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The Fight for Beauty: The Professor Sir Roland Smith CEO Lecture 2016

Fiona Reynolds

13 December 2016

The fight for beauty must be revived.

This was Dame Fiona Reynolds’ call to action as she embarked on a journey through the towns, cities and countryside of Britain during her presentation at Lancaster University's annual Professor Sir Roland Smith CEO Lecture at the Royal Institute for British Architects in London.

Warmly welcomed by both Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE, and Lancaster University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Mark Smith, Dame Fiona’s visually engaging presentation began with Wordsworth and the Lake District and ended with a powerful mandate for the future.

Dame Fiona Reynolds illustrated to the audience, the majority of whom were Lancaster University Alumni, that throughout history politicians, academics, conservationists, and campaigners have fought to incorporate beauty into our daily lives, however with the onslaught of urbanisation, industrialisation, and two World Wars, it has been pushed to the back of the agenda and needs to be prioritised once again.

Taking inspiration from Octavia Hill and John Ruskin, Dame Fiona Reynolds explained the importance of green spaces within urban developments, the preservation of our National parks, and ‘proper’ town and country planning.  

Dame Fiona Reynolds concluded her presentation with a powerful message – the economy is not the only measure of success in a modern world, and “GDP growth does not equal progresses.” Having better and more beautiful environments in which to live is also vital to developing a happier and healthy society.

Her call to arms invited the audience to begin locally by getting involved with grassroots conservation charities, local organisations, and council planning offices to ensure that the Fight for Beauty continues to be fought. 

Listen to the talk.