Placeworks specialises in bringing policy and places to life.

Here are links to the most recent projects where Placeworks has worked with people including the Mayor of London, GLA, Academy of Urbanism, Cross River Partnership and We Made That to find a clear, informed and engaging voice.

If you have a similar challenge contact Sarah to discuss how we can work together.

Cultural Infrastructure Plan

Client: Mayor of London

Status: Published March 2019

Cultural infrastructure is vital to maintaining London's role as a world leader in culture and creative industries. However, retaining and growing London’s cultural infrastructure is complex, there is not one quick fix. The Mayor of London’s first ever Cultural Infrastructure Plan sets out why cultural infrastructure is important to London, how it is at risk and what can be done, and signposts the wider resources the Mayor is investing in to help. As a call to action it offers practical examples of successful projects so far, flags opportunities for future action, and sets out an action plan to support and grow cultural spaces in London. It helps local authorities, developers, landowners …

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Client: Mayor of London

Status: Published March 2019

Cultural infrastructure is vital to maintaining London's role as a world leader in culture and creative industries. However, retaining and growing London’s cultural infrastructure is complex, there is not one quick fix. The Mayor of London’s first ever Cultural Infrastructure Plan sets out why cultural infrastructure is important to London, how it is at risk and what can be done, and signposts the wider resources the Mayor is investing in to help. As a call to action it offers practical examples of successful projects so far, flags opportunities for future action, and sets out an action plan to support and grow cultural spaces in London. It helps local authorities, developers, landowners, cultural and community organisations, artists and businesses to work with the Mayor to support cultural infrastructure in London.

Placeworks was commissioned to support the writing and editing of the Cultural Infrastructure Plan to ensure its messages and recommendations engage with the wide audiences needed to help it succeed.

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Understanding London's Markets

Client: Mayor of London

Status: Published November 2017

Street markets are part of the fabric of London life: they are at the heart of many communities and local places, and offer Londoners a diverse range of economic, social, and environmental benefits. However, while many markets are thriving there are challenges for markets to maximise this 'social value', and unlock investment that will continue to bring these benefits.

The Mayor of London commissioned the report 'Understanding London's Markets to set the context for a new, strategic approach to London’s markets by the London Markets Board. Placeworks was commissioned both to research and edit this major survey, drawing on the wide-ranging experience of people working across the sector to build a …

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Client: Mayor of London

Status: Published November 2017

Street markets are part of the fabric of London life: they are at the heart of many communities and local places, and offer Londoners a diverse range of economic, social, and environmental benefits. However, while many markets are thriving there are challenges for markets to maximise this 'social value', and unlock investment that will continue to bring these benefits.

The Mayor of London commissioned the report 'Understanding London's Markets to set the context for a new, strategic approach to London’s markets by the London Markets Board. Placeworks was commissioned both to research and edit this major survey, drawing on the wide-ranging experience of people working across the sector to build a better picture of London’s markets, exploring the challenges markets face, the breadth of value they offer, and the opportunities available. The report makes recommendations that will inform work by London Markets Board towards a new markets strategy, to ensure London’s markets thrive in the future.

https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/20171219_gla_markets_report_web.pdf

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High Streets for All

Client: Mayor of London / We Made That

Status: Published September 2017

High Streets for All is an in-depth urban study reporting to the Mayor of London. It aims to better understand the social as well as economic and spatial value of high streets to Londoners, and to examine how this value can best be expanded and protected.

The study was researched and written by We Made That and LSE Cities, and Placeworks was commissioned to edit the final report, to ensure a consistent voice and tone throughout. 

https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/high_streets_for_all_report_web_final.pdf

Urbanism, a compendium of great places (Routledge)

Client: Academy of Urbanism

Status: Published 2016

Urbanism, by David Rudlin, Rob Thompson and Sarah Jarvis, is a compendium of 75 places shortlisted as part of the Academy of Urbanism's annual awards celebrating great cities, towns, streets and neighbourhoods. For the informed (urbanist) armchair traveller, this treasure trove reveals figure ground plans, drawings and poems, alongside the story of each of these 75 special places, proving that there are many ways to get to know a place, and many places worth getting to know.

https://www.routledge.com/Urbanism/Rudlin-Thompson-Jarvis/p/book/9781138015623

Green Capital - Placeworks edits new publication on London's green infrastructure projects

Client: Cross River Partnership

Status: Published 2016

Keen to try your hand at urban greening but worried that investing in biodiversity is bad for your bottom line? Think again!

As London's population rises the environment needs to be increasingly resilient to cope. To help make the business case to encourage more green infrastructure projects in London, Cross River Partnership has published 'Green Capital', and Placeworks was very pleased to be asked to work with top designers Hudson Fuggle to edit this handy new guide, introduced by Sir Terry Farrell.

Packed with practical case studies highlighting lessons learned as well as achievements, 'Green Capital' shows how green infrastructure is taking root across the capital as central London's Business Improvement …

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Client: Cross River Partnership

Status: Published 2016

Keen to try your hand at urban greening but worried that investing in biodiversity is bad for your bottom line? Think again!

As London's population rises the environment needs to be increasingly resilient to cope. To help make the business case to encourage more green infrastructure projects in London, Cross River Partnership has published 'Green Capital', and Placeworks was very pleased to be asked to work with top designers Hudson Fuggle to edit this handy new guide, introduced by Sir Terry Farrell.

Packed with practical case studies highlighting lessons learned as well as achievements, 'Green Capital' shows how green infrastructure is taking root across the capital as central London's Business Improvement Districts are making a big difference through small interventions.

It turns out that not only are pocket parks, rain gardens, living walls and planted roofs good for the environment, they really are good for business too.

Download your copy here www.bit.ly/GreenCapitalreport

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Routledge 'Urbanism' book now available for pre-order!

The much anticipated 'Urbanism', co-written by Sarah Jarvis with Wolfson prize-winner David Rudlin and star urban designer Rob Thompson will be available from 1 November from all good bookshops and online here

Author blurb says: "Sarah Jarvis is a writer about cities who has tried out several for size, living in Paris, New York and Dublin before settling in London. Since studying Geography at Cambridge University Sarah has been exploring different ways to understand, communicate and actively influence how places work – from journalism and travel writing to academic research and consultancy. Sarah has an MPhil in Urban Planning from the Bartlett School UCL, and has worked on projects that range in scale from assessing urban renaissance across England to …

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The much anticipated 'Urbanism', co-written by Sarah Jarvis with Wolfson prize-winner David Rudlin and star urban designer Rob Thompson will be available from 1 November from all good bookshops and online here

Author blurb says: "Sarah Jarvis is a writer about cities who has tried out several for size, living in Paris, New York and Dublin before settling in London. Since studying Geography at Cambridge University Sarah has been exploring different ways to understand, communicate and actively influence how places work – from journalism and travel writing to academic research and consultancy. Sarah has an MPhil in Urban Planning from the Bartlett School UCL, and has worked on projects that range in scale from assessing urban renaissance across England to neighbourhood planning in Bankside. She also explores places visually – taking on commissions as an artist to examine the processes of change up close."

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Tall storeys – words on buildings: Part 1. Kirkaldy's Testing & Experimenting Works in the heart of London SE1

You know that bridge you cross four or five times a week – ever wondered if it's completely safe? Luckily the ingenious Victorian engineers who put it up (no, obviously that doesn't include the Millennium Bridge) got there before you, in every sense.

When much of this great city was being transformed the last time round infrastructure wasn't infra dig, in fact quite the opposite. New bridges were springing up everywhere, usually with the aim of improving transport and only occasionally to raise income (just saying).

New building materials were coming into use, and to test that these could do what they were being asked to, independent commercial materials testing houses were a must. Oh yes, except …

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You know that bridge you cross four or five times a week – ever wondered if it's completely safe? Luckily the ingenious Victorian engineers who put it up (no, obviously that doesn't include the Millennium Bridge) got there before you, in every sense.

