Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process

Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London, 2016
Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, University of London, 2016
A Public Hearing, How to Speak, window view, 2016
A Public Hearing, How to Speak, 2016
A Public Hearing, How to Speak, group activity, 2016
A Public Hearing, How to Speak, 2016

Arts Catalyst announces Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process, a multi-year research programme launching in May 2016 with A Public Hearing.

Starting from Arts Catalyst’s new neighbourhood of Cromer Street, in London’s Kings Cross and expanding out across the city, Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process will create a platform for international artists, urbanist collectives and research architects to come together with local communities. Together these groups will explore and document the social, political and environmental issues affecting those who inhabit the city.

Drawing on community-centred practices from around the world, Everyday Urbanism will develop user-centred, sustainable technologies to address some of these key issues and explore the potential of the commons as a way for residents to reclaim their right to the city. In a time of ever diminished state welfare, decreasing council run community infrastructures and housing provisions and the dwindling potential of public space as a site of civil agency, Everyday Urbanism sees an urgency in finding new ways of living and thriving in our cities. 

Everyday Urbanism will evolve over the course of three years creating new relationships, networks, events, exhibitions and commissions. In May 2016, Everyday Urbanism will launch with the first of these projects A Public Hearing. Developed by postgraduate students from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, A Public Hearing is centered on a two-month residency at Arts Catalyst’s Centre for Art, Science & Technology. During this time, they will use the form and function of a traditional public hearing to investigate a number of contemporary conditions. Throughout May the group will conduct closed research with local residents, jointly shaping the form and content of the series of public hearing events. As well as the public hearings themselves, documentation, audio recordings and research materials will form the basis of an evolving installation, open to the public throughout June 2016.

Outputs of the project might include: measuring the weight of the city to understand it as a critical element of the technosphere, its material flows, recycling patterns and sedimentation processes; the re-use and repurposing of empty urban plots for community farming; re-thinking the urban landscape in terms of use rather than ownership; and a range of workshops both re-introducing traditional craft techniques and utilising the latest in 3D scanning, digital mapping, and DIY pollution testing technologies.

Everyday Urbanism will be developed in collaboration with a curatorial advisory group including Arts Catalyst, Territorial Agency / John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, curator Claire Louise Staunton (Flat Time House/MK Gallery) and Susan Schuppli, Deputy Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Cromer Street based Barrister Ousman Noor.

Everyday Urbanism is supported by the Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.