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Designing the Urban Commons

A Public Exhibition in Association with LSE Arts

Date: Monday 15 June - Monday 13 July 2015
Time: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat 12-5pm
Venue: Atrium Gallery, Old Building

This exhibition, shown as part of the London Festival of Architecture, presents the ten winning proposals from the ideas competition Designing the Urban Commons organised by Theatrum Mundi, a network of artists, performers and urbanists based at the LSE Cities research centre.

The competition invites diverse teams to test out the commons as an approach to urban design using London as a test bed. It asks entrants to re-imagine existing land, architecture, or infrastructures across London as common spaces, or to propose completely new urban commons to be created in the city or online. Proposal could include designs for systems, performances, or social ecosystems that all enable citizens to work together to generate and maintain urban resources such as culture, housing and energy.

The range of activities permitted in urban spaces is becoming increasingly narrow. Many streets and squares are now managed by private owners and those held by the state are sanitised and policed to protect property values. Commoning, the collective ownership and management of resources, is currently being discussed across social, political and economic debates as a response to the challenge facing all cities today. This competitions asks people to address how space can be created for people to come together in public to produce and use the city’s resources outside of market demands. With Britain's rich history of common rights, London is the perfect place to test commons out as a vital approach to urban design.

Eight of the proposals will be chosen by a jury including Theatrum Mundi founder Professor Richard Sennett, architect Sarah Wigglesworth, artist Thomas Struth, critic and writer Justin McGuirk and curator Francesca Ferguson, with a further two selected by an online public vote

Also exhibited will be the winners of Theatrum Mundi’s 2014 competition Designing for Free Speech, which re-imagined spaces in NYC as places for free speech, assembly and creative expression.

For more information on the competition which is open for submissions from 25 March – 1 May see www.designingtheurbancommons.org|





This exhibition is open to all, no ticket required. Visitors are welcome during weekdays (Monday - Friday) between 10am and 8pm (excluding bank holidays, when the school is closed, at Christmas and Easter, or unless otherwise stated on the web listing). 

For further information email arts@lse.ac.uk| or phone on 020 7107 5342. 

Just economics and politics? Think again.  While LSE does not teach arts or music, there is a vibrant cultural side to the School - from weekly free music concerts in the Shaw Library, and an LSE orchestra and choir with their own professional conductors, various film, art and photographic student societies, the annual LSE photo prize competition, the LSE Literary Festival and artist-in-residence projects. For more information please view the  LSE Arts| website. 

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Theatrum Mundi