When much of this great city was being transformed the last time round infrastructure wasn't infra dig, in fact quite the opposite. New bridges were springing up everywhere, usually with the aim of improving transport and only occasionally to raise income (just saying).

New building materials were coming into use, and to test that these could do what they were being asked to, independent commercial materials testing houses were a must. Oh yes, except there weren't any.

Luckily for London, David Kirkaldy, a Dundee-born engineer who trained at the Glasgow shipbuilders Napier, decided that Southwark was the right place to set up his huge Universal Testing Machine (so called because it could twist, pull, compress, punch, and of course pull apart), designed by him and and commissioned from Green and Batley in Leeds. The 47 foot-long machine first arrived in Southwark in 1866.

It was lucky for other cities round the world, too. Within two weeks of opening a box of steel samples arrived to be tested from Krupp in Essen. Later, samples would come from the Eads Bridge in St Louis, as well as Sydney Harbour Bridge. When the new highway of Southwark Street was cut and building plots released, David Kirkaldy designed a four-storey over basement 'machine' to house the UTM, complete with a 'museum of fractures' on the upper floors where huge samples of previous tests were laid out for prospective clients to inspect. Those London bridges you might know from personal experience include Blackfriars and Hammersmith.

99 Southwark Street opened for business on 1 January 1874, defiantly declaring over the door "Facts Not Opinions". And it has been there ever since, though the testing business closed down after 99 years and for the last 30 it's been operating as a small, independent museum.

Oh yes, and the machine still pulls metal apart. To find out more, and see it for yourself, you can visit the Kirkaldy Testing & Experimenting Works on the first Sunday of each month. Or, if you have a bunch of friends or work colleagues you'd like to impress with a private tour, get in touch

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Neighbourhood planning in London - do you live or work in Bankside? Get involved!

Bankside Neighbourhood Forum has published a Pre-Submission draft of Bankside Neighbourhood Plan. This is the chance to get it right, so please take a look at the Bankside Neighbourhood Forum website www.wearebankside.com (link is external). As well as links to the plan, there is a survey where you can record your comments and ideas.

A bit of background

Bankside's residents and businesses have long been committed to helping shape the future of this historic commercial and residential district of London. The introduction of neighbourhood development plans through the Localism Act 2011 means that in future these ideas and priorities can have statutory influence through planning policy. Find out how you can get involved.

Since late 2010 a …

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Bankside Neighbourhood Forum has published a Pre-Submission draft of Bankside Neighbourhood Plan. This is the chance to get it right, so please take a look at the Bankside Neighbourhood Forum website www.wearebankside.com (link is external). As well as links to the plan, there is a survey where you can record your comments and ideas.

A bit of background

Bankside's residents and businesses have long been committed to helping shape the future of this historic commercial and residential district of London. The introduction of neighbourhood development plans through the Localism Act 2011 means that in future these ideas and priorities can have statutory influence through planning policy. Find out how you can get involved.

Since late 2010 a group of representatives of Bankside’s business, residential, and other community stakeholders from within the area have been exploring the development priorities and ambitions for Bankside that should be encompassed thorugh a neighbourhood development plan. NDPs, usually known as neighbourhood plans, are part of the statutory planning process, enabling local communities to develop detailed planning policy for a specific area.

As well as setting out policies to give developers a clearer idea of what development in Bankside should be like, a neighbourhood plan can identify ways development can deliver benefits for the community – setting out priorities for projects for Bankside that the community wants and making sure that Bankside stays an attractive place for investment that benefits the whole borough.

The Forum has been working with residents, businesses and local organisations to discuss priorities and gather ideas. These are being brought together into a draft neighbourhood plan with the help of consultants. Once the draft is complete there will be a further chance to comment on the policies and projects in the plan before it goes to Southwark Council. It will then go through a series of tests and be put to a ballot of local residents and businesses.

If successful in this ballot, Bankside's plan will become part of the development planning framework for Bankside when the council decides planning applications here.

Bankside Neighbourhood Forum hopes that as many people as possible who live, work and visit Bankside will want to get involved and add their voices to shaping how Bankside develops in future.

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Get the lowdown on what's going up

If you live or work in central London it might seem as though your neighbourhood is constantly changing, so knowing some of the stories behind the developments can help to make sense of it all.

Placeworks works with Better Bankside, the Business Improvement District, and Southwark Council to do just that - here's one of the latest stories.

Tracking delivery - how Guy;'s Cancer Centre got the Logistics treatment

There have been many challenges in designing and delivering a world class new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital in the heart of the capital.

For Andy Bush, Senior Construction Leader for contractors Laing O’Rourke, the central London location posed one of the greatest.

Judging how to get construction vehicles to arrive …

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If you live or work in central London it might seem as though your neighbourhood is constantly changing, so knowing some of the stories behind the developments can help to make sense of it all.

Placeworks works with Better Bankside, the Business Improvement District, and Southwark Council to do just that - here's one of the latest stories.

Tracking delivery - how Guy;'s Cancer Centre got the Logistics treatment

There have been many challenges in designing and delivering a world class new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital in the heart of the capital.

For Andy Bush, Senior Construction Leader for contractors Laing O’Rourke, the central London location posed one of the greatest.

Judging how to get construction vehicles to arrive on site at the time they’re needed can be difficult at the best of times. Arrive early and they have to drive around until they can be received, or else park somewhere, usually inappropriate, to wait. Neither option was acceptable at Guy’s where the site of the new Cancer Centre is doubly challenging: not only is the historic hospital at the heart of a busy neighborhood, with narrow streets with definitely nowhere to park large trucks, but one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Europe – the redevelopment of London Bridge Station – was underway just around the corner. How could construction materials be delivered here safely and on time without causing many months of disruption to local residents and businesses?

The answer has been to find a dedicated holding area and manage the movement of trucks meticulously. Discussions with Transport for London and Southwark Council considered several different options but finally a facility was found at Surrey Quays three miles away and the operation began in March 2013. It’s been working out well.

Andy Bush says, “On average over the last 12 months we have received more than 500 deliveries a month, peaking in October and November last year at over 750. Without the ability to hold and manage the trucks outside Southwark you can imagine the problems and disruption that would have been caused.

“Contractors working on the site have to book all their deliveries in onto our computerised ‘juggler’ system which is managed by our own logistics manager Jon Holder. No deliveries will be accepted on site if they haven’t been booked in and agreed with him. Deliveries go to the holding area approximately 45 minutes before being due on site. They book in with our traffic marshals who are in radio contact with the site team, and they can then call in the vehicles knowing that they can be received directly on site for unloading.

“Keeping delivery vehicles out of the neighborhood as much as we can helps not only our project and all the others around London Bridge, but also other road users, including cyclists. The safety of cyclists is really important to us and last year we sponsored a ‘Trucks for Savvy Cyclists’ event here with Better Bankside and Southwark Council, when cyclists could sit inside a truck and experience the visibility from the cab for themselves.

“It was particularly rewarding at our Logistics Group meeting to hear Ian Law commend the way the holding site is working. And we’re glad to say it will be used throughout the life of the project until April 2016.”

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Towns I am currently re-reading - Margate-sur-Mer

As you may know, Placeworks has been invited to contribute to a forthcoming book, Urbanism, to be published next year by Routledge. Here's what the Routledge website says:

"The Academy of Urbanism was founded in 2006 with a mission to recognise, encourage and celebrate great places across the UK, Europe and beyond, and the people and organisations that create and sustain them. This book is a compendium of seventy five places that have been shortlisted as part of the Academy's annual awards scheme which covers great Places, Streets, Neighbourhoods, Towns and Cities.

