Tara Gbolade’s talk for Temple Bar Trust

Tara Gbolade is the latest architect to give a talk to Temple Bar Trust on 18 October 2021, chaired by Lucy Bullivant. She presented some of Gbolade Design Studio’s architecture and policy projects as case studies, highlighting how the practice responds to environmental, social and economic sustainability priorities, with the ultimate goal of designing kinder places to live, work and play.

The Studio’s practices are predicated on the notion of ever learning, ever being curious, and ever testing theories that mean starting design with the end-users firmly in slight: recognising that they are the experts of where they live work and play, and as architects, they are but the custodians in a moment who make decisions with generational effects on place. Tara explained how the practice is rethinking traditional notions and materiality to ensure its responses to place and communities are authentic and work for the broadest of users, ensuring that these places allow people to live their full and authentic lives.

Tara Gbolade is an RIBAJ Rising Star Winner and co-founder of Gbolade Design Studio, recently shortlisted for the BD Young Practice of the Year Award. The practice specialises in sustainable design with insight from existing communities. Tara is a co-founder of the Paradigm Network, a professional network championing black and Asian representation in the built environment; and she sits on the steering group of Architects Declare. Her expertise in design and planning policy saw her lead the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town Sustainability Strategy – an ambitious planning guidance for Essex and Hertfordshire County Councils. Tara is a member of a few Design Review Panels in and around London, and sits on the Public Practice Board as an Alumni Observer. She is a member of the advisory committee for the Guys & St Thomas Charity Impact on Urban Health initiative.

Lucy is an Expert – Specialist, Design Council

Lucy is “delighted to be continuing her association with Design Council as an ‘expert – specialist’ in its new diverse, multidisciplinary network of experts addressing major social, environmental and economic challenges. The network of ambassadors, associates and specialists, and corporate partners ‘collectively embodies Design Council’s commitment to make life better by design’, delivering place design services, innovation, systems and service design across the UK.  By better reflecting underrepresented groups, the new network ensures Design Council’s design support and advice is not only for a diverse society, but given by a network representing that diversity, enabling Council clients to best serve their communities and the UK’s social environment more widely.

As a specialist I will be informing Design Council’s thinking and approach, contributing to research, policy and thought leadership. I look forward to working with the Council, its clients and members of the new network, applying my intercultural experience and skills in place strategy, including co-creating and moderating participatory processes for equitable and inclusive, regenerative and distributive design outcomes.”

The full list of corporate partners, associates and specialists can be seen here.

Stephanie Edwards, Urban Symbiotics – Temple Bar Trust talk, 4 March

Stephanie Edwards, architect, urbanist and cofounder, Urban Symbiotics, gives the next talk in our Temple Bar Trust Pathfinders series, 4 March, 6:25-7:45pm GMT, which I am chairing. Sign up details here.

Urban Manifesto webinar series – latest episodes

We’ve hugely enjoyed creating and hosting our webinar series, Urban Manifesto, launched in May 2020, to create a manifesto for a happier, healthier and liveable urban future as the world transitions from the COVID emergency into a new era, collaborating with a wealth of speakers from different disciplines around the world. Urban Manifesto is co-hosted by Lucy Bullivant, place strategist, author & founder of and Prathima Manohar, founder of think-do-tank The Urban Vision. The latest episodes explored Urban Innovation with Philipp Bouteiller, CEO, Berlin TXL – the Urban Tech Republic, and Meridian Water – Creating a new piece of city, with Peter George, Programme Director, Meridian Water, and Lisa Woo, Head of Placemaking. See videos of the episodes below.

Urban Manifesto 2021 kicked off on Wed 7 April, 3-4pm GMT, with guest speaker Indy Johar, architect and cofounder of Dark Matter Labs and 00 Architecture. Watch the episode here.

For our first episode live cast on 26 May 2020 we explored ‘Streets as Places of Mobility and Interaction’ with London-based architect Dinah Bornat and Demetrio Scopelliti, advisor to the Deputy Mayor of Milan. Urban Manifesto is co-hosted by Lucy Bullivant, place strategist, author & founder of and Prathima Manohar, founder of think-do-tank The Urban Vision.

