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Katherine Shonfield

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The Guardian seems to think that the Naughties (or the 00s, pronounced, 'Oooohs!', depending on your inclinations), are going to ditch individualism in favour of the community. I must have blinked round about 1990, as I could swear people said that then. This time the paper is helping things on their way via 100 proddings in the right direction. They read like the self-help manual version of the Urban Task Force's report: walk up escalators; have a street party, etc; along with exhortations, such as 'paint the outside of your house for the pleasure of those walking past' and 'go out, don't stay in'. They have one thing in common. They are all about Outside.

Switch to the one thing that's happened in the past fortnight. What wasn't predicted was the staggeringly large numbers of people who gathered in all our cities to enjoy a spectacle. While in the doyen of inside spaces, the Dome, the nagging feeling that the real party was goingon elsewhere prevailed, tired old London - that much-berated Outside - is a winner every time.

What London needs, the liberal mayoral candidate suddenly declares, are those things which make it work as an outside space: more public transport, public lavatories, food outlets which let you eat in the street.

The signs are beginning to appear that, after two centuries of retreat into increasingly muggy, sealed-up and over-cooked interiors: Out is good.

Not the woeful plans of the 1980s crammed into would-be picturesque exteriors, but external plans. Not a backdrop, but the careful design of all the functions and prerequisites of an inhabitable and beautiful city met first, before the particularities of the inside.

The message to architects is now clear: Inside follows Outside.

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