The future growth of Milton Keynes is under discussion, as the town's council considers its response to the government's South East Plan following a period of public consultation this summer. So it is fitting that Milton Keynes Gallery (MKG), which puts on some quite enterprising art shows, is due to open a new project space tomorrow (1 December) with screenings of a 1970 film by architect and urbanist Mike Macrae called A City Begins With People. It looks at the early days of Milton Keynes, with footage of the public consultation that took place then, as the development corporation's roadshows toured what were still just villages and presented their optimistic graphics.
The new project space is at Margaret Powell Square, Midsummer Boulevard, and its future exhibitions will be concerned in some way or another with the built environment. Mike Macrae will be in conversation there on Saturday 2 December at 1pm ( www. mk-g. org). Meanwhile, the gallery's artist-in-residence Peter David Hamilton, whose interests lie in 'design and public space', is inviting people to send him images of Milton Keynes from 1967 onwards, to contribute to his latest project (tel. 01908 558 305).
As MKG adds an ancillary space, Portsmouth's Aspex gallery moves into a new one, opening on 2 December. Glenn Howells Architects has converted a wing of the early 19thcentury Vulcan Building at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth Harbour - a large naval storehouse which could easily have featured in The Functional Tradition. The opening exhibition, Is Britain Great? , 'showcases ordinary and extraordinary details of life in 21st-century Britain' ( www. aspex. org. uk).
Naval architecture of a different kind is the basis of Stephen Turner's contribution to Theatrum Mundi: Performance Architecture, at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland from 8 December to 3 February. Turner spent six weeks last year on the long-derelict Shivering Sands fort complex off the Kent coast (above left) - 'It's a world of iron oxide now, ' he says. Also of note in the Sunderland exhibition are James Carrigan's mobile constructions - 'kinetic sculpture at the scale of architecture' (above right).