MARCH Architectural School, Moscow – Architectural (De)Schooling in the Age of Quarantine, online talk series

Lucy Bullivant gave a talk together with collaborator Alexander Eriksson Furunes on 2 July at 16:00 GMT (Moscow, 19:00 GMT+3).

Applying pedagogical processes as part of ongoing architectural and cultural practice transcends the traditionally contained model of an academic environment. Instead of an ‘ivory towers’ approach, intensive applied educational activities in specific local contexts serve to enlarge a combined practical and conceptual awareness of real sites, as part of an ethos of lifelong learning. 

Norwegian architect Alex Furunes brings students into most of his international projects, in Vietnam, Hunan and Shenzhen, engaging them with citizens to design and build. British place strategist, curator and author Lucy Bullivant engages in educational processes through projects using a range of media which serve to draw out new, hybridised relationships between teacher and taught, transcend disciplinary boundaries and localise impacts through participation. This can be seen in a few of their collaborations with communities and students on Biennale projects: one, a collaboration with Shenzhen university students and a knitted garment factory in the urban village of Baishizhou for the UABB Biennale, Shenzhen, 2016; the other, a close collaboration with CAMI migrants support centre and students of FAU Mackenzie to design banners in the Sao Paulo Metro as part of the São Paulo Biennale, 2017. A third and ongoing project is the building of a community centre in Oslo, initiated as part of the Oslo Architecture Triennale, 2019.

Mobilising the Periphery, ANCB Berlin

Urban peripheries are typically perceived as presenting only big challenges or problems. Lucy contributed an essay, ‘Dynamic Urban Regeneration in London’, to Mobilising the Periphery: Incubator for Urban Development, the 135 page publication from the Aedes Urban Laboratory, Berlin (2019), gathering together 48 multidisciplinary responses – initially presented at a series of symposia staged between 2015 and 2018, and now as a set of illustrated summaries – each of them alternatives to different peripheral situations.

Full details and ordering information here.

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Mobilising the Periphery: Incubator for Urban Development, 2019, Aedes Urban Laboratory, Berlin.

Dwell in possibility: liveable urbanism

Dwell in possibility: liveable urbanism – inspired by the title of the poem by Emily Dickinson – is the latest issue of Lucy’s webzine It analyses today’s capacities for high quality public housing and liveable urbanism more broadly, investigating emerging strategies and projects in the UK, across Europe and in Mexico. puts cohousing, participatory placemaking and deliberative democracy centre stage in liveable urbanism’s next chapter. Thanks a lot to everyone who helped create this issue!

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Parque Colinas del Sol, Francisco Pardo, 2017, Unidad Habitacional Los Héroes II, Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico. © Jaime Navarro.

To Meridian Water…and Beyond

‘Making Meridian: Enfield faces its future’ is a new article by editor-in-chief of Lucy Bullivant which featured on the cover of the 152 page winter issue of New London Quarterly published with a redesign by Stefano Meroni. In it she explores Enfield Council’s creative leadership impacting its bespoke approach to Meridian Water. Along with other top priorities for the borough and its communities. Check it out! Available to buy online here or you can read the story in full (without illustrations) on the Meridian Water website. Erratum: Sarah Cary, Executive Director, Place, at Enfield Council, for the last two years, took up her post in March 2018. Apologies for the gremlin in the works, Sarah.

Front cover of New London Quarterly, winter issue, published Dec 2019, editor David Taylor, featuring (l-r) Enfield Council's Ian Davis (Chief Executive), Sarah Cary (Executive Director, Place), Nesil Caliskan (Leader) and Peter George (Programme Director - Meridian Water). Photo © Grant Smith.
Front cover of New London Quarterly, winter issue, published Dec 2019, editor David Taylor, featuring (l-r) Enfield Council’s Ian Davis (Chief Executive), Sarah Cary (Executive Director, Place), Nesil Caliskan (Leader) and Peter George (Programme Director – Meridian Water). Photo © Grant Smith.

