Archive for November, 2009

Launch – Social Breakfast

November 24, 2009

This morning a couple of us attended the launch of the Social Breakfast website – a new initiative headed up by Ashram Housing who have developed a platform with the aim of bridging the divide between the ‘youth’ and older generations. The aim is to explore the reality of challenges faced by young people and provide an accessible platform for them to develop peer to peer relationships of support. The initiative has received the unanimous support of Gordon Brown’s, David Cameron’s and Nick Clegg’s offices proving the truly public value remit of its endeavour. It aims to help frame and hold debate around some of the most challenging issues facing young people today – what does it mean to be British? Will I be able to get a good job? Why do some people have negative perceptions of young people?

The website will act as a conduit to politicians, policy makers and frontline staff with them contributing to the debate, posing questions and developing a discourse with the young generation in a healthy society which recognises discussion as a means of social progress. Whilst operating at a national level, as momentum builds in time, the Social Breakfast intends to have a local on and offline aspect to it and is currently seeking out Citizen Journalists from all over the country.

If the success of this mornings launch at the House of Commons is anything to go by I am excited to see how this initiative will progress and how successfully we can create new platforms for progressive social debate and meaningful democratic discourse.

http://www.socialbreakfast.org/

00:/ at World Architecture Festival 02

November 16, 2009

And to follow on from the previous post, here is one on the WAF website “Time to start reading the financial papers”. Subscribe to the FT today to remain relevant…

AF

00:/ at World Architecture Festival

November 11, 2009

00:/ were invited to take part in the Less Does More exhibition at the World Architecture Festival last week and presented this animation on the Right to Build project accompanied by the following manifesto:

Less does more

We are in a period of systemic change – the current crisis, like that of the 1930s, is simply the crystallisation of an ongoing transition between an old world and a new one. Symptoms of this transition which may be heralded by a new age of austerity, include the threat of peak oil, the need to mitigate our carbon emissions, the wholesale contraction of consumer credit, and the massive pressure for the reduction of public spending.

This moment creates a fundamental choice for our civilisation – a choice to build a world where were we unpick the work of a century through demolishing the middle classes and radically polarising society between the few have and many have-nots or to use this scarcity of resource as the catalyst to create a new foundation to our economy. The first choice leads us to a particular place where democracy itself is threatened and we begin a great socio-economic unwinding. The alternative choice is routed in a more sophisticated formulation of capitalism based upon use value and the accounting of externalities; a new, sharing economy. We are already seeing the seeds of such a future in social innovations from car clubs to co-working environments where we share the cost and opportunity afforded by an asset, or in films such The Age of Stupid which are funded via crowd sourcing with both the investment and return being shared, or institutions such as the HUB built via micro bonds, or examples like community co-build housing in Tübingen-Südstadt. Together these and hundreds, even thousands, of other small scale civil ventures are starting to build a viable alternative to the less is less for the majority and slowly offering a real alternative for our cities, our notion of possession, and our collective being.

This nascent future has fundamental repercussions for place-shapers and place makers. These new interventions suggest a new taxonomy of architecture where the propositional skills of change-making in a city are no longer limited to creating buildings but to new ways of creating shared places as genuinely shared assets through their design as open platforms working across communities, markets, institutions, & environments.

In addition, Indy took part in a seminar on Thursday morning with Cezary Bednarski & Roger Zogolovitch to “Examine how a particular architectural type (housing) fits within, takes advantage of and serves a particular social context, in both developing and developed worlds.

  • Exploring how a radically rethink of approach to the typology of housing can create asset revenue and social value
  • Tapping the social, economic and physical resources of a particular place
  • Designing economic security and benefit into the building”

Do you still think we’re as safe as houses? Do you think there is a future in our right to build as an alternative way of building our homes and communities?

AF

Perception

November 3, 2009

Rory Sutherland makes the assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value. Can we extract more value from existing situations and places through a change in perception?

LP

00:/ go travelling…first stop Istanbul

November 2, 2009

00:/ are this week participating in the Architecture Foundation exchange to Istanbul as well as the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona starting tonight wtih a presentation at the Istanbul Technical University. Istanbul is of particular relevance as a research ground as it has not undergone the degree of atomisation of societal structures that we have seen in London and by consequence Istanbul presents an opportunity to forensically examine the strengths and weaknesses of a living civic economy.

We see this as an opportunity to further investigate and discover emerging development models that leapfrog next-practice such as in Uganda, where banking infrastructure leapfrogged past high street banks and straight to mobile banking; or the energy leapfrogging as seen at a city level in Rizhao, China, where 99 percent of households in the central district use solar water heaters and most of the lighting and traffic signals are powered by photovoltaics.

The exchange should provide some fertile ground for such conversations….watch this space for updates over the next few days.

AF