In this new paperback edition of Britain's Changing Towns (1967), introduced, edited and updated by Owen Hatherley in 2013 these essays show Nairn writing about cities and towns as wholes rather than as collections of individual buildings. In each of them, there are several things happening at once - assessments of historic townscape, capsule reviews of new buildings, attempts to find the specific character of each place. Hatherley can dish it out with the best of Nairn when it comes to detailing the dreadful regeneration programmes, empty civic boosterism, shoddy shopping malls, PFI hospitals, and cheap volume house-building schemes which have continued to blight these towns and cities since the 1960s, which Nairn presciently anticipated.
AUTHOR: IAN NAIRN was a former Royal Air Force pilot without formal architecture qualifications. In 1955 he coined the term Subtopia to describe his prophetic vision of an architecturally homogenised Britain. In the 1960s Nairn contributed to Nikolaus Pevsner's Buildings of England series and published Nairn's London and Nairn's Paris. He later moved into television, producing Nairn's Travels and Nairn Across Britain for the BBC. He died in 1983 aged 53.OWEN HATHERLEY is a London-based writer and journalist writing primarily on architecture, politics and culture. Hatherley has written for Building Design, The Guardian, Icon, the London Review of Books, New Humanist, the New Statesman, Socialist Review and Socialist Worker.