Accessibility-focused proposal wins the Co-designing Equity in the Public Realm competition
By Nathaniel Bahadursingh|
Friday, Nov 11, 2022
The winner of the Co-designing Equity in the Public Realm design competition has been announced by the London Festival of Architecture (LFA), the City of London Corporation, Culture Mile, and the Foundation for Future London.
The challenge called for temporary public realm interventions in East London and Smithfield that foster a deeper understanding of the public’s relationship with streets and public spaces.
A team consisting of sustainable design collective Re-Fabricate and The DisOrdinary Architecture Project, an organization that aims to bolster access and accommodation for disabled artists interested in the built environment, won the competition with “Seats at the Table.” Their proposal explores the intersection between equity, accessibility, and sustainable design. They will work with local disabled and non-disabled youth to co-design spaces for sharing, making, learning, nourishment, and socializing. The spaces will come together to form part of a series of installations across East London and Smithfield.
Individuals will be invited to create and add chairs that represent their relationships to, and accessibility requirements for, sitting at a table. In doing so, the team is investigating how different materials, practices, places, and people can produce equity. They will challenge the notions that determine what bodies are valued and devalued in conventional public space design.
The team will now work on delivering workshops across the Culture Mile and East London Bank, enlisting disabled artists, young people for Special Educational Needs (SEN) and school, built environment students, and the public. The result of these workshops will be a final scheme that will be built and installed between April and June 2023.
“The vision that the Foundation for Future London had for this design competition was to address inequality in our society through design and placemaking and to provide an opportunity for true collaboration to achieve this,” said Foundation for Future London CEO and competition juror Maria Adebowale-Schwarte. “So we are more than pleased that ‘Seats at the Table’ had addressed this brief, by using participatory approaches to create temporary structures to challenge ableism. We look forward to hearing the conversations that are provoked by this invention across Smithfield and East London. Well done to all our shortlisted teams as well!”
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