How we work

We work through debate. It is not the only way we work but it is the main way and suits the amount of sustained voluntary resource we are able to call upon.

We feel we could do more, and sometimes we do. If you have ideas about what more we could do we would love to hear from you.

Are we representative?

No. We share a passion for ideas and have come together because we enjoy the exchange of ideas. We do this at monthly committee meetings and when we think we have got something we want to share with the industry we hold a debate. We invite people who we think know something about the subject and have something to contribute. We see ourselves as being more radical than accountable.


As we are interested in ideas we love debates. Ideas get to speak for themselves and what is valuable is not necessarily where we started from. Our debates are not contests in the Oxford Union style but rather three speakers and a chairman leading a discussion of a roomful of people, many of whom will be acknowledged experts in the field.

The debate formula

Our starting point for a debate is that with informed audiences there is a lot of knowledge on the floor. To tap this knowledge we need speakers who will lead the discussion but still leave enough time for considered responses. We ask speakers to talk for a short time and expect most people in the audience to make a contribution. Such meetings work best when there are 40-60 people in the room.

The outcome is not a victory for one initial proposition over another but usually a process where a new position emerges over the course of an evening, one that has been considered and endorsed by the constituency of the room. Often it is a specific or a series of policy recommendations.

At times we lobby for these recommendations but this can quickly exhaust our supply of voluntary capital. At other times we hope the engineering and architectural institutions will put the shoulder to the wheel …

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A note about copyright

Where available, PDFs of presentations used by debate participants are included on this website. These may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorised by the copyright owner for this presentation, and where possible we have tried to ensure that we have sufficiently acknowledged the copyright owner. They are being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, social justice, scientific, cultural and artistic issues and are distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using information for research or educational purposes.

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