Lucy speaking on cultural infrastructure and placemaking at MIPIM UK, 15 Oct 2019

Lucy was a panel member at MIPIM UK, Old Billingsgate, London (14-15 October), on ‘Cultural infrastructure and placemaking: Its role in positioning a city as a destination and value creation’, staged on 15 October. The panel explore a range of questions including, how can new developments in cultural infrastructure and placemaking shape the future of UK cities? How do we promote quality in design, future thinking and knowledge sharing? And how do we overcome the gentrification challenge to retain the culture of a place? Sir Horace Jones Stage. Chaired by Fiona Bruce, British journalist, broadcaster and TV presenter (second from left, below), with Lucy Bullivant, Director, Lucy Bullivant & Associates (second from right, below); Sherry Dobbin, Partner, Futurecity; (left, below) Ros Morgan, Chief Executive, Heart of London Business Alliance (right, below); and Tony Reeves, Chief Executive, Liverpool City Council (middle, below). 

Speakers Associates is handling Lucy’s speaking engagements

Keynotes provide a unique event experience. Lucy creates and presents engaging and original public keynote talks, and chairs important panels and roundtables at venues around the world. She puts together a bespoke content strategy around your speaking priorities, and connects with audiences before and after her speech or panel.

Lucy only speaks about things she knows and cares about: topical, meaningful issues of architecture, urban design and planning, unpacking complex themes by simply telling a memorable story with a sense of humour to arouse enthusiasm and unity, and leaving the audience with actionable tools. She deepens her points with compelling imagery, and weaves in anecdotes about her personal international research of best practice exemplars.

As a chair Lucy is organised, inclusive, attentive, firm and positive. She sets the right tone in her introduction and creates a good narrative flow. Check her out co-hosting Urban Manifesto, the webinar series she set up with Prathima Manohar in 2020 here.

Lucy shares your event on her social media platforms (Lucy Bullivant and

If you prefer to work with an agency you can also book Lucy through her speaking agent, Patrick Nelson at Speakers Associates +44 (0)115 9713173

Lucy’s Speakers Associates profile page with video clips is here.

Chairing Agents of Change: Today’s Sustainability Pioneers, for Roca, at Roca London Gallery, 4 June 2019, with (from left to right) architect Rodrigo Gonzalez, co-founder of Skipping Rocks Lab; Susanna von Eyben, interior architect, White Arkitekter; Brodie Neill, designer and founder of Made in Ratio.
Lucy giving a lecture about her award-winning book Masterplanning Futures at Territorial Encounters, the 2nd annual Future Cities Lab, international conference, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 10-11 September 2012, live-streamed to ETH’s Future Cities Lab in Singapore.

May 2019: Dugnad Days, our participatory design project, is chosen to be part of the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2019 on the theme, Enough: the Architecture of Degrowth

Our new participatory design project Dugnad Days, selected for the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2019, is on show in The Library, a major OAT exhibition, which is taking place at the National Museum of Architecture in Oslo from 26 September-24 November. The Triennale is the Nordic region’s biggest architecture festival, and one of the world’s prominent arenas for dissemination and discussion of architectural and urban challenges.  See Lucy’s article in about the OAT 2019 and Dugnad Days, and her review of OAT 2019 in The Architects’ Journal.

Above and right: Dugnad Days community workshop at Sletteløkka, Oslo, May 2019, choosing priority activities for the ‘grendehus’.

The Dugnad Days team is Alexander Eriksson Furunes, a Norwegian architect and participatory design specialist; Lucy Bullivant; Mattias Josefsson, architect and teacher at AHO (Oslo School of Architecture) & BAS (Bergen Architecture School) and Maria Årthun, a recent architecture graduate of AHO and co-founder of Makers’ Hub. Bydel Bjerke, the local borough council, is one of the project funding partners of Dugnad Days along with KORO – Public Art Norway. Through a series of workshops with members of the local community we are programming, designing and renovating a vacant space at Sletteløkka, a suburb of Oslo, into a ‘grendehus’ – a new community centre for residents. Aurora Brekke has made a new short documentary film about Sletteløkka, the lives of residents and the new ‘grendhus’ project developed through the dugnad workshops. The film is on show at The Library in the community section.

Above and right: Dugnad Days community workshop at Sletteløkka, Oslo, May 2019, choosing priority activities for the ‘grendehus’.

