...in the bottom drawer
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currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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February 05, 2006 || 8:22 pm
Open your eyes

I've been following Go Magazine's campaign to make Sheffield's cooling towers into Britain's biggest public artwork and the other day, I came across their more expanded manifesto for the future of Sheffield. In the clearest possible way, they say exactly the same things that we try to persuade our clients of, whether in Canning Town or Dorset - "If you want a city strategy, all you need to do is open your eyes."

"It seems obvious to us: if you want your city to be famous, you have to make it different to other places. The greenery, the music, the friendliness: these make it different to other cities. So it's these that could draw people to Sheffield, make it a place to visit, an individual city...A strategy for the city has to be based on these things. It's the only way to make Sheffield stand out. All the brilliant plus points of Sheffield that you and I see every day, the things that make us love our city, brought to the fore instead of brushed under the carpets. This city could be amazing."

Their strategy is based on a few simple things based in the intrinsic character of Sheffield - Green City, Music City, Modern City, Punk City. The language that they are using is much more up-front, ballsy and, dare I say, effective than the kind of language that we use at work, which tried perhaps too hard sometimes to be serious enough to be taken seriously by the men in suits. (Of course, they aren't in this instance trying to suggest actual spatial strategies, masterplans, policies or programmes - which is where most or our bureaucrat-speak probably comes in, at least we hope.) But here's a bunch of people with genuine passion for the city, a intimate and wonderful knowledge of its every strange and beautiful corner and a whole load of great ideas for what to do about it.

All I hope is that, as Jeremy Till beat us to the British Pavilion in the Venice architecture biennale this year with the concept of doing Sheffield (rather than our utterly ace and totally timely idea about getting radical with the countryside), he's calling these kids up. Or if the kids read this, hope you call him up, sharpish.

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