Lecture Series

Text based poster listing the title and date of each event in the series

19 January – 23 February 2017

Chaired by Oliver Wainwright for Spatial Practices

The Spatial Practices Lecture Series continues this term with a series of six debates presenting work related to the concerns of the programme to the school and the public. 

With London's population set to reach 10 million in the next decade, the capital is facing pressure like never before. The housing market is broken, while the planning system is straining at the seams. Land values have spiralled out of control, while industrial space is being hounded out of the city. Public art has become a garnish to distract from the realities of development, while landscape is being used as greenwash, hiding crimes behind the shrubbery. But there is another way. Chaired by Guardian architecture critic Oliver Wainwright, this series of debates will bring together a diverse range of speakers to interrogate the fundamental forces guiding the future of the London and question how alternative strategies might shape the city for the benefit of all.

19 January - HOUSING

London's housing situation is beyond crisis. Homelessness has doubled in the last five years, while the number of “affordable” homes being built has fallen by a third. Council house waiting lists have never been longer, first-time buyers have never been older and we have never spent so much of our income on rent. So what form will the future will London's housing take? From a council that has set up its own private house building company, to developers building “pocket-sized” starter homes and “co-living” micro-flats, to a community group building homes that will remain affordable in perpetuity, how might these different approaches tackle the future of housing in the capital?  

Barbara Brownlee, Westminster City Council | Kareem Dayes, RUSS Community Land Trust | Amena Matin, London Borough of Croydon | Reza Merchant, The Collective |Marc Vlessing, Pocket Living

26 January - PLANNING

The source of needless red tape and a barrier to growth, or a crucial safeguard that's been trampled to oblivion? The planning system is relentlessly attacked on all sides, from developers wanting to get their way, to communities pleading to protect their neighbourhoods. But what is wrong with it and how can it be fixed? Is the system too rigid and bureaucratic, or too vague and flexible? Has “neighbourhood planning” put power back in the hands of communities, or spawned a new generation of NIMBY's – or had no impact at all? From tackling the dark arts of viability assessments to how digital innovations could revolutionise the process, what form might the future of planning take? 

Liane Hartley, Planning in the Pub | Kate Henderson, Town and Country Planning Association | Adele Maher, London Borough of Tower Hamlets | Euan Mills, Future Cities Catapult | Finn Williams, Greater London Authority

2 February - LAND

London's land market is broken. Development sites are sold off to the highest bidder, which is often the one most confident that they can bypass the planning obligations, provide less affordable housing and squeeze every last inch of profit out of a site. Yet there is no incentive to build: it can be more lucrative to sit on land than develop it, spawning an industry of winning permission for sites, selling them on and inflating values out of all proportion in the process. Is there another way? From the potentials of land value taxation to ways that community groups can get access to sites, how can London's land be unlocked for the benefit of all? 

Stephen Hill, C2O Futureplanners | Toby Lloyd, Shelter | Joe Sarling, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners |Beth Stratford, University of Leeds | Kate Swade, Shared Assets

9 February - INDUSTRY

London is losing space for industry faster than ever before. With the insatiable demand for housing and ineffective planning protection, manufacturing is being driven out of the capital. 600 hectares of industrial land were converted to other uses in the last seven years alone. We talk about the “post-industrial” city, but the production of things and just-in-time manufacturing is essential to a thriving, resilient urban economy. How can London learn to embrace its car menders and waste recycling plants, its breweries and builders' merchants, its jewellers and furniture makers? How can “mixed use” go beyond identikit clone towns of flats, offices and shops, to imagine a truly diverse super-mixed city? 

Mark Brearley, Cass Cities | Jessica Ferm, Bartlett School of Planning, UCL | David Saxby, Architecture 00 | Christian Spencer-Davies, Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum | Paloma Strelitz, Assemble

16 February - PUBLIC ART

As the kamikaze pilots of urban renewal, wherever artists go the cranes are sure to follow. Rents will rise, the artists will move on and the pre-existing community will be kicked out with them. But how can artists play a meaningful role in regeneration? How can public art go beyond the shiny bauble, the token garnish used to distract from the mean-minded reality of commercial development? Can the art strategies of the “placemaking” industry truly add value to a place, or are they destined to be a soothing salve for the developers' conscience? From bottom-up community art projects to strategic cultural commissions, what directions might London's public art follow? 

Alex Chinneck, artist | Mark Davy, Future City | Hadrian Garrard, Create | Anna Harding, Space Studios | Verity-Jane Keefe, artist

23 February - LANDSCAPE

London is blooming. From sky gardens and pocket parks to garden bridges and green links, the capital's major new developments are boasting green-fingered landscape credentials like never before. But how can we distinguish welcome new parks and planting from misleading greenwash? Are these Babylonian gardens proving to be all they turned out to be, or are developers using the power of plants to ease their projects through the planning system? Interrogating London's new generation of landscapes and public spaces, from community gardens and “guerrilla gardening” to the nature of new urban squares, we will probe behind the shrubbery to question the future of the city's green space. 

Giles Charlton, Spacehub | Jo Gibbons, J & L Gibbons | Anna Minton, University of East London | Richard Reynolds, Guerilla Gardening | Stephen Richards, Gillespies 

Previous series 

The 2016/17 autumn lecture series

Alex Warnock-Smith, Urban Projects Bureau | Andreas Lang & Mara Ferreri, Notes from the Temporary City | Carolina Caicedo & Xavier Llarch Font, The Decorators Studio | Sarah Featherstone, Featherstone Young | Alicja Borkowska & Iris Papadatou, YOU&ME | Julia King, LSE Cities | Takeshi Hayatsu

The 2015/16 spring lecture series

Peter Barber, Peter Barber Architects | Helen Marriage, Artichoke | Andreas Lang, public works | Santiago Cirugeda, Recetas Urbanas | Catherine Ince, V&A East | Amanda Levete, AL_A | Jeanne van Heeswijk, Artist | Andrea Zimmerman, Artist | Antoine Picon, Harvard GSD | Verity-Jane Keefe, Artist | Mark Swenarton, University of Liverpool | Oliver Wainwright, Journalist 

The 2014/15 lecture series

Prem Krishnamurthy, P! & Project Projects | Maria Smith, Studio Weave | Ines Weizman, Bauhaus Universität, Weimar/CASS | Justin McGuirk, Radical Cities, Strelka Press | Alex Chinneck | Marjetica Potrč | Sophia Psarra, UCL, Space Syntax.

The 2013/14 lecture series

Publica (Lucy Musgrave) | (not) AOC (Daisy Froud) | Studio8 (CJ Lim) | Ooze architects (Sylvain Hartenberg & Eva Pfannes) | Nils Norman | Crimson Architectural Historians/International New Town Institute (Michelle Provoost).

The 2012/13 inaugural lecture series:

5th Studio (Tom Holbrook) | Assemble | DK-CM (David Knight + Cristina Monteiro) | 00: Architects (Alistair Parvin) | muf (Liza Fior) | Spacemakers (Tom James) | Markussen/Knutz | Peter Higgins | Teddy Cruz | EXYZT | Liam Young | Doina Petrescu | Nils Norman | Something and Son | Fred Deakin.