‘Unit 1 – Demonstration Neighbourhood’ asks how architecture - and the architect – can be a tool for engagement and dialogue, empowering communities to contribute towards the shaping of their city.
With the emergence of globalisation in the post-industrial era urban space is increasingly fragmented and polarised. London and its peripheries have become sites of shifting responsibilities resulting in environments that are insulated from their context without the burdens of facilitating citizenship or place- making. The issue of who gets to live, make, and participate in the city is an increasingly divisive issue. ‘Unit 1 – Demonstration Neighbourhood’ asks how architecture – and the architect – can be a tool for engagement and dialogue, empowering communities to contribute towards the shaping of their city. Here the architect must evolve from the endeavour of the lone genius to the collaborative maker. We will explore the relationship between built form and practices of city design using Barking and Dagenham as our case study.
We will work alongside Participatory City who aim to grow over the next 5 years a dense network of small scale neighbourhood projects and community businesses. This co-laboration will allow for a real brief to inform speculative and live projects within a larger regeneration project. We will start the term with a making workshop run by the artist architect Nicolas Henniger at the R-urban Wick site in the Olympic Park. There we will be introduced to bottom-up strategies and explore the potential for community-led projects and open ended prototyping. We will then shift to Barking and Dagenham where will seek out opportunities through mapping; Opportunities for making, innovation, speculation, intervention and ultimately the site for a series of speculative or real projects in the borough. We explore notions of regeneration, inequality and marginalsation, and also engage with design practices of observation, visualisation, evidencing and resistance.