Ideas Competition: Designing the Urban Commons

Ideas competition which called for new ways to stimulate the city’s public and collective life

An event hosted by LSE Cities

Designing the Urban Commons was an ideas competition which called for new ways to stimulate the city’s public and collective life. Applications for the competition opened on the 25 March 2015 and closed on 1 May 2015 at 5pm.

The range of activities permitted in urban spaces is becoming increasingly narrow. Many streets and squares are now managed by private owners and those held by the state are sanitised and policed to protect property values. Commoning, the collective ownership and management of resources, is currently being reimagined across social, political and economic debates as a response to this challenge facing all cities today. How can space be created for people to come together in public to produce and use the city’s resources outside of market demands? With Britain’s rich history of common rights, London is the perfect place to test commons out as a vital approach to urban design.


The eight winning proposals will be chosen by a jury including Theatrum Mundi founder Richard Sennett, architect Sarah Wigglesworth and commons advocate and curator Francesca Ferguson, with a further two winners selected by an online public vote. These ten will be awarded £300 prize money and, in June, will have their designs exhibited at LSE during the London Festival of Architecture. The competition  opened on the 25th March with a panel discussion at LSE on the practice of urban commoning, including architects Public Works Group. At a workshop at the V&A’s Friday Late on 26th June competition winners will also be given the opportunity to present their vision to the public, continuing the discussion about common futures for urban space in a live setting.

Please click here to access the Designing the Urban Commons website with full details of the competition.

Applications for the ideas competition closed on 1 May 2015.