"Included are 75 places shortlisted between 2009 and 2013. Each has been visited by a team of Academicians who have spent time in the place, talked …

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As you may know, Placeworks has been invited to contribute to a forthcoming book, Urbanism, to be published next year by Routledge. Here's what the Routledge website says:

"The Academy of Urbanism was founded in 2006 with a mission to recognise, encourage and celebrate great places across the UK, Europe and beyond, and the people and organisations that create and sustain them. This book is a compendium of seventy five places that have been shortlisted as part of the Academy's annual awards scheme which covers great Places, Streets, Neighbourhoods, Towns and Cities.

"Included are 75 places shortlisted between 2009 and 2013. Each has been visited by a team of Academicians who have spent time in the place, talked to officials and local people and sought to understand what it is that makes them special and how they have achieved what they have achieved. The Academy also commissions a poem, a drawing and a figure ground plan to understand and interpret the place. David Rudlin, Rob Thompson and Sarah Jarvis have drawn on this treasure trove of material to tell the story of these 75 places. In doing so they have created the most comprehensive compendium of great urban places to have been published for many years."

Writing the section on Margate was an excellent excuse to revisit this coastal comeback kid.

Margate is a town that Placeworks knows quite well, though not from the otherwise enjoyable film 'Mr Turner' where it was, of course, played by a stunt double*.

Dreamland had yet to reopen but there was lots more to see, including beautiful shadows and sea views at Turner Contemporary and the textiles-and-tarts temptations of Old Town, specifically Maxine Sutton's beautiful shop and Greedy Cow cafe next door.

Margate is a place of many parts. Coming out from the narrow shaded streets the sands stretched vast and sunny, though this being a midweek afternoon during term-time and BDR (Before Dreamland Reopened, as I assume this period will later come to be known) the painted swing boats in the Kiddies Corner stood empty. Also standing empty, in traditional seaside fashion, were several shop units on the hilly high street, though one of these, a beautiful Art Deco structure formerly home to Burton's, was lucky enough to be in the process of being up-cycled into a new arts space called Artoptikon. Lana, the driving force behind the transformation was busy up a ladder, but happy to come down for a chat about how she found the building and her plans for its future. Check it out online.

A few weeks later Placeworks was taking the traditional summer jaunt around the urbanist hotspots of the Brittany coast on Agatha Small Ship when we put into Douarnenez harbour. Physically this fishing town bears almost no resemblance to Margate whatsoever, but in spirit they are definitely cousins. More on this shortly.

*Worked out who plays Margate yet? Answers on a postcard. OK, email. First correct answer wins a special prize. Special if you like 19C Victorian industrial heritage.

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Green Capital - green infrastructure for a future city

Client: Cross River Partnership

Status: Published 2016

Nearly half of London is green, making it unique among major conurbations. But the need to accommodate a growing population and London’s continuing attractiveness for investment means this green space is under threat.

Cross River Partnership coordinated the Greening the BIDs Steering Group, bringing together Business Improvement Districts across central London to deliver 19 Green Infrastructure Audits and 16 GI installations, including rain gardens, living walls and green roofs.

To help this inspirational learning take root and flourish more widely, Placeworks was commissioned to create an engaging, user friendly brochure articulating the multi-functional benefits of GI, showing successful green infrastructure installation case studies, along with information and advice about the benefits and a …

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Client: Cross River Partnership

Status: Published 2016

Nearly half of London is green, making it unique among major conurbations. But the need to accommodate a growing population and London’s continuing attractiveness for investment means this green space is under threat.

Cross River Partnership coordinated the Greening the BIDs Steering Group, bringing together Business Improvement Districts across central London to deliver 19 Green Infrastructure Audits and 16 GI installations, including rain gardens, living walls and green roofs.

To help this inspirational learning take root and flourish more widely, Placeworks was commissioned to create an engaging, user friendly brochure articulating the multi-functional benefits of GI, showing successful green infrastructure installation case studies, along with information and advice about the benefits and a delivering GI ‘how to’ guide.

https://crossriverpartnership.org/media/2016/03/CRP-8779-Green-Brochure-AW-WEB-Spreads.pdf

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Q: Can you taste the world in one postcode?

A: Very possibly, if that postcode is London SE1.

Placeworks is currently spending a lot of time working in SE1, especially around Bankside and Borough, and it doesn't take a geography genius to spot that this is a food and drink hotspot. After all they've been specialising in most things comestible here for centuries. But even with so many opportunities to buy it still feels a bit hit and miss. Some companies offer ways to find out more about their products - and their passion for them. Placeworks, branching out into Tasteworks, is on a mission to find out more.

Placeworks en vacances

Placeworks is back at work after a couple of happy weeks sailing the north coast of Brittany. New ports discovered - Roscoff, L'Aber Wrach'h and Trébeurden - old favourites revisited, and everywhere an impressive variety of patisserie to be explored. Cherbourg, visited on the way home, is having a dramatic facelift. The Capitanerie and massive new Centre Commercial are now complete but the main square was still being resurfaced and the Thomas Henry museum is nearing the end of a three-year refurb. That's three summers without paintings. Luckily Cherbourg's other star attraction, restaurant Le Pily, is unaffected by les travaux. Against some stiff opposition (notably La Cotriade in Paimpol), it took the honours in this year's "Agathas …

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Placeworks is back at work after a couple of happy weeks sailing the north coast of Brittany. New ports discovered - Roscoff, L'Aber Wrach'h and Trébeurden - old favourites revisited, and everywhere an impressive variety of patisserie to be explored. Cherbourg, visited on the way home, is having a dramatic facelift. The Capitanerie and massive new Centre Commercial are now complete but the main square was still being resurfaced and the Thomas Henry museum is nearing the end of a three-year refurb. That's three summers without paintings. Luckily Cherbourg's other star attraction, restaurant Le Pily, is unaffected by les travaux. Against some stiff opposition (notably La Cotriade in Paimpol), it took the honours in this year's "Agathas" - the hotly contested awards ceremony where as well as best gastro dining experience, categories this year included "best emballage of patisserie", "most ridiculously long walk" and "most wildlife sharing a shower".

It's not all drinking tea at odd angles you know.

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dbrief Quarterly - bringing you the lowdown on what’s going up in Bankside and London Bridge

With new development comes new opportunities – whether it’s helping to construct the buildings themselves or working in new businesses that move in once they’re finished. The new issue of dbrief Quarterly has just been published and it's all about those prospects.

New developments are set targets for local jobs and training that are often discussed as statistics. In this issue we put names and faces to some of the stories behind the numbers. It’s all about meeting the people, from those working to match jobs up with local people to the head of HR at one of the bigger recent arrivals. And we meet a local resident who was so inspired by the changes around him he decided …

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With new development comes new opportunities – whether it’s helping to construct the buildings themselves or working in new businesses that move in once they’re finished. The new issue of dbrief Quarterly has just been published and it's all about those prospects.

New developments are set targets for local jobs and training that are often discussed as statistics. In this issue we put names and faces to some of the stories behind the numbers. It’s all about meeting the people, from those working to match jobs up with local people to the head of HR at one of the bigger recent arrivals. And we meet a local resident who was so inspired by the changes around him he decided to help make it happen. You can pick up a print from Banskide Community Space, 18 Great Guildford Street, London SE1 0FD.

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David Kirkaldy At Home

To celebrate the launch of our new sponsorship brochure, the directors of the Kirkaldy Testing Museum will be holding an event later this month to bring our plans for the revitalisation of the museum to a wider audience. For an invitation please contact me at: sarah@testingmuseum.org.uk

An opportunity to partner with engineering genius

Kirkaldy’s Testing & Experimenting Works on Southwark Street, London, is the Victorian institution that helped build the world we know today. Ever since he had it shipped to London from the factory in Leeds, David Kirkaldy’s colossal hydraulic Universal Testing Machine has survived intact and in working order here in London, housed in the engineering workshop he designed around it. Survived, that is, until now. Southwark Street lies at the heart of an area that is regenerating fast, making the future of this atmospheric Grade II building – and Kirkaldy’s listed machine inside it – precarious.

