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Talks and lectures

Public Practice - the future of public design

Join a panel hosted by Public Practice to explore the power and future of design in the public sector.

As part of York Design Week, social enterprise Public Practice explore the power and future of design in the public sector.

Who’s joining us?

Akil Scafe-Smith – Co-Founder of RESOLVE, and Public Practice alumnus

Tina Saaby - City Architect Copenhagen and Urban Expert at Gehl

Laura Alvarez - Urban Designer at Nottingham City Council

Michael Jones - Head of Housing Delivery at City of York Council

Chaired by Finn Williams from Public Practice

Yorkshire has a proud history of public design, from Hubert Bennett at West Riding to Lewis Wormersley in Sheffield. That civic tradition ended in Leeds in 2010 with the retirement of the UK’s last City Architect, John Thorpe. Since then, public planners have often come to be characterised as public enemies by community activists, developers, and even central government.

But today, there is a growing movement of designers, architects and planners working within the public sector to rediscover this civic ambition. They are redrawing the relationship between councils and communities to place a new value on working in the public interest. They are rethinking the role of local government to play a more active part in building inclusive and sustainable homes and places.

This discussion, hosted by the social enterprise Public Practice, will explore the future of design in the public sector in the context of the government’s new Planning White Paper. If local government is often seen as being ‘top down’, how far can councils work with the ‘bottom up’? If activism is assumed to happen from the ‘outside in’, how far can public designers act as activists for good change from the ‘inside out’?