John F.C. Turner

Email for John FC Turner

Born in London in 1927, I was schooled in England and trained as an architect. I have worked mainly in the field of housing.

Reoriented by working with self-managing home and neighbourhood builders in Peru (1957-65), I have learnt that what matters in housing are the relationships between people, activity and place. Before leaving South America, I prepared a publication and the script of a documentary film showing how much more people can do than can be done for them, with so much less when free to decide and act for themselves. Opportunities followed to observe and interpret the same facts in other contexts, to write at Joint Center for Urban Studies in Cambridge, Mass, and then teach at MIT (1965-73), subsequently in London at the Architectural Association and the Development Planning Unit, University College (1974-83).

Between 1984 and 1988, my partner Beth and I tried to set up a "tools for community building" service; this failed but led to the preparation of Habitat International Coalition's project to the UN International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, 1987.

In 1989 we moved to Hastings, a South Coast town, where I volunteered help with what has become the Hastings (local development) Trust. The Trust now hosts Tools for Community Regeneration, which is being piloted locally as a precedent for adaptation to other contexts.

Selected Bibliography

John F.C. Turner's Talk

Sept 16 2000: Tools for Community Builders

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