Reordered Publics

LSE Cities MSc. Research Project
with Ilana Adleson, Sharifa Alshalfan,
Ariana Valdez Young and Nicolas Palominos
2011/12

Read the journal article here

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The unrelenting wake of the global recession has intensified pressure on the public realm to mediate between different actors vying to assert political rights, economic claims and social expression. Multi-disciplinary frameworks for reading economic systems as integral to the design and lived experience of the public realm have shaped our conceptualisation of the financial crisis as a city design problem.

This research offers a socio-spatial and political analysis of the City of London as a ‘business as usual’ city in which private interests trump public good. Through a design-based proposal for policy intervention and physical restructuring that radically alters the City’s socio-spatial realities, we re-imagine the City of London as a true public city for the 21st century, where ‘productivity’ stems from the residential diversity, urban intensity and inclusive public spaces produced by significantly increasing the number of people living in the City.

This project formed a major component of the MSc City Design and Social Science design studio at the LSE in 2011/12. Students were tasked with exploring the ‘Public City’. The timing was palpable following the London riots, and with Occupy protests taking hold in London. This research used posters, infographics, and other forms of spatial analysis such as collage to present a complex analysis of the social, economic and political functioning of the City of London, a small business enclave in the heart of the city. A number of city design recommendations were made. These used the democratising nature of public housing as a means to subvert an increasingly privatised public realm, while providing opportunity for new marginalised people to benefit from living at the heart of London. I was involved intensely in all aspects of the project from research, to graphic design, video production, writing, and editing. The work was developed into a journal article for City: analysis of Urban Trends, culture, theory, policy, action.