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Mind the autoguano in the ghostburbs

“Autoguano”, “ghostburb” and “verticulture” are the latest examples of the ever-growing number of new buzz-words we use to talk about our urban environment, according to the new issue of the ICE Urban Design and Planning journal.

In the first of an exclusive series of regular articles, Robert Cowan of UK consultancy Urban Design Skills provides definitions of 73 new entries in his publication The Dictionary of Urbanism.
Since it first appeared in 2005, the dictionary has been hailed as the standard reference on urban design, regeneration and the culture of cities.

Cowan describes the dictionary as “a comprehensive and often irreverent reference for everyone whose business or passion is cities. It defines and explains almost every word or phrase that a councillor, developer, built environment professional, community activist or urban explorer is likely to hear or read.”

Contribute your additions or amendments to the dictionary by emailing them to, and sign up to receive a new urban “word of the day”.

And in case you were wondering, “autoguano” is the toxic waste that comes out of cars; “ghostburb” is an abandoned suburb; and verticulture is farming in tall buildings, also referred to as “skyfarming”.

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