Designing the Urban Commons

A public exhibition in association with LSE Arts

Exhibition hosted by Theatrum Mundi

Winning proposals from the ideas competition organised by Theatrum Mundi
A public exhibition in association with LSE Arts

Date: Monday 15 June – Monday 13 July 2015
Time: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat 12-5pm
Venue: Atrium Gallery, Old Building, Houghton Street, LSE

This exhibition, shown as part of the London Festival of Architecture, presented the ten winning proposals from the ideas competition Designing the Urban Commons organised by Theatrum Mundi, a network of artists, performers and urbanists based at the LSE Cities research centre.

The competition invited diverse teams to test out the commons as an approach to urban design using London as a test bed. It asked entrants to re-imagine existing land, architecture, or infrastructures across London as common spaces, or to propose completely new urban commons to be created in the city or online.

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 discussed across social, political and economic debates as a response to the challenge facing all cities today. This competitions asked people to address how space can 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.

Eight of the proposals were chosen by a jury including Theatrum Mundi founder Professor Richard Sennett, architect Sarah Wigglesworth, artist Thomas Struth, critic and writer Justin McGuirk and curator Francesca Ferguson, with a further two selected by an online public vote.

Also exhibited were the winners of Theatrum Mundi’s 2014 competition Designing for Free Speech, which re-imagined spaces in NYC as places for free speech, assembly and creative expression.