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B

balustrade A barrier made with balusters (short pillars with curved outlines), with a coping on top. The word comes from the Greek for a (supposedly baluster-shaped) pomegranate flower. 
Batman, John (1801-39) Pioneer and entrepreneur, and founder of Melbourne. Born in Australia of a transported English convict (who spelled his name Bateman), Batman was unusual in trying to compensate local Aborigines for the use of their land at Melbourne with an annual rental. His quasi-legal agreement with them was invalidated by the colonial authorities.
Batmania A name once proposed (in honour of john batman), but never adopted, for the city now called Melbourne. Compare gotham city.
beam A rail that monorail trains run on.
beamer (US) An expensive European car. See also benz.
beamway A continuous series of beams forming a track for monorail trains. Also called a guideway.
beeriest town in England, the Blackburn, Lancashire, so called in the 1890s when it had 255 pubs, 208 beer shops and 106 off-licences.
Beirut The name of the capital of Lebanon was a byword for urban destruction in the 1970s,'80s and '90s, following the destruction of much of the city centre in the 1975-90 Lebanese war. See also nice of the east.
belt A strip of trees defining a space or framing a view.
benz (US) An expensive European car (not necessarily a Mercedes Benz). See also beamer.
Big Dig, The The nickname of the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel Project, which rerouted Interstate Highway 93 from the elevated Central Artery highway through a tunnel. The elevated Central Artery (whose construction in the 1950s had displaced more than 20,000 residents) had marred the landscape of Boston, Massachusetts, and cut off the city centre from its waterfront for four decades. The new road opened in 2003, five years late and wildly over budget. The six-lane elevated highway was replaced by an eight-to-ten-lane underground expressway directly beneath the existing road, culminating at its northern limit in a 14-lane, two-bridge crossing of the Charles River. The project spanned 7.8 miles of highway, about half of it in tunnels, amounting to one of the largest and most technically difficult infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the USA. A former director of the project described it as 'doing open heart surgery on a patient who continues to work and play tennis'. US Representative Barney Frank commented that it would be cheaper to elevate the city than depress the artery.
big-bang architecture Buildings that look as if they have appeared from nowhere, seemingly designed with no account for their surroundings. Example: 'The dynamic of lottery funding creates big-bang architecture, buildings beamed down from nowhere' (2004).
binnie (Liverpool) A refuse collector.
biotope An area of relatively uniform environmental conditions, occupied by a particular plant community and its associated fauna.
bitumen venice Any town where the streets are wall-to-wall road or bitumen (in the same way as most of the Italian city's canals extend from one building line to another. The term has been coined by the Australian urban designer Andrew Hillhouse.
Blobby, Mr The architect will alsop. The nickname was been given to him in response to his enthusiasm for what has been called blob architecture.
block 1 The area bounded by a set of streets and undivided by any other significant streets. The term is used both to refer to the area itself and as a measure of distance along a street, as in 'walk three blocks to the north'. The term is of US origin (being particularly appropriate in towns laid out on a rectangular grid) and now in use in the UK. See also super block. 2 A large building, often subdivided. 3 (US) The smallest geographic region, close to the size of typical city block (around 50 people), within which the census counts people.
bluefield A stretch of water considered as an integral part of a development area.
bombdy A derelict building.
botanic garden One used for, among other things, the study of plants.
boulevardier A person about town; one who strolls along boulevards.
bounce (US) To drive in a car.
brand v. To make a locality distinctive in relation to places with which it is competing. The term was borrowed from the marketing of products and services in the 1990s. In marketing parlance, milk and bread are commodities, while cigarettes, beer and cars (for example) are sold as brands with the emphasis on image, status and identity. In Old English a brand was a piece of burning wood. The word was later applied to the distinguishing mark made on an animal, or on a cask or wooden case, with a hot iron (Quinion, 2003). See also rebrand.
brick venereal (Australia) A derogatory term for brick veneer construction (and its virus-like spread) which is generally regarded as the lowest common denominator housing in eastern Australia.
Brixton briefcase A portable sound system, otherwise known as a ghetto-blaster. Brixton in south London has a large Afro-Caribbean community with whom these have been associated.
brown town A place where heroin is widely used, so called after the colour of the powder.
bucket (US) An old or beaten-up car.
build (n) That which is built at a particular time. Example: ‘A complete farmstead, all of one build...’
buildingness The quality of a building being a solid and permanent enclosure of space. Example: 'This is a plea for buildings... to celebrate their "buildingness", not transience, that strong British tradition of modern architects who work with weight and space and light' (Fraser, 2003).
bungaroosh (also bungeroosh and various other spellings) (Sussex, especially Brighton) 1 A flint rubble material commonly used for party walls. Rob Fraser (1991) notes that the builders of Regency Brighton concentrated largely on the front elevations, which were often brick. 'The party walls, however, seem invariably to be bungaroosh. Often the rear wall was bungaroosh too and if an owner was singularly unlucky the front wall could be as well, underneath the elegant render fašade.' The walls were constructed by pouring lime mortar into shuttering and throwing in flints, brick rubble, lumps of chalk, pieces of wood and anything else that came to hand. The timber in the mixture tends to create a good breeding ground for rot. 'Since the mixture is very porous,' Fraser writes, 'the rot circulates quickly, and can usually find some damp somewhere to feed on.' If bungaroosh is too dry it crumbles; too wet and the mortar becomes mobile. Fraser quotes a Brighton conservation officer suggesting that you could probably demolish a third of the city with a well-aimed hose. Home improvers find bungaroosh very difficult to attach anything too, being too hard (the flint) or too soft (the mortar), and too weak. It is almost impossible to repair. Fraser suggests that the term may derive from the practice of 'bunging in' a variety of material. 2 Cultural fusion; multiculturalism; the mix of peoples who are thrown together (as the building material of the same name is) in towns and cities along the south coast of England. Examples: a) An informal gathering in Hove was advertised (through a flyer distributed in pubs) as a 'Bungeroosh Get Together'. Participants were invited to bring their own drums to the West Pier. b) A Brighton-based disc jockey called Bungeroosh plays Cuban-fusion music. c) A Brighton-based artists collective, also called Bungeroosh, creates artwork on the theme of cultural fusion, bringing together decorative styles from all over the world to make what it calls 'bungeroosh ornamentation'.
burh An Anglo-Saxon defended site or fortified town.
bus rapid transit An express bus service with infrequent stops, fast loading, unloading and fare collection. The buses may use bus-only lanes or buses-only streets, and they may be able to make traffic lights turn green as they approach. In some cases the buses stop at platforms, avoiding the need for stairs and wheelchair lifts.
byroad A secondary or side road.

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There are only four kinds of artistic activity: fine art, music, poetry and ornamental pastry cooking, of which architecture is a minor branch.
Berthold Lubetkin

   
illustration from the Dictionary of Urbanism