A monthly lecture series that challenges conventional views of social justice, setting a provocative vision for a better, fairer world. Hosted at London’s c18th home of radical thinking: New Unity, Newington Green N16.
Are you prepared to question the status quo and create a new vision of social justice? Do you question the motives of those who currently get to define ‘common sense’, or ‘what’s fair for individuals and society’? Do you ask, ‘does it have to be this way?’ Would you like to become part of the latest chapter in a history of social reform that stretches back, uninterrupted, for 300 years?
New Unity’s lecture series - Voices of Dissent - is the latest chapter in a history of radical thought that stretches back to the early eighteenth century. Come and help to forge a path towards a fairer, more just world. Come and be stimulated, enraged, encouraged or just made to think, in the place where dissenters such as Thomas Paine advocated independence for the colonies, where Mary Wollstonecraft evolved her feminism and where Thomas Jefferson came to listen.
Our speakers are united in their commitment to meaningful social reform. They’re all leading experts in their field, be that economics, politics, science, ecology, or social justice. They refuse to go with the consensus, preferring to ask the difficult questions that others avoid. And then suggest radical answers.
This series is for those of us prepared to take that journey with them. It may sometimes be uncomfortable. But it will always reward and inspire.
£5 including a glass of wine/juice. Booking isn't essential, but we advise that you reserve your place here.
This month's theme:
People, place, participation: Putting community at the heart of planning and place-making
"Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody only because and only when they are created by everybody."
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American, 1961
Even if they don’t know it, communities have a collective intelligence which brings social, economic and environmental value to designing cities and neighbourhoods. Just as the act of voting is a right, it is inherently democratic to bring people genuinely to the heart of planning and placemaking.
Post-war planning and urban renewal has often been undertaken without the involvement and support of local communities and with unintended negative consequences. While the planning system seeks to secure sustainable development in the long-term public interest, all too often becomes adversarial and communities feel alienated from the planning process.
In 1967, a time of great civil unrest in the USA, the American Institute of Architecture held its first Charrette – a multi-day programme of intensive, interactive workshops – as a way for architects and planners to bring the public genuinely into the planning and design process. Charrettes are now an internationally adopted methodology. People’s views are heard and honoured and planners tap in to a wealth of local knowledge and creativity to come up with a shared Vision and plan for a place. Despite the demonstrable benefits, there are still many practitioners and decision makers who lack the confidence and expertise to collaborate with the public effectively. It is time to change the way things are done and to bring communities genuinely to the heart of planning and placemaking.
Charles Campion RIBA AoU, Partner at the award winning architectural practice JTP, will explain the background and theory of charrette processes, illustrated with some case studies from his new RIBA publication 20/20 visions.