Public City: A major exhibition highlighting the best of London’s new public spaces

Monday 15 January 2007

Launching on the 18 January, Public City is the next major exhibition and talks series at the NLA gallery. It celebrates the crucial role that well-designed parks, streets and squares play in creating living and vibrant cities. Peter Bishop, Director of Design for London launches the exhibition at a private view on the evening of 17 January.

Public City at the NLA examines the way various elements of public realm create the vital networks that make up a successful metropolitan environment. The exhibition will explore how these spaces link and work together to reinforce the social nature of London. 

Redevelopment and regeneration projects around London provide the opportunity to reinvent the public realm - to create places where life can take place, that citizens can enjoy and that enhance our experience of the capital. Public City examines a range of issues related to the public realm: accessibility and identity, connections between spaces, the relationship between public and private, safety and security, community and users, density and value, maintenance and after-care, history and change.

The exhibition illustrates many of the issues facing those involved in delivering development in London and presents 120 exemplar schemes drawn from a broad spectrum of recently completed or planned projects across the capital. These include: the redeveloped Trafalgar Square, Triton Square in the City, Arena Square, Wembley Arena, Brixton Central Square and West Smithfield. 

The 1943 Abercrombie Plan proposed the linking of London's green spaces. ‘It becomes possible for the town dweller to get from doorstep to open country' said Abercrombie ‘through an easy flow of open space from garden to park, from park to parkway, from parkway to green wedge and from green wedge to Green Belt.’ - a legacy which lives on in the Lea Valley and the Thames River Walk. The exhibition argues that today's Londoners are taking a new delight in the more urban aspects of the city, reclaiming the streets for eating, drinking, walking, sitting out and in these days of wireless communications - working on their laptops while the world passes by.

A catalogue of all the planned and completed projects will accompany the exhibition together with an extensive free talks series featuring leading designers, planners, commentators and developers that will be held at NLA on Wednesday and some Thursday mornings at 8.30am. In addition, public realm expert Professor Jan Gehl will be giving a one-off evening lecture on Monday 5 February. Confirmed speakers at the 8.30am talks include: Spencer de Grey, Deputy Chairman of Foster + Partners and Sarah Gaventa, Director of CABE Space.

The breakfast talks are free to attend and start at 8.30am with complimentary coffee and pastries available from 8.15am. Registration is essential by emailing NLA at stating the preferred talk and details of attendees.

All talks take place at New London Architecture, The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT. Further information is available at or 020 7636 4044.

Notes to editors

• Public City at New London Architecture is sponsored by Grosvenor and Minerva plc.

• New London Architecture (NLA) at the Building Centre is an exhibition centre dedicated to the future of the built environment in London that is open to the public free of charge 6 days a week. The capital is undergoing a period of massive change and NLA is a place where everyone - professionals, politicians and the public - can find out and get involved in what is happening to the city. NLA has over 2000 visitors a week to the public exhibitions, events, talks and lectures that are organised to encourage constant debate, learning and networking across the profession and local communities.

• Principal Sponsors: Argyll Business Centres, CABE, City of London, DTZ, Legal & General Lockton, whitbybird Partners: Assael Architecture, Atkins, BDP, Beetham Organisation, British Land, Broadgate Estates, Broadway Malyan, Buro Four, Child Graddon Lewis Architects, The Crown Estate, David Chipperfield Architects, Derwent Valley Holdings, Development Securities, English Partnerships, EPR, Gardiner & Theobald, GMW Architects, Great Portland Estates, Grosvenor, Hayes Davidson, Heath Lambert, Herman Miller, Hines, The Howard de Walden Estate, Jackson Coles, Jones Lang LaSalle, London Borough of Newham, London Communications Agency, London Development Agency, London Merchant Securities, Minerva plc, Mott MacDonald, Parkview International, Pipers, Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects, The Portman Estate, Prudential, RMJM, Sidell Gibson, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Inc, Southwark Council, Stanhope, ttsp, URS, Waterman, Wordsearch, Workplace Intelligence, Zumtobel Lighting.

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