A trust of skilled and dedicated volunteers has been the custodian for Kirkaldy’s legacy since the 1980s, opening the Testing Works as a museum with demonstrations once a month. But the museum needs to revitalise. We are planning for a future where the machine and its remarkable story will reach a much wider audience, eventually opening daily …

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Kirkaldy’s Testing & Experimenting Works on Southwark Street, London, is the Victorian institution that helped build the world we know today. Ever since he had it shipped to London from the factory in Leeds, David Kirkaldy’s colossal hydraulic Universal Testing Machine has survived intact and in working order here in London, housed in the engineering workshop he designed around it. Survived, that is, until now. Southwark Street lies at the heart of an area that is regenerating fast, making the future of this atmospheric Grade II building – and Kirkaldy’s listed machine inside it – precarious.

A trust of skilled and dedicated volunteers has been the custodian for Kirkaldy’s legacy since the 1980s, opening the Testing Works as a museum with demonstrations once a month. But the museum needs to revitalise. We are planning for a future where the machine and its remarkable story will reach a much wider audience, eventually opening daily and appealing both to specialist professionals and visitors of all ages, with chances for unique meeting facilities, interactive school visits, training and work experience.

And, of course, the sheer thrill of seeing the hydraulic testing machine test metals to destruction. The same machine that tested the steel for the iconic Mississippi Bridge in St Louis still makes a huge bang today!

The Kirkaldy Testing Museum needs help to make all this happen. We are inviting patrons and sponsors to partner with us in securing the future of the Testing Works, and to help bring it to the next generation of innovators and engineers.

If you would like to find out more contact sarah@placeworks.co.uk.

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Get the low down on what's going up

2014 has brought several new projects to the Logistics Group meeting table – while a couple more have recently completed. Come for a walk around the neighbourhood and get the low down on what’s going up.

Let’s start at Guy’s Hospital, where one of the newest projects, the innovative Cancer Centre is planned to open in 2016. Patients and the local community have helped design every aspect of the 14-storey building, which will streamline the way care is delivered through ‘villages’ covering the main stages of cancer treatment. Approximately 4m below the surface lies one of the area’s oldest structures, a timber Roman boat, officially declared a scheduled monument in 1960s and partly excavated in 2010. The decision was taken …

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2014 has brought several new projects to the Logistics Group meeting table – while a couple more have recently completed. Come for a walk around the neighbourhood and get the low down on what’s going up.

Let’s start at Guy’s Hospital, where one of the newest projects, the innovative Cancer Centre is planned to open in 2016. Patients and the local community have helped design every aspect of the 14-storey building, which will streamline the way care is delivered through ‘villages’ covering the main stages of cancer treatment. Approximately 4m below the surface lies one of the area’s oldest structures, a timber Roman boat, officially declared a scheduled monument in 1960s and partly excavated in 2010. The decision was taken not to lift the boat and as part of Laing O’Rourke’s site works piles will support a concrete slab that spans the boat, allowing monitoring and preservation through water filtration. Museum of London Archaeology unearthed a few more ‘recent’ treasures too, including a Bellarmine Jug apparently used to dispel witchcraft and a pub token, from circa 16th Century.

More information can be found at www.gstt.nhs.uk/cancercentre

Also due to complete in 2016 is Science Gallery at King’s College London. It is part of the Global Science Gallery Network but new Director Dr Daniel Glaser has already said that the changing programme will be locally-driven, a way to bring questions around science, technology and health together with the arts and design. More information at: www.kcl.ac.uk/cultural/sciencegallery

At London Bridge Station the first major service changes are scheduled for the end of March, as the Thameslink works advance. On Friday 28 March, Southern services at London Bridge will be reduced after the morning peak. Over the weekend of 29-30 March, no Southern services will call at London Bridge. As the new platforms 14 and 15 open, so other platforms will close for redevelopment: 12 and 13 next and continuing throughout the development until all 15 are rebuilt. There will be more service changes in August – if this affects you, keep up to date with information on: www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk

Heading west we can see how Ewer Street is getting the Bankside Urban Forest treatment. Building works on Union Street may mean the street is closed to through traffic but it hasn’t been forgotten. As part of Bankside Urban Forest plans are afoot to transform the street, with wider pavements, tree planting, improved lighting and seating. Find out more about The Voices in the Urban Forest project at: www.betterbankside.co.uk/buf/projects

Scheduled to complete in August 2015, Blackfriars Central is a ten-storey, largely residential development with three retail units at 169-173 Blackfriars Road, which will include a new home for Blackfriars Café. Developers Linden Homes hope to incorporate mosaics from the original Old King’s Head pub into the gardens. www.blackfriarsroadcentral.co.uk

From summer 2015 the distinctive orange lampposts of the ‘Tate to Tube’ route will bring pedestrians from Southwark Station to Tate Modern via Hilton London Bankside, the neighbourhood’s newest 5 star hotel. Dexter Moren Associates’ design echoes the urban character at the junction of Farnham Place and Great Suffolk Street, with the aesthetic of the brick, metal and glass façade echoed in the interior. The hotel will have 292 bedrooms and suites, a leisure club with pool, conference facility and huge ballroom, with a coffee shop to enliven the street frontage. For more information see: http://www.dextermoren.com/projects/hotel-leisure/hilton-southwark.html

Heading back along the river, our final stop is Shakespeare’s Globe, where the unveiling of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse has opened up the fascinating opportunity to stage Jacobean plays as they were intended. The years of painstaking research have come to life in a thrilling, intimate space where the two-tiers of galleries and pit can seat 340 people and are lit predominantly by pure beeswax candles. For more information see: www.shakespearesglobe.com/the-sam-wanamaker-playhouse

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Kirkaldy Testing Works - good day at the office

A good day at Kirkaldy Testing Works: the Working Group was really pleased to welcome some special visitors to see the machine in action - and to enjoy some rather delicious tarts from The Table. It's all happening on Southwark Street! Special thanks to Dr Dan Glaser and Tim Henbrey of the new Science Gallery at King's College and to Dan Cruickshank, for coming along and helping put a piece of 19th century wrought iron through its paces.

If you would like to get involved in helping secure the legacy of Kirkaldy's groundbreaking (and everything-else breaking given half a chance) work, please contact me at sarah@placeworks.co.uk

Helping the good become better – we talk to Peter Williams, CEO of Better Bankside, about the appeal of helping to shape the future of Bankside

Regular readers of dbrief Quarterly - written by Placeworks for Bankside and London Bridge Logistics Group - will know we always find someone to talk to who has an interesting view on what's happening.

This is a big year for Better Bankside. The Business Improvement District is going to its third ballot in November and CEO Peter Williams hopes an even stronger endorsement of the BID’s work will let Better Bankside continue its aim to make this the best neighbourhood in the world.

So how did this ardent Swansea City fan become a driving force in Bankside?

Peter first got to know SE1 in the late 1990s. Directing a partnership of public authorities transforming the area around Lambeth Walk, he recognised …

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Regular readers of dbrief Quarterly - written by Placeworks for Bankside and London Bridge Logistics Group - will know we always find someone to talk to who has an interesting view on what's happening.

This is a big year for Better Bankside. The Business Improvement District is going to its third ballot in November and CEO Peter Williams hopes an even stronger endorsement of the BID’s work will let Better Bankside continue its aim to make this the best neighbourhood in the world.

So how did this ardent Swansea City fan become a driving force in Bankside?

