Urban Design in the City of London – Learning programme

Friday 2 November 2018

During the October half-term New London Architecture and The City Centre’s Learning Programme hosted a three-day workshop for young people aged 14-17.

The aim of the workshop was to explore Urban Design in the City of London by responding to a brief which focused on the area of London Bridge - as well as to introduce young people that are interested in further study and a career in the built environment to professionals within the sector.

Volunteers from the City of London Public Realm team, Publica, London School of Architecture and AECOM delivered exciting workshops with the young people and helped them to research, develop and present their ideas for a new London Bridge. 

The weekend was free for students to attend. Recruited from London and nearby schools, they expressed an interest in attending the course to gain an insight into a career path they may not have heard much about before. Through this course students learnt how the quality of the public realm shapes how we feel, use and experience a place.

The young people were split into design groups and asked to deliver a vision for the public realm of London Bridge and its immediate areas focusing on one or more of the following themes:

  • Security
  • Character
  • Culture
  • Walkability and cyclability 
  • High standard of design

A special mention should be given to the range of inspiring volunteers the students learnt from. Emmanuel Ojugo, a Planning Officer from the City of London, kick-started the project with an introduction to urban design in the City of London and an extremely informative tour and site analysis of the City. Following this was a hands-on workshop led by Eleanor Lygo and Rebecca Dillon-Robinson, two Urban Designers from Publica. They showed the young people how to turn the research from a site analysis into initial design ideas. 

On the second day Maxim Sas, Alice Hardy and Samuel Nicholls from the London School of Architecture took them through projects from their Urban Studies module and guided the young people on how to create an architectural collage. On the final day, Landscape Architect Simon Jenkins, and Architectural Specification Consultant Harpreti Kaur Dhaliwal from AECOM gave two motivating careers talks, spending time with each design group and quizzing them on their conceptions for London Bridge. 

The young people in their groups created a mood-board for their final vision for London Bridge. This was an accumulation of all the information and ideas they had picked up over the course of the weekend. They were complete with drawings, Sketchup models, collages and crafted models - all finished to a beautifully high standard that some young people will hopefully get to use in their personal portfolios. 

All the young people responded positively to the challenges put to them by working hard and showing professionalism throughout the weekend. They also had a chance to have fun, meet new people their own age and expand their horizons to understand the huge breadth of possible careers in the built environment. 

The feedback collected was very positive:

‘This course has just increased my passion for architecture and also taught me important skills’

‘Getting the opportunity to speak to budding architects and people in the field was incredibly informative and has helped me greatly in accessing my options’

‘Interactive and collaborative’

‘Amazing workshop! Planned and executed very well. Great fun all round’

The NLA and City Centre Learning programme will continue in the autumn term with more formal and extracurricular opportunities for young people to engage in the built environment of their city.

By Hannah Askari, NLA and The City Centre Learning Coordinator 

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