Young London Architects Set Up Open Studio Office to Realise Localism Act of 2011

11/03/2013 | Author: | Posted in Entrepreneurs

We Made That, a London-based architecture firm, has set up The Open Office, a walk-in studio where people can take part in realising the Localism Act of 2011, which aims to give locals an opportunity to impart their ideas on how their communities should be developed.

The Localism Act of 2011, which was passed November of last year, was made to invite the community to take part in transforming their neighbourhoods. To date, however, most people are still unsure of how the act works. It also remains a mystery even to urban planners, which actually comes as a surprise.

However, the firm wants to make sure that this act will not be wasted, which is why they want to make the organisation more open to the public. Holly Lewis, co-director of the firm said: “We were fascinated by the fact that communities were being given the power to write their own future, and yet they weren’t being shown how to do it.”

The Open Office project, which will last for five weeks, will be held at the Architecture Foundation (AF) Project Space. It aims to teach interested locals the process of urban planning through various public discussions. The studio will be part ‘Citizen Urban Advice Bureau’ and part architecture practice. The Open Office is open from Tuesday until Saturday from 12-6 pm. There will be a staff from We Made That that will answer queries from walk-in participants.

Lewis added: “We’re trying to create an open forum for thinking about what localism – from neighbourhood planning to the National Planning Policy Framework – actually means in practice.” Though the firm does not have all the answers, it is their hope to try to bring people together from various sectors that do.

The said initiative, which is a result of AF’s call for open ideas, is supported by Openvizor, an arts organisation. The project may seem to be short-lived but it is set to answer important questions regarding participatory planning. We Made That co-director, Mr Oliver Wainwright, will be heading the final session called “Learning from the Open Office” on March 20.

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