Peter first got to know SE1 in the late 1990s. Directing a partnership of public authorities transforming the area around Lambeth Walk, he recognised that what was happening there was happening across London.

"With the commercial heart of the street market gone, the residential area had also lost its allure," he explains. “I saw for myself the vibrancy and richness that a mixed residential and commercial community can create. And it made me think more about how a Business Improvement District could help achieve that.”

In 2000 he came for an interview in the Borough Market boardroom with the group exploring the idea of a BID for Bankside.

“Getting off the bus from Kennington I could see that Bankside had retained its buzz." Even so, the area around the market has changed enormously since then. "Brindisa was an open-fronted unit selling pot plants, across the road from a secondhand clothes shop. But there was already a strong sense that the area was going to change.”

The prospect of helping to shape that change proved irresistible, but as the awkwardly named ‘Bankside Local Management Board’ became Better Bankside, the question arose ‘better for who?’

Peter is keen to stress that although the ‘B’ in BID stands for ‘business’ the key to this area is recognising the importance of all the different voices. "The refreshing thing about the mixed group of stakeholders I have worked with here is their shared understanding that if Bankside is to reach its potential, it has to work for many different interests.”

This attitude is demonstrated well by the Logistics Group, which, together with Southwark Council, Better Bankside was instrumental in setting up.

“Coordinating the different construction projects helps them, but also aims to make the process work better for local people, both businesses and residents.” In particular he enjoys seeing how individual project managers become increasingly engaged with the aims of the group: “it’s fascinating to see their journey from wondering what the Logistics Group is all about, to a point where considerable efforts are taken to mitigate their impact on the community. There's a real responsibility to engage through local projects with social outcomes, from the Urban Orchard and Mini Olympics to helping out with small building projects, the Cycle HGV awareness events and encouraging young people to think about construction as a career.”

So what does the future hold for Bankside?

“There is certainly no sign of the clamour for development activity abating,” Peter believes, and he has high hopes for the outcome of the Neighbourhood Plan process, currently underway here.

"Those of us with the opportunity to look at Bankside in the round have an obligation to engage with those with a more partial interest,” he says. “Decisions taken on a single site basis, which don't take account of how Bankside is evolving, will not only be hard to undo but could work against the long term interest of the neighbourhood.”

However, despite the inevitable disruption, he feels sure that the Bankside community is resilient and able to adapt to change. “The key to future success lies in the extent to which new development respects and responds to what makes Bankside special."

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Applying to be volunteer PM at Kirkaldy Testing Museum? Come and visit on Sunday 2 March

Come along on Sunday 2 March for the monthly opening and see the machine in action! http://www.testingmuseum.org.uk

Talk to the curator and find out how you can join us in helping secure the future of this remarkable place.

The inside track – visit some of London Bridge and Bankside's newest projects

2014 has brought several new projects to the Banskide and London BridgeLogistics Group meeting table – while a couple more projects have recently completed. Come for a walk around the neighbourhood and get the lowdown on what’s going up.

Let’s start at Guy’s Hospital, where one of the newest projects, the innovative Cancer Centre is planned to open in 2016. Patients and the local community have helped design every aspect of the 14-storey building, which will streamline the way care is delivered through ‘villages’ covering the main stages of cancer treatment. Approximately 4m below the surface lies one of the area’s oldest structures, a timber Roman boat, officially declared a scheduled monument in 1960s and partly excavated in 2010. The …

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2014 has brought several new projects to the Banskide and London BridgeLogistics Group meeting table – while a couple more projects have recently completed. Come for a walk around the neighbourhood and get the lowdown on what’s going up.

Let’s start at Guy’s Hospital, where one of the newest projects, the innovative Cancer Centre is planned to open in 2016. Patients and the local community have helped design every aspect of the 14-storey building, which will streamline the way care is delivered through ‘villages’ covering the main stages of cancer treatment. Approximately 4m below the surface lies one of the area’s oldest structures, a timber Roman boat, officially declared a scheduled monument in 1960s and partly excavated in 2010. The decision was taken not to lift the boat and as part of Laing O’Rourke’s site works piles will support a concrete slab that spans the boat, allowing monitoring and preservation through water filtration. Museum of London Archaeology unearthed a few more ‘recent’ treasures too, including a Bellarmine Jug apparently used to dispel witchcraft and a pub token, from circa 16th Century.

More information can be found at www.gstt.nhs.uk/cancercentre

Also due to complete in 2016 is Science Gallery at King’s College London. It is part of the Global Science Gallery Network but new Director Dr Daniel Glaser has already said that the changing programme will be locally-driven, a way to bring questions around science, technology and health together with the arts and design. More information at: www.kcl.ac.uk/cultural/sciencegallery

At London Bridge Station the first major service changes are scheduled for the end of March, as the Thameslink works advance. On Friday 28 March, Southern services at London Bridge will be reduced after the morning peak. Over the weekend of 29-30 March, no Southern services will call at London Bridge. As the new platforms 14 and 15 open, so other platforms will close for redevelopment: 12 and 13 next and continuing throughout the development until all 15 are rebuilt. There will be more service changes in August – if this affects you, keep up to date with information on: www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk

Heading west we can see how Ewer Street is getting the Bankside Urban Forest treatment. Building works on Union Street may mean the street is closed to through traffic but it hasn’t been forgotten. As part of Bankside Urban Forest plans are afoot to transform the street, with wider pavements, tree planting, improved lighting and seating. Find out more about The Voices in the Urban Forest project at: www.betterbankside.co.uk/buf/projects

Scheduled to complete in August 2015, Blackfriars Central is a ten-storey, largely residential development with three retail units at 169-173 Blackfriars Road, which will include a new home for Blackfriars Café. Developers Linden Homes hope to incorporate mosaics from the original Old King’s Head pub into the gardens. www.blackfriarsroadcentral.co.uk

From summer 2015 the distinctive orange lampposts of the ‘Tate to Tube’ route will bring pedestrians from Southwark Station to Tate Modern via Hilton London Bankside, the neighbourhood’s newest 5 star hotel. Dexter Moren Associates’ design echoes the urban character at the junction of Farnham Place and Great Suffolk Street, with the aesthetic of the brick, metal and glass façade echoed in the interior. The hotel will have 292 bedrooms and suites, a leisure club with pool, conference facility and huge ballroom, with a coffee shop to enliven the street frontage. For more information see: http://www.dextermoren.com/projects/hotel-leisure/hilton-southwark.html

Heading back along the river, our final stop is Shakespeare’s Globe, where the unveiling of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse has opened up the fascinating opportunity to stage Jacobean plays as they were intended. The years of painstaking research have come to life in a thrilling, intimate space where the two-tiers of galleries and pit can seat 340 people and are lit predominantly by pure beeswax candles. For more information see: www.shakespearesglobe.com/the-sam-wanamaker-playhouse

Also due to complete this spring, just along the river to the west, is Sea Containers House, where Ogilvy & Mather and Puma are moving into the offices and the Mondrian Hotel is opening its rooftop bar.

Quarterly online extra: Want to know what it’s like to act on the new Jacobean stage in the Sam Wanamaker Theatre? You can read an interview with actor Alex Waldmann, Antonio in the opening production of “The Duchess of Malfi’ online, plus more information about Voices in the Forest and xxx at: www.betterbankside.co.uk/development/extra

Don’t forget to enter our competition while you’re there.

To find out more about ‘Future Bankside’ and see some of these projects up close, join us on Wednesday 26 February 1-2pm for a lunchtime guided walk as part of Better Bankside’s ‘Bustling Bankside’ programme. RSVP to: lp@betterbankside.co.uk or see the website for more details

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Do you shop in dark stores?

