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Masterplanning Futures

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On 7 October 2008 Lucy Bullivant gave her third lecture at the Institut d'Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya (IAAC), Barcelona, about the ideals and processes of contemporary masterplans, the topic of her next book.

Rafael Viñoly Architects: aerial view of his masterplan for Battersea Power Station, London, a scheme announced in June 2008 that reinvents the site - the largest of its kind in the city - with a mix of uses and a new-build, green energy 'Eco-Dome'.

While spatial masterplans for cities historically set their physical structure and form, today's masterplanners attempt to bring about on a more holistic basis the physical, social and economic revival of urban centres or districts. Their work is optimally part of a participatory, multidisciplinary process, and counteracts laissez-faire attitudes towards planning with various forms of urban identity management. For some planners, strengthening social equality of citizens is central to this process, while in other cases differentiating a 'must visit' destination and diversifying land uses is of highest priority. Whether top down or more bottom-up in attitude, masterplanners are more likely nowadays not to prescribe a rigid blueprint, but instead aim to incubate the future.