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Cover Exploring Parliament

6. Design and Space in Parliament  

Leanne-Marie McCarthy-Cotter, Matthew Flinders, and Tom Healey

This chapter discusses the role that design and space play in the UK Parliament. The architecture and design of parliamentary buildings and chambers occupy a central place in political culture. In the case of the Palace of Westminster, three elements must be highlighted: the external projection of the building, the internal structure and the manner in which it defines and dictates the use of space, and the manner in which the internal structures affect user-interactions in more subtle ways (for example, inspiring deference, augmenting partisanship, or perpetuating and preventing forms of democratic inequality). After explaining ‘how’ and ‘why’ design and space matter, the chapter traces the history of design and space in the Palace of Westminster as well as its building and rebuilding. It also considers attempts to change the design and architecture of Parliament and the difficulties of assessing design and space.

Chapter

Cover Exploring Parliament

1. Introduction: Exploring the UK Parliament in the Twenty-first Century  

Paul Evans, Louise Thompson, and Cristina Leston-Bandeira

This text examines changes and continuities in the UK Parliament, the institution's contemporary work in its wide range of roles, its relevance in the twenty-first century, and the challenges it is facing today. It describes both the formal and informal work of Parliament and its members, focusing on common notions about the institution's relationship with the executive as a one-sided affair. The goal is to offer a rounded view of the work of Parliament as a multilayered and complex actor and its place in the wider political context as well as to highlight the importance of its historical development to its work today. The text looks at various aspects of Parliament, from governance to the legislative cycle, and even its design and space. This introduction discusses the ever changing relationship between the monarch, the House of Commons, and the House of Lords.