Sounds like a trend for the future doesn't it? Reduce energy bills by keeping the lights low? (And another opportunity for Waitrose Quick Check customers to feel smug as they navigate their way around by the glow of their hand-held scanners.) In fact dark stores are here already and if you are one of the growing number of people to have stocked up on your Heston* products online over Christmas then chances are you're already a dark store shopper (*other premium brands are available).

Of course retailers call them something else - dotcom fulfilment centres or DFCs - and they are just like huge, regular stores except that the only 'shoppers' are staff members, going wild in the aisles with …

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Sounds like a trend for the future doesn't it? Reduce energy bills by keeping the lights low? (And another opportunity for Waitrose Quick Check customers to feel smug as they navigate their way around by the glow of their hand-held scanners.) In fact dark stores are here already and if you are one of the growing number of people to have stocked up on your Heston* products online over Christmas then chances are you're already a dark store shopper (*other premium brands are available).

Of course retailers call them something else - dotcom fulfilment centres or DFCs - and they are just like huge, regular stores except that the only 'shoppers' are staff members, going wild in the aisles with oversized trolleys to fulfil the online orders of customers who have requested green bananas or thickly sliced ham. Except they're not going wild, obviously. There is a strict navigation system that ensures maximum efficiency for fulfilling. Not like those pesky customers who clutter up normal stores with their ever-changing directions and 'where are the eggs this week?' inefficiencies. And presumably the lights are on.

Waitrose has announced that 2014 is the year for a second DFC to open in London - at Coulsdon in South London, following their first one in Acton. Previously they were fulfilling online orders from their regular stores, not surprisingly causing some logistics headaches as demand fluctuated massively. Other retailers also operate DFCs though the demand for them is not evenly-spread across the country. Some areas/ 'demographics' will be doing more online shopping than others.

Personally I have yet to try it. Really? It's true. I'm still of the Julius Nicholson school of shoppers. Never mind DFC, for me it's all about FTH.

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Exploring the orchard

A heartwarming story of the joys of Google (other search engines are available).

I have just eaten an Amelia apple from M&S in Bankside and enjoyed it so much I wanted to find out more. I knew from the label that it was called Amelia in memory of the daughter of an M&S colleague and a couple of keystrokes later (inept jabbing at laptop might be more accurate) and i found a website called www.orangepippin.com, which informed me that it was originally a French variety called Dalitron "a modern yellow apple developed in France. Being promoted in the UK by M&S under the name Amelia". Great website for apple-lovers like me who think there's …

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A heartwarming story of the joys of Google (other search engines are available).

I have just eaten an Amelia apple from M&S in Bankside and enjoyed it so much I wanted to find out more. I knew from the label that it was called Amelia in memory of the daughter of an M&S colleague and a couple of keystrokes later (inept jabbing at laptop might be more accurate) and i found a website called www.orangepippin.com, which informed me that it was originally a French variety called Dalitron "a modern yellow apple developed in France. Being promoted in the UK by M&S under the name Amelia". Great website for apple-lovers like me who think there's more to life than Gala and even Braeburn... My tasting notes as follows:

"I ate it quite cold (me and the apple both) and it was refreshing, crisp but not too hard work, with an almost strawberry-like sweet fruitiness without being over-sweet". I'm really pleased that M&S sell other varieties but think that would sell even more of them if they invested in better communications with their customers. Consumers are increasingly interested in provenance and as this is fresh fruit I think a blackboard (chalkboard) could be a good way to pass on tasting notes that might encourage people to be a bit more adventurous! Having a staff member cutting up a couple for sampling might be good too (alongside the usual alcohol and chocolates), especially around Apple Day (late October) when Farmers' Markets are now successfully promoting English apples.

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What makes a great neighbourhood?

Answers on a postcard please.

After living in several different capital cities in the past - Paris, New York and Dublin - Placeworks has been based in London now for nearly 10 years. There are some great neighbourhoods in all of these cities, where you can feel 'at home' whether you're there for only a few months or even days, and one of my favourite back burner projects at the moment is thinking about how best to help even the shortest stay 'resident' - hotel guests - get to know their (temporary) new backyards. Time to put it to the test myself, perhaps.

STOP PRESS Placeworks in New York! Introducing the Tiny Guides

17 years ago Placeworks was briefly based in Manhattan. The …

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Answers on a postcard please.

After living in several different capital cities in the past - Paris, New York and Dublin - Placeworks has been based in London now for nearly 10 years. There are some great neighbourhoods in all of these cities, where you can feel 'at home' whether you're there for only a few months or even days, and one of my favourite back burner projects at the moment is thinking about how best to help even the shortest stay 'resident' - hotel guests - get to know their (temporary) new backyards. Time to put it to the test myself, perhaps.

STOP PRESS Placeworks in New York! Introducing the Tiny Guides

17 years ago Placeworks was briefly based in Manhattan. The Butter and Eggs district was a favourite (as well as for the name); there were bagel sellers across town and every takeout (filter) coffee cup had the same Greek key design around the top... And Soho as in South of Houston was decidedly more interesting then than any district over here named for a hunting call... Turns out that New York is still an exciting, noisy place to live (/visit) but now there's WiFi in pocket parks, not so many bagels, better coffee (Stumptown), the Ace Hotel lobby, Pret (who knew?) and a Soho that got so 'successful' it's now apparently only home to designer clothes stores, though the architecture is still jaw-dropping. And of course there's the High Line. Yes it's amazing, especially at night when the waving grasses and sculptural seating are lit so magically, but my, W14th Street is a long walk.

However, very little in the way of interesting wayfinding and maps, which is, I think where we started, at least not at the rather glamorous hotels where I had the good fortune to be hanging out. Concierges appear to all give out the same standard issue map, and if you quiz them further for a particular address they will jot it down on a small notepad and tear off the sheet for you to lose almost immediately.

So in the absence of anything else I developed something for myself. I call it the Tiny Guide to NYC as it comprises a series of business cards on each of which the person I spoke to last writes down their recommendation(s) for their must see/eat places. You can start your own Tiny Guide anywhere. Here's how.

1. Pick a random store that you like the look of (or a restaurant, but the staff tend to have less time and inclination to join in - unless of course you've just finished eating and the size of your tip has yet to be determined. Yes, I know the rule is "double the tax" but I'm quite audibly British and probably ignorant of the advanced tipping practices of the New World).

2. Strike up a conversation. This bit is remarkably easy, I found, or maybe I'm just friendlier in New York. Get a recommendation or three of favourite places to shop, eat etc and write them on the bck of a business card from the store you're in.

3. Visit the recommended place and ask the person there to give you a further idea, and so on. Having a couple of extra 'routes' to follow early on is useful in case one or two turn out to be dead ends.

My own Tiny Guide began in the Project No.8 store on W29th Street (next to and connected to the Ace).

But that's a whole other story.

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Have you been to Bankside's LAKE?

You really should. 100 Union Street SE1, just along from the Jerwood Space on a site that's well used to creative urban interventions in the past. Have a glass of wine in the handsome brick railway arch then settle back to propel your small boat as it bobs around the temporary lake with (full-size) trains rumbling overhead.

Val Beirne, Bankside Urban Forest Manager says:

"The project has been created by EXYST, a collective of architects, carpenters, cooks, graphic designers, photographers, gardeners and more, who take unused urban land, inhabit it, and open it up to the public and local community. Located in the heart of Bankside Urban Forest, The LAKE is the fifth in a series of temporary projects …

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You really should. 100 Union Street SE1, just along from the Jerwood Space on a site that's well used to creative urban interventions in the past. Have a glass of wine in the handsome brick railway arch then settle back to propel your small boat as it bobs around the temporary lake with (full-size) trains rumbling overhead.