We aim to show how, through participatory placemaking, a collective, bespoke process of building resilience and social sustainability in Sletteløkka can be built. Dugnad Days is coopting the longstanding Norwegian dugnad tradition of co-production and co-creation with citizens – practices fostering human and environmental wellbeing. Through Dugnad Days’ process of dugnads-inspired workshops to create a ‘grendehus’ – a community centre – from a disused structure – the aim is to facilitate a process of direct democracy at Sletteløkka impacting community wellbeing and self-determination.

Above and right: Dugnad Days community workshop at Sletteløkka, Oslo, May 2019, choosing priority activities for the ‘grendehus’

Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT) 2019, which has the theme ‘Enough: the Architecture of Degrowth’ is curated by British architect and writer Maria Smith; Canadian architect and educator Matthew Dalziel; British critic Phineas Harper; and Norwegian urban researcher and artist Cecilie Sachs Olsen. The team is challenging the supremacy of economic growth as the basis of contemporary societies and investigating alternatives, asking ‘how should architecture respond to a climate emergency and social division? What kind of architecture will we create when buildings are no longer instruments of financial accumulation? What will our environment look like when it is human and ecological flourishing that matter most?’.

The local newspaper has already written a feature about our Dugnad Days project at Sletteløkka, Oslo.

These burning questions drive the OAT 2019 programme of exhibitions, sound installations, theatre, performance, roundtables and workshops, engaging and inspiring debate about the future roles of architecture and urbanism between professionals, business communities, decision makers and the public across borders, social layers, sectors and professions, locally, across the Nordic regionally and internationally.

OAT’s major exhibition will be The Library, staged at the National Museum, a project celebrating the value of sharing, de-commodification, and democratisation of goods and ideas at the heart of a degrowth community. Our project, Dugnad Days will be featured in a ‘library of futures’ of over 65 exhibits, it will include drawings, models, materials, artefacts and devices by local and international practitioners presented in four sections, the subjective, the objective, the systemic and the collective.

The Dugnad Days project started in April with Furunes, Josefsson and Årthun running a number of idedugnad (ideas) workshops in Sletteløkka. At these, community members have been brainstorming and summarising the activities they want to prioritise for their ‘grendehus’ (community centre). Their discussion revolved around how these activities could be managed, and what each one needed in the way of elements, resources and plans. Then responsibility for each one was assigned to a key person or people, from within the group. A reporter from the local newspaper in Sletteløkka joined the second workshop and gave the project a good write up. With two workshops under their belt, the local residents taking part used the opportunity to set up their own Velforenging (residents’ association) of Sletteløkka.

Empowered by their formal status and with clarity on everything they want to achieve to make the community centre happen, they then move on to byggedugnad (construction) workshops to bring the resulting overall spatial and artefact designs into being. As part of the curatorial team, Lucy Bullivant is writing stories about the community’s progress for, her webzine on liveable urbanism and will play a contributing role in the final workshop discussions and event preparations before the OAT 2019 is launched. 

On show to the public in OAT’s Library exhibition from 26 September for the Dugnad Days project will be visuals documenting what everyone did at the workshops and, to help visitors implement their own dugnad for a local project of theirs, an illustrated booklet about dugnad-inspired participatory processes will be available.

Dugnad Days is one of a host of fascinating sounding projects that make up the OAT 2019 – which has already tested the water with events anticipating its curatorial programme over the last year. It epitomizes how through focussing their own work and values in their local community, drawing on a rich tradition reinvented for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges, citizens can foster a degrowth approach to sustainable futures. Characterised by cultural richness and social justice, it is one they can continue to build together on their own terms.

Spring 2019+: Lucy researching and writing a new edition of Masterplanning Futures, her award-winning book for Routledge

Masterplanning Futures, Lucy Bullivant, Routledge, 2012. Awarded Book of the Year, Urban Design Group, 2014.

Constitución, PRES sustainable reconstruction masterplan, public space and public buildings plan, riverside, coastal and downtown plans, Elemental. © Elemental.
Lucy giving her Masterplanning Futures lecture, at Territorial Encounters, the 2nd annual Future Cities Lab, international conference, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 10-11 September 2012, live-streamed to ETH’s Future Cities Lab in Singapore.

