'Grand Designs?' An evening workshop at The School of Life, led by David Knight.


One of the coalition government’s controversial strategies for boosting business is to reform the planning system to make it simpler to build. Such developments remind us that planning is political: planning policy controls the built environment in which we live, and yet how much do we know about it and its history? Many of us hold airy fantasies about building our own homes, but the reality is that every decision is impacted by the planning power of local authorities. And at the same time, our ability to work collectively to oppose a new development in our community is hampered by arcane policy and legalese.

Through discussion and interactive exercises, the evening offered a lively insight into the future of collectively designing our built environments. After a talk and debate, attendees were asked to undertake some live planning, by proposing a 'plan' for an area of central London (centred on the School of Life) made blank by an unspecified catastrophe.

The results of the exercise are shown below.

Curated and facilitated by Rebecca Bell.