Val Beirne, Bankside Urban Forest Manager says:

"The project has been created by EXYST, a collective of architects, carpenters, cooks, graphic designers, photographers, gardeners and more, who take unused urban land, inhabit it, and open it up to the public and local community. Located in the heart of Bankside Urban Forest, The LAKE is the fifth in a series of temporary projects which have taken place on the same site on Union Street since 2008: EXYZT’s Southwark Lido in 2008 and the reUNION in 2012; and Wayward Plants’ Urban Orchard in 2010 and Urban Physic Garden in 2011. The LAKE is a place to go on holiday in your own city, in your own neighbourhood. It’s a place to see old faces and meet new ones: neighbours, Londoners, visitors from around Britain and abroad.

Throughout September the LAKE will host a number of events and debates about the purpose and design of our buildings and spaces."

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Bankside Neighbourhood Plan - planning a complex city neighbourhood

Neighbourhood plans, introduced by the Government's Localism Act in 2012, encourage communities to get involved in helping to shape how their neighbourhoods will change and develop in future. Bankside in London is an historic, complex and highly characterful place, home to residents as well as businesses, and some world-class cultural superstars. Working together to help map out how the neighbourhood should grow, in such a way that this rich character is sustained and not obliterated, is a real challenge - and one that is pretty unusual amongst the developing neighbourhood plans so far. But Bankside's up for the challenge and a Neighbourhood Forum, made up of residents, large and small businesses and community and cultural organisations, is consulting with …

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Neighbourhood plans, introduced by the Government's Localism Act in 2012, encourage communities to get involved in helping to shape how their neighbourhoods will change and develop in future. Bankside in London is an historic, complex and highly characterful place, home to residents as well as businesses, and some world-class cultural superstars. Working together to help map out how the neighbourhood should grow, in such a way that this rich character is sustained and not obliterated, is a real challenge - and one that is pretty unusual amongst the developing neighbourhood plans so far. But Bankside's up for the challenge and a Neighbourhood Forum, made up of residents, large and small businesses and community and cultural organisations, is consulting with other people to gather ideas for a plan that can make Bankside a better place for everyone.

Placeworks is pleased to have the chance to work with the Neighbourhood Forum in developing these ideas for the future of a unique and special part of London.

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New book commission

Sarah has been invited to co-author a new book on urbanism - details to follow.

What's happening around Bankside and London Bridge? Find out in dbrief Quarterly 17

Get the stories behind the developments at Bankside and London Bridge from the latest issue of dbrief Quarterly, written and edited by Placeworks for Bankside and London Bridge Logistics Group.

In this issue we focus on building opportunities and bringing Bankside to life – from ways into employment for local people to engaging arts projects and festivals that are animating our neighbourhood. We catch up with Bankside Neighbourhood Plan, now that the forum and plan area have been formally designated, and in Meet the People we talk to people involved with EmploySE1, including local resident Lee Bates who has found work through the scheme.

As well as focusing on coordinating and communicating the construction of major development schemes in Bankside …

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Get the stories behind the developments at Bankside and London Bridge from the latest issue of dbrief Quarterly, written and edited by Placeworks for Bankside and London Bridge Logistics Group.

In this issue we focus on building opportunities and bringing Bankside to life – from ways into employment for local people to engaging arts projects and festivals that are animating our neighbourhood. We catch up with Bankside Neighbourhood Plan, now that the forum and plan area have been formally designated, and in Meet the People we talk to people involved with EmploySE1, including local resident Lee Bates who has found work through the scheme.

As well as focusing on coordinating and communicating the construction of major development schemes in Bankside, Bankside Logistics Group has a third ‘c’ in its sights – ‘community’. This means ensuring that local people benefit from the investment being made here. In practice this ranges from supporting local arts and schools projects by supplying materials and expertise to ensuring that local residents can access employment on the construction schemes.

And as well as the targets set for recruiting and keeping local people in work on the projects, there are opportunities to work in the businesses that occupy the buildings once they are completed. Local employment brokerage EmploySE1 can help there.

This issue of dbrief Quarterly tells you more about ways in which Bankside and London Bridge are coming to life – from arts festivals that reimagine our spaces and places to planning for Bankside’s future. If you want to get involved, find out more about Bankside Neighbourhood Plan at www.wearebankside.com.

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Placeworks - the art and communication of how places work

Welcome to Placeworks - the home of freelance geographer and creative consultant Sarah Jarvis.

I take on commissions that impact how places work and am proficient in both words and pictures - with experience ranging from writing policy and strategies for urban neighbourhoods to creating public art.

Please scroll down for the latest news, or read more about consultancy and art projects using the Menu bar on the left. To contact me with comments or new commissions, please email sarah@placeworks.co.uk

Local plans for local people

More councils are announcing their intention to use local orders - is this what the government had in mind when it promoted localism?

AA Night School

Congratulation to Meneesha and Sam at the Architectural Association on the inaugural Night School last night, exploring the idea of Post Retail Town Centres. Presentations for the jury panel and audience came from 5th Studio, We Made That, David Kohn Architects and Studio Egret West.

dbrief Quarterly 16 launches - get a resident's view

When dbrief Quarterly was looking to find out more about development from a resident’s point of view the name Zoe Kennedy came up frequently – and each time in connection with a different role. You could say she is a woman with more hats than most.

Read the issue in full here

It’s not altogether inappropriate. Zoe has lived for 14 years at Styles House, Hatfields, which straddles the borough boundaries of Southwark and Lambeth. It’s an area experiencing lots of change and, like many people living around Blackfriars Road, Zoe is concerned that resident voices should be heard.

As we run through some of the issues, and successes, that come with some of her different roles there are lessons …

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When dbrief Quarterly was looking to find out more about development from a resident’s point of view the name Zoe Kennedy came up frequently – and each time in connection with a different role. You could say she is a woman with more hats than most.

Read the issue in full here

It’s not altogether inappropriate. Zoe has lived for 14 years at Styles House, Hatfields, which straddles the borough boundaries of Southwark and Lambeth. It’s an area experiencing lots of change and, like many people living around Blackfriars Road, Zoe is concerned that resident voices should be heard.

As we run through some of the issues, and successes, that come with some of her different roles there are lessons not just for developers but for everyone who has a role in designing, delivering and managing this complex and evolving neighbourhood.

First, ‘Friends of Hatfields Green’ – Zoe is chair – are celebrating good news. “This is the only park in that area and we hope it will become safer and better used after its redesign by Shape, who also landscaped St John’s Waterloo”, she explains. Investment will come from both Lambeth and Southwark and ward councillors and officers on both sides have been supportive: “the key is the two boroughs working together, which is very positive”, she notes.

However, on the wider question of open space Zoe questions the apparent difficulty some new developments have in providing the kind of space that the neighbourhood actually needs, especially in an area deficient in green space like Blackfriars and Bankside. “New urban space is often hard space, it’s always squares”, she observes, “but look how popular the small patch of grass is on Southwark Street, outside M&S. When it’s sunny people will always choose to sit on grass if they can. The sort of big piazzas we get in many new schemes seem to be always windy and flood when it rains. Sometimes there’s one tree. But that isn’t a green space, it’s a tree.”

Encouraging investment in green and open space is a key message of the emerging Bankside neighbourhood plan, and Zoe has also been a member of the neighbourhood forum since it first met in 2011. As part of the housing theme group she has been working with other forum members to try to find new ways to support a balance of housing types. Together with the council, the neighbourhood forum is trying to identify sites owned by Southwark where affordable housing could be developed in the neighbourhood.

“There is a lot of housing being built for the very rich around here”, Zoe notes, “but it’s still important that some affordable housing is developed in Bankside to try and sustain the mix and balance of housing.”

She is also a member of the more recently formed BARD – Blackfriars Action for Responsible Development. “Sometimes it feels as though we are the last to know but the first to be affected. People aren’t automatically against development (though we are concerned about the very tall buildings being proposed for the southern end of Blackfriars Road) but there does need to be proper consultation – residents should be included right at the start of discussions”, she believes.

