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New design competition launched ‘Co-designing Equity in the Public Realm’

20 June 2022
By Amy Zamarripa Solis

Today the Foundation for Future London, along with partners The London Festival of Architecture (LFA), the City of London Corporation and cultural district Culture Mile, has launched ‘Co-designing Equity in the Public Realm’, a new design competition.

The competition will deliver one or more temporary public realm interventions in Smithfield and East London that collectively develop a deeper understanding of the public’s experience of streets and public spaces.

‘Co-designing Equity in the Public Realm’ is seeking a multi-disciplinary team to create temporary small-scale intervention(s) and activations in Spring/Summer of 2023, that have been informed by public engagement and education activities.

The public realm interventions will explore inclusive design, equity, and public space as well as the involvement of young people in city making. Artists, architects, designers, social enterprises and creative organisations are invited to develop and submit a design proposal that includes public engagement with relevant local groups during the design development and delivery phase of the project. Proposals should also include collaboration with young people and/or other relevant local groups.

A winning team will be confirmed in October and awarded £50,000 (including VAT) to develop a fully costed, feasible design alongside an engagement plan that can be delivered ahead of June 2023, when the next edition of the London Festival of Architecture takes place.

The competition embraces the belief that the arts are uniquely placed to connect communities, celebrate their immense collective power and create positive social change.

Funding provided by City of London Corporation has supported the development of collaborative programming between communities across East Bank and Culture Mile. This four-year partnership has utilised creativity to support the development of new models of practice and collaboration around education, life-long learning, employment opportunities, health & wellbeing and inclusive public realm.

The aim of previous cross-district partnership projects, such as the Fusion Prize and Fusion Futures, has been to support engagement with local audiences, demonstrate commitment to funding local cultural infrastructure, support diverse new creative talent and develop longer-term shared learnings between the two new cultural districts of East Bank and Culture Mile, amplifying the wider value they bring to London.

This commission develops this work further through focusing specifically on the use of places, public realm, wayfaring and culture to create inclusive connectivity between both cultural districts.

This competition focuses on Smithfield within the City of London and the target areas of Foundation for Future London’s work in East London: the boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. It is not necessary for teams to create physical interventions in both areas, but competition applicants are encouraged to work across them in some way (via community engagement, digital engagement/intervention, and/or education activities) during the project.

The specific locations of the engagement work and installations are open to discussion during Stage 2 of the ‘Co-designing Equity in the Public Realm’ process. Shortlisted teams will work with the City of London Corporation, Foundation for Future London and their relevant local authorities to identify appropriate space within the focus areas.

Interested applicants are invited to submit their expressions of interest by midday on Thursday 1 September 2022. Information for applicants is available here, including the competition’s brief.

The competition’s Judging Panel includes:

  • Maria Adebowale-Schwarte (CEO, Foundation for Future London)
  • Esme Fieldhouse (Head of Public Realm, Hawkins\Brown)
  • Tim Jones (Culture Mile Manager, City of London Corporation)
  • Rosa Rogina (Director, London Festival of Architecture)
  • Clarisse Tavin (Environment Department, City of London Corporation)
  • Manijeh Verghese (Founding Director, Unscene Architecture and Head of Public Programmes, Architectural Association)

Rosa Rogina, Director of London Festival of Architecture, said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Culture Mile, the City of London Corporation, and Foundation for Future London on this design competition, which is a great opportunity for both established and emerging creatives to showcase their talents and leave their marks on one of the most exciting neighbourhoods in London, to be enjoyed for years to come. I encourage all artists, architects, and designers to come forward with proposals that enhance these areas and bring together people from different backgrounds”.

Wendy Hyde, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said: “Creatives will certainly appreciate the opportunity to work on this unique project, which aims to shape the local area. As we continue to recover from the pandemic, we are working towards transforming the Square Mile into a vibrant and welcoming destination of choice for everyone. Through these types of competitions, we hope to uncover even more innovative thinking that will enable us to meet that aim.”

Maria Adebowale-Schwarte, CEO, Foundation for Future London said: “The Foundation for Future London is delighted to work with the City of London Corporation, Culture Mile and LFA on a cross-district partnership to present this collaborative co-designed commission. We are excited to illustrate how inclusive planning with young people, children, creative organisations and local residents can create more accessible, resilient and inclusive cities that are fit for the future. We know there are going to be innovative, bold proposals that are needed to tackle the lack of representation in all stages of the built environment, particularly addressing the need to provide new skills and networks to help young people access education and employment opportunities in inclusive places and the public realm.”

For more information about the competition, see londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/competitions

Download the full brief

Interested in entering the competition?

If you have any questions, speak to us at our drop-in sessions on:

  • Wednesday 24 August, 11am-12.30pm online. Book here https://lnkd.in/eQt45uyf
  • Wednesday 6 July, 10 am – 12pm at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The address is One Bartholomew Close, Barts Square London EC1A 7BL
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