How to make creative cities — from buildings to buses

ideas.ted.com

Thomas Heatherwick, photographed by Evan Chavez. Thomas Heatherwick, photographed by Evan Chavez.

“I am in love with cities,” says British designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick (TED Talk: Building the seed cathedral). “It’s just incredible that we all live together, and together we add up to something incredibly rich.” Heatherwick has already come up with some pretty bold urban designs — including a garden-topped bridge across the River Thames, and London’s sleek new red city buses, wrapped in ribbons of glass. Here, the soft-spoken, 45-year-old architect describes how to bring a human scale and whimsical sensibility to urban life, to create a fabulous future fit for us all.

Every city has a unique chemistry. “We have a duty to protect the idiosyncrasies we discover in each city, and not treat them like luxuries,” Heatherwick says. Preserving that richness is a foundational philosophy for his London studio, founded in 1994 and now with a staff of 160 and design projects in metropolitan areas…

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