, you could do a lot worse.

On the other hand…  What in the name of the Lord is this 'Academy of Urbanism' the IT has been reporting on for the past while? From what I can tell it’s an organisation that purports to, in some way, seek out and promote the world's best examples of urban design and invariably finds them.. on Blackpool pier. 

It's the beginning for a short week and I'm feeling sporty, so let’s play a game called Spot The Difference.

This years Academy of Urbanism award winners were announced in the Times a couple of weeks back. What I want you all to do is read the actual award's coverage as it appeared in the Times, then read the version below in which I’ve cunningly introduced some potentially humorous differences. See how many you spot. Here’s the original:


Here's the one with the subtle changes:

NOT ONE of the six Irish nominees for the Academy of Urbanism’s awards this year has survived on the shortlist, which was announced last night at a gala, red carpet event at the Cutlers’ Hall in, eh, Sheffield.

Both Belfast and Cork had been nominated for the Great World City award, but the two chosen by a vote of members of the academy were Hull and Wolverhampton.

Killester was in the running for the Great 'Ester’ Award, but instead the academy chose the English towns, Chichester, Chester, Manchester, Cirencester, Rochester, Gloucester, Dorchester, Towcester, Leicester and Winchester.

Rathmines, described as “a vibrant place just outside Dublin city centre with a unique history, beautiful garden squares, splendid public buildings and a beautiful Victorian architectural heritage”, was another Irish also-ran.

It lost out to the “bustling” Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, the Lace Market in Nottingham and the Stockbridge in Edinburgh for the 'For Every Cappuccino Joint There’s A Dodgy Internet Café' award.

Donegall Street/Royal Avenue in Belfast lost out to two famous streets in London – upmarket Kensington High Street and Portobello Road in the 'Hanging Baskets Hide a Multitude of Sins' award.

Mayor Square in Dublin’s Docklands was among 10 nominees for the Public Place Nobody’s Ever Heard of Award, but it was omitted in favour of some even less recognisable nonentities called Crosby Beach which is by all accounts sort of near Liverpool; and something called North Lanes which you’ll find at the junction of the M6 and the M something else.

The Academy chose Hadrian's Wall and Newcastle's Byker over the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China, the Wailing Wall and the Walls of Jericho in the Iconic Walls award. 

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