Exhibitions open today 10 - 18

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Courtesy of Public Practice.

New Municipalism: Reinventing Public Planning

Over the last few decades, architects, urbanists and planners in the UK have seen a realignment of their scope from public service to private interests. In 1976, 49% of architects in the UK worked in the public sector. Today, it is less than 1%.

This paradigm shift in the purpose of built environment professions has had a profund impact on the quality, and equality, of everyday places. The effects are being felt on the ground through a crisis in the availability of affordable housing, rising spatial inequality, and unsustainable forms of development. The lack of a licence to work in the public interest has also limited the agency of architects, urbanists and planners to work beyond the constraints of commercial briefs, or contractual terms.

More recently, it has become increasingly apparent that national government and the private market have been incapable of stepping up to tackle the scale of the crises facing the UK in terms of housing, inequality and the climate. Hope, action and innovation are coming from a less likely source: local government. Public Practice is part of a growing movement of New Municipalism that is reinventing how local authorities work with communities, and shape the future of places. Finn Williams will present Public Practice’s instrumental role in rebuilding the public sector’s capacity to plan proactively. He will discuss how architects, urbanists and planners are forging new ways of working in the public interest, and what the potential implications are for the future of the built environment sector.

In collaboration with Stockholms Arkitektförening.


Friday 14 February