London Borough of Culture project – Seen & Heard – commissioned by Metroland Cultures, and its legacy project the Apprenticeship in City Design – a collaboration between The London School of Economics (LSE), Quintain and the London Borough of Brent – has won the ‘Young people co-creating public spaces’ award at the annual Eurocities Awards.
The Eurocities Awards ceremony took place on 14 June 2023 during the Brussels Urban Summit event which was co-hosted by Eurocities.
“The award winners are an endless source of inspiration for successfully turning challenges into solutions. Against the background of the climate and energy crisis, war in Europe, and an uncertain future for our youth, Hamburg, Bilbao and London spearheaded positive change, paving the way for others to follow in their footsteps.”Burkhard Jung, President, Eurocities, and Mayor of Leipzig
Quintain funded the Seen & Heard project as part of Brent’s year as the Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture 2020, and included six paid opportunities to learn through practice at the LSE.
Participants worked with experts on processes and policies for the management of public spaces, alongside working on real-life examples of truly inclusive spaces across Wembley Park.
“It’s rare that the Mayor, a local authority, a developer, a university, and a youth group get together to develop a long-term project to engage young people in shaping their environment and to raise the level of understanding of what it means to design and make a public space that really works. This initiative has set new standards for public realm in London. The LSE has been delighted to be involved.”Ricky Burdett, Director, LSE Cities
The first of these, Samovar Space was completed last year. Another – White Horse Square – is due to open in 2024.
Samovar Space is an inclusive space designed for and by young people on the site of a small carpark at the foot of Wembley Stadium.
“We are delighted that the Seen & Heard project has been recognised as a leading example of community-led design in Europe. The Samovar Space is within a stone’s throw of Wembley Stadium, the second largest stadium in Europe, so we’re really pleased that young people from across our borough have been able to put their stamp on this area for the young people of today and generations to come.”Councillor Shama Tatler, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Growth, Brent Council
The aim of Samovar Space was to design a place to ‘just be’ and features dining, shelter and collaborative areas, including a purpose-built platform that will host events for young people throughout the year.
The engagement sees people aged 16-24 who are often overlooked by conventional development and planning, working with architects and developers to co-create spaces and places that are welcoming for them.
“It is a sad fact that young people are often overlooked when it comes to the built environment. With this in mind, we are extremely proud of the work we have done, and are continuing to do, via Seen & Heard to make Wembley Park and the wider area a more welcoming place for all. To succeed at these awards and represent not only the Borough of Brent but London as well was an honour for all involved.”Julian Tollast, Head of Master Planning and Design, Quintain
Seen & Heard competed against projects from across Europe for the prize category, including the Overlooked exhibition at Leeds City Museum and inclusive youth space co-created in Lublin, Poland called Hej!
“In establishing the Apprenticeship in City Design I wanted to think of a method for engaging with young people that could be sustained over a long period of time taking a project from conception through to completion; and in doing so give young people the tools to research their own experiences, inform design processes and have a voice in planning and development. It was a great privilege to work with this group of young people who have shown that when local young people are included, they can easily articulate their unmet needs. It is wonderful to receive this fantastic recognition of the great achievements of the young apprentices.”Dr. Julia King, Research Fellow, LSE project lead
Seen & Heard was delivered by The Blueprint Collective with Brent Youth Parliament who supported the project alongside the Quintain and LSE partnership.