Festival of the Future City Bath

19 Oct 2017 – 21 Oct 2017

Event times

Varying across the festival.

Cost of entry


The Edge

Bath, United Kingdom


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Exciting arts and creativity hub, The Edge will host three days of talks, walks and workshops across the city centre looking at urban development in the 21st Century.


With a focus on the complexities of a place like Bath, a city similar to Venice with UNESCO world heritage status, how should cities reinvigorate their character and economy when looking to the future?

Thanks to the master planning of John Wood Senior and Junior in the 19th Century, Bath could rightly claim to be one of the UK’s first future cities.  But could it really make that claim today? Is there a city in the UK, or in the world that can?

In sync with the Festival of Future City in Bristol, the Bath programme explores three principal themes: Housing, The Artist and the City plus Great Architecture, both locally and globally.  Join a variety of hosts and speakers – leading thinkers, writers, architects, artists and more – as they help signpost the way.  Speakers include renowned socialist film director Ken Loach, architect Alison Brooks, chief curator at the Design Museum Justin McGuirk and author Anna Minton.

Jamie Eastman, Director of Arts, University of Bath comments, We are delighted to be hosting the first ever Festival of the Future City Bath, both in the city centre and here at the university.  An agile city environment has the capacity to conjure positive conditions for many and I look forward to providing the opportunity for everyone to join the conversation.

Director Ken Loach comments, Like football, Bath is a city of two halves. Can we create an integrated community in this very special place? There’s a mood in the air for change. How can that be reflected here?

The festival will feature three days of talks and events looking at a different issue each day outlined as follows:

The Utopian City

Thursday 19th October, 3pm-9pm, Various locations

Events suggesting how utopian thinking could develop our cities, and what utopian aspects are already in place. Including ‘Walking Utopia’ a walk around Bath with writer and critic Owen Hatherley – author of A Guide To The New Ruins Of Great Britain and an evening of PechaKucha presentations on ‘Liveable Cities’.

Whose City Is It?

Friday 20th October, 1pm-6.30pm, Assembly Rooms Bath

Taking in the complexities of a place like Bath we look at the local question of future city. What are the best ways to develop an ecosystem for all to contribute economically, and benefit by return? Is public space an answer? Explore the challenges of preserving architectural heritage whilst creating new buildings and welcoming new populations with leading architect Alison Brooks’ (Bath Western Riverside housing scheme), Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, Andrew Vines of Historic England, Jim Heverin, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects and more.

The Creative City

Saturday 21st October, 12.30pm-5.30pm, The Edge

What makes a city a great place to live? Explore global radical housing solutions, the city as artistic inspiration and 21st Century design. Speakers during the day include Stuart Woods (Thomas Heatherwick Studio, Garden Bridge project) Anna Minton (Big Capital), Alex Vasudevan (The Autonomous City), The Design Museum’s Justin McGuirk and artist Rut Blees Luxemburg a photographer and installation artist focusing on urban space.

Talks will include:

Owen Hatherley – Architecture and Utopia (A Walk in the City of Bath)

Thursday 19th October, 3pm-5pm, Bath

A unique walk around Bath on the trail of architecture and utopia.

Ken Loach

Friday 20th October, 7.30pm-8.30pm, Bath Assembly Rooms

Ken Loach presents his vision for the city of Bath, his home for many years.

Jim Heverin (Zaha Hadid Architects), Andrew Vines, Roz Barr and Guests: Imagining the Future

Friday 20th October, 5pm-6.30pm, Bath Assembly Rooms

Looking at how new buildings can transform historical environments in the city.

Justin McGuirk, Anna Minton, Alex Vasudevan: Housing in the Future City

Saturday 21st October, 12.30pm-1.45pm, The Edge

Debating how good quality homes are vital for a successful future city.

Alison Brooks, Henrietta Billings, Tanvir Hasan: Preserving Utopia

Friday 20th October, 1pm-2.30pm, Bath Assembly Rooms

Leading architects and thinkers ponder Bath as a 21st century city.

What makes great architecture?

Saturday 21st October, 4-5.30pm, The Edge

Tackling the question, what are the essential ingredients that make great architecture?

Rut Blees Luxemburg, Melanie Manchot: The Artist and the City

Saturday 21st October, 2.30pm-3.45pm, The Edge

Looking at how architecture and urban space inspire the work of contemporary artists.

With thanks to Bath & North East Somerset Council, RIBA Architecture, Lovell Stone Group, Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund.  Festival of the Future City Bath is part of Festival of the Future City 2017, in association with Bristol Festival of Ideas

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