Event: Book Talk: Masterplanning Futures
Venue: NYC Center for Architecture, USA Date: 14 February 2013
Speaker: Lucy Bullivant Hon. FRIBA
Respondents: Adam Lubinsky, Managing Principal, WXY Studio; Tom Jost, Principal, PB Placemaking; and James von Klemperer, FAIA, Principal, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Moderator: Ernie Hutton, FAICP, Assoc. AIA, Co-chair, AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee, Principal, Hutton Associates/Planning Interaction
Organizers: AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee & AIANY Oculus Committee

Event: Masterplanning Futures lecture, given at Territorial Encounters, the 2nd annual Future Cities Lab Venue: ETH Zurich, Switzerland Dates: 10-11 September 2012 Speaker: Lucy Bullivant Hon FRIBA Panel moderator: Kees Christiaanse, Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, Institut für Städtebau, ETH Zurich

In the past, spatial masterplans for cities have been fixed blueprints realized as physical form through conventional top down processes. These frequently disregarded existing social and cultural structures, while the old modernist planning model zoned space for home and work. At a time of urban growth, these models are now being replaced by more adaptable, mixed use plans dealing holistically with the physical, social and economic revival of districts, cities and regions. Through today’s public participative approaches and using technologically enabled tools, contemporary masterplanning instruments embody fresh principles, giving cities a greater resilience and capacity for social integration and change in the future.

Lucy Bullivant analyses the ideals and processes of international masterplans, and their role in the evolution of many different types of urban contexts in both the developed and developing world. Among the book’s key themes are landscape-driven schemes, social equity through the reevaluation of spatial planning, and the evolution of strategies responding to a range of ecological issues and the demands of social growth.

Drawing on first-hand accounts and illustrated throughout with colour photographs, plans and visualizations, the book includes twenty essays introduced by an extensive overview of the field and its objectives. These investigate plans including one-north Singapore, Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, Xochimilco in Mexico City and Waterfront Seattle, illuminating their distinct yet complementary integrated strategies.

Masterplanning Futures is a key book for those interested in today’s multiscalar masterplanning and conceptually advanced methodologies and principles being applied to meet the challenges and opportunities of the urbanizing world. Lucy’s research for the 2012 edition was enabled by grants from the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), the SfA (the Netherlands Architecture Fund), the Danish Embassy and support from the Alfred Herrhausen Society for attendance at Urban Age conferences globally.

“Lucy Bullivant has completed and published in Masterplanning Futures a comprehensive outlook on some of the most relevant large scale developments in the world that are configuring a new understanding on the role of master plans.” – Manu Fernandez, Human Scale Cities

“The book sets out to explore the diverse range of activities within the broad – and questionable – banner of ‘masterplanning’. Bullivant examines a wide range of design interventions in the city, the motivations of designers and patrons and their relationship to place and culture.” – Jonathan Kendall, Architecture Today

“Set against the wider horizon appearing in the wake of the global economic crisis, this book presents a thoroughly researched argument for a reclaimed approach to masterplanning. A lively, discursive introduction charts how masterplans can no longer be singular, top-down prescriptions but must offer a collective vision and operate as a framework that can be adapted over time.” – Juliet Bidgood, Issue 128, Autumn 2013, Urban Design

“A handsome tome, well written, extensively researched and beautifully illustrated.” – Tim Catchpole, Issue 127, Summer 2013, Urban Design

“There is an almost mythical quality to the place called city – where those that have achieved a certain convergence of cultures and resources become iconic in the map of the world – the pleasure of them transcending the work they are made of. Masterplanning Futures makes a worthwhile casebook for these possible cities.”— Juliet Bidgood, Urban Design Group Journal

“Bullivant’s presentation was like a speed-mentoring session through her very thoughtful and detailed book, beginning with the over-arching premise that there has been a “necessary evolution” from 20th-century top-down master planning, which tended towards a “cut-and-paste urbanism,” to 21st-century bottom-up “adaptive” planning. The challenges facing cities and regions today, she said, require “a dynamic relationship and equilibrium” between those top-down aspirations of the past” and “bottom-up thinking” of today.” – Kirstin Richards, AIA New York