John Turner is currently reviewing and reflecting on his work experience between the late 1950s and early 1970s, mainly in South and North America. Between 1965 and 1983 he directed courses on "Housing in Development" at MIT, the AA Graduate School and at the DPU. Since the early 1980s he has worked in and from East End of London and in Hastings since 1989 where he has worked voluntarily.
At present Turner's priority is to identify and clarify ideas and approaches discussed in his writings that seem relevant in this time of dramatic paradigm change. In order to do so he is now building a (facet-indexed) database centred on his own past work together with the sources he has used and those he needs to follow up. In his view, it is essential to distinguish between obsolete and emerging paradigms. He therefore pays close attention to categories and terms avoiding or qualifying those in which the old paradigms are embedded.
The thread through Turner's thought and work has been his interest in locally self-managed home and neighbourhood building, sparked by encounters with the writings of Patrick Geddes and Lewis Mumford while still at school. The theme has persisted and, in Turner's view, it is now becoming central to issues surrounding transitions to sustainable forms of development.
Comparing experience and sharing thought about the past is essential for a coherent perspective on the present. And, especially for those who will be living through an increasingly fraught future, awareness of the past should help to prepare them for taking advantage of the opportunities that its dangers will create.