Thursday, 21 October 2010

Reports of CABE's death greatly exaggerated?

CABE is severely threatened by the withdrawal of funding, but it appears that it is not actually being abolished, as many other quangos have been.

CABE is eleven years old. That is about the age that someone or other - the Spartans? - put their children out in the wild for a few days to see if they survived; and that seems to be the Government's attitude to CABE. Learning to forage will be the order of the day.

There has been a national design review programme in England since the 1920s - the Royal Fine Art Commission did the job before it was wound up and replaced by CABE in 1999. If you went back and looked at the RFAC's judgements about projects in the 1950s, 1970s or 1990s, you'd find much the same issues being discussed in much the same way as in CABE's reviews now. Peer review is peer review, and it's generally a good thing.

CABE has always promoted the value of good design - taking various senses of the word value, but including the monetary one. This thesis is to be put to the test rather directly now, as they seem likely to have to seek out those who are prepared to pay for design review.

My money (but only in the metaphorical sense) is on a national design review programme carrying on in some form.

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