20 June 2017
Time: 3:00pm to 8:00pm

This symposium is part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research project, and is convened by Professor Susannah Hagan and Dr Neal Shasore of the Department of Architecture, University of Westminster, and hosted by the RIBA Research Department.

It will address the often ignored importance of design and designers in the production of (civic) public spaces, and examine the role of the architect in London during the mid-20th century, and the much more complex present, with a view to understanding possible futures for architects, urban and landscape designers, planners and councillors in this very important area of design.


Speakers include:


There are two sessions in the symposium, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, and two distinct aims:

3–5pm, Session 1: Design

After introductory remarks from Professor Matthew Carmona to set the scene, the session will be devoted first to panel, and then panel-and-audience discussions. It will open up the complexities of public space production in spatial and professional terms, taking advantage of the research project’s historical perspective to discuss the evolution of the architect as an urban game-changer.

6–8pm, Session 2: Delivery

This will examine the contractual and procedural present for designers of public spaces, holding up for scrutiny a range of inter-professional models of procurement and delivery. The panel will identify barriers and opportunities – contractual, technical and professional – in the delivery of public space, and consider new possibilities for the architect’s role in the future.

2–3pm Registration

5–6pm Refreshments, registration, tour of ‘Public Spaces and the Architect’ exhibition, RIBA 2nd Floor.


  • New research applicable to current practice challenges: Thought leadership useful for specialist practices and larger practices with public realm design services.
  • Hear from panels of academic experts and specialist practitioners.
  • Identify and discuss models – procurement, contractual, collaborative design, and so on – that describe typical design and delivery of public space under the current political and planning regime.
  • Form potential plans of action for better professional collaboration between bodies like the RIBA and RTPI to champion better design and smoother delivery of public space.
  • Benefit from a ‘takeaway’ pack of learning materials for further CPD, including: Annotated bibliography.
  • ‘Takeaway’ pack of learning materials for further CPD including an annotated bibliography.

Full details

Tuesday 20 June 2017, 3pm–8pm (2 sessions)

Wren Room
Royal Institute of British Architects
66 Portland Place
London W1B 1AD

Public Space Research:

How to attend

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