How the end product will actually look also needs to be properly explained. Even with a scale model, which Zoe thinks many people prefer to drawings, you can’t necessarily see how the building will look from the surrounding neighbourhood. “Design is very personal of course. I quite like the building at the back of the White Hart, with the green tiles and wooden shutters. It’s a clever little building and doesn’t seem out of place in area that’s still very Victorian.”

The building she refers to, on Bear Lane, is now home to Woolfson and Tay bookshop and café – a welcome addition in an area that is still short on ‘everyday’ shops. Zoe would like to see more shops on Blackfriars Road but also wants to make sure that existing ones aren’t threatened by new development. She mentions Blackfriars Café, a local institution on Blackfriars Road overseen by Brian and Oz. Concern over the fate of the café in the light of a proposed housing development has now been resolved and the council confirms that everyone is striving to support this well-loved local business.

“We need more shops selling necessities, clothes even. Now that the china and glass shop has gone from The Cut there is nowhere to buy plates around here, the sort of small things you need every day. Retaining the post office on Southwark Bridge Road is key as it opens on Saturdays. But all we get is more coffee chains.” She wonders whether it might be possible to include a planning condition or S106 agreement in planning applications to support affordable retail, in the way that jobs and affordable housing are required – another question, perhaps, for the neighbourhood plan.

One of Zoe’s many hats – this one literally – is a cycle helmet. She recently bought a bike and has noticed that since she started cycling she does a lot more shopping locally. “With a basket on my bike I’ll now go down to the Walworth Road to shop rather than drive to the big supermarkets further away”. Encouraging walking and cycling throughout the area is a key action for the neighbourhood forum and the attractions of more local shops and services will help, including those that new developments could bring to the area.

Top of Zoe’s wish list? “It’s a long wish list, but I think a Superdrug would be useful. And some affordable housing so that the shop staff can live locally too”

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10 design principles for Blackfriars Road

Placeworks worked with a team led by Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners to help edit the proposed '10 design principles' for Blackfriars Road, London SE1. Read the full text below, and find out more about the project here

Blackfriars Road Public Realm Strategy

A number of individual sites along Blackfriars Road are under development. As part of Bankside Urban Forest, the Blackfriars Road Public Realm Study is developing a coordinated vision for the whole road. The aim is to make the most of the regeneration opportunities for the streetscape while ensuring that individual schemes are part of a holistic plan at ground floor level, bringing together character and identity, landscaping and public realm, activity, movement and the design of the …

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Placeworks worked with a team led by Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners to help edit the proposed '10 design principles' for Blackfriars Road, London SE1. Read the full text below, and find out more about the project here

Blackfriars Road Public Realm Strategy

A number of individual sites along Blackfriars Road are under development. As part of Bankside Urban Forest, the Blackfriars Road Public Realm Study is developing a coordinated vision for the whole road. The aim is to make the most of the regeneration opportunities for the streetscape while ensuring that individual schemes are part of a holistic plan at ground floor level, bringing together character and identity, landscaping and public realm, activity, movement and the design of the road and spaces around it.

We have developed ten design principles for the landscaping and public realm of Blackfriars Road. These are based on the consultation carried out in the past few months as well as our own analysis. The principles are not designed to be prescriptive and are informed by a set of assumptions regarding good design standards, which we assume will be met in any new scheme and therefore do not need to be covered by the principles. These include accessible design for all, including drop kerbs, tactile paving and halfway crossing points which can accommodate a pram or wheelchair.

Recognise and respond to the character and heritage of Blackfriars Road and its surroundings.

The development of sites on Blackfriars Road presents a

n opportunity for regeneration but could also result in a change to the local character.

A number of existing buildings and spaces along the street can anchor the character of the street and provide historic continuity – these include the Peabody Estate, the viaduct, community gardens and public space, the riverfront, and Christ Church and its yard ensuring Blackfriars Road remains distinctly ‘Southwark’. Landscaping along the street should respond to these buildings, materials and spaces and provide a suitable setting for them.

Provide a cohesive landscaping of Blackfriars Road whilst recognising the need to acknowledge its different segments/portions.?

The character of Blackfriars Road alters significantly from north to south and it is important to acknowledge these changes rather than creating a uniform boulevard environment. The northern end of the street supports ‘global’ activities’ with international offices; the central area of the street supports ‘regional’ activities with bars and cafes and the southern part of the street supports ‘local’ activities with neighbourhood shops and homes.

Enhance and extend existing greenery to provide visual and acoustic softening and prevent water run off.

This could be achieved through new street planting but also by enhancing existing spaces outside Ludgate House, at Christ Church, at Helen Gladstone House community garden and at St George’s Circus. Vertical planting and green walls could also be considered.

Ease pedestrian movement across Blackfriars Road at Southwark St/Stamford Street, Columbo Street/Burrell Street, The Cut/Union Street and St George’s Circus.

This could be achieved through removing street clutter along pedestrian routes and considering key desire lines for pedestrians, particularly at St George’s Circus, and the potential for diagonal crossing at The Cut/Union Street. It would be important for TfL to lead these considerations, as most would require modelling.

Balance the needs of private and public vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

The generous road width along Blackfriars Road means there is space for all users. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians’ needs can be satisfied without compromising each other. Priorities for this include:

Integrate Blackfriars Road more effectively with the surrounding areas.

Blackfriars Road is surrounded by areas of interest and activity that are often considered to be very different and unconnected places – the Imperial War Museum, Elephant and Castle, Borough Market and Tate Modern, amongst others. Improved signage throughout the area could help to overcome this.

Support and incentivise active frontages and ground floor uses along the street.

Particular points along the street provide a focus for activity, such as close to The Cut and at the neighbourhood centre near Webber Street. It is important to facilitate active use at these spaces by increasing useable pavement space in front of buildings, improving signage, and raising the visibility and footfall levels in the area. Lighting could be useful in supporting evening use of these pavement spaces

Celebrate temporary events and provide opportunities for temporary uses.

This area of Southwark has a strong history of temporary uses and street stalls, dating back from the frost fairs and theatres to today’s Borough Market, pop-up units on the Southbank and street vendors along the riverfront. Blackfriars Road already has much loved stalls and other temporary uses and scope exists to extend these to include events such as the Blackfriars Mile races and seasonal planting. Consideration would need to be given at an early stage to the provision of space to support a seasonal planting programme and electricity points to support stalls and events. This would help to activate the street at different times of the day.

Establish a creative lighting strategy for Blackfriars Road.

Attractive tree lighting has already been introduced to Blackfriars Road using the mature trees at the neighbourhood centre. Lighting will be very important to the future look and feel of the street and a coordinated approach will enhance the character at particular points along the street and support evening activities and events.

Develop a distinctive identity for Blackfriars Road as it becomes a destination.

Blackfriars Road is currently viewed as little more than a main road that separates Southbank and Bankside, each of which has a distinct identity of its own. However, as these design principles work together Blackfriars Road will become a new destination in its own right. By developing clear signage from these two riverfront areas and creating a consistent palette of materials, visitors – as well as local workers and residents – can be drawn south to Blackfriars Road as it develops an identity of its own.

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Introducing Placewords

Recently Placeworks has been asked to collaborate on lots of new projects where it's definitely words and not pictures that tell the story. With all these April showers it seems timely to put up a new umbrella for these projects and after a brainstorming session at Placeworks HQ we came up with the name 'Placewords' (OK so the heading to this story rather ruined the suspense there, sorry.) We didn't want to change too many letters and it was that or Placeworms - but if we ever branch into landscaping then watch this space.

The first Placewords projects will be landing soon - including more work with the Academy of Urbanism, updates on Bankside Neighbourhood Plan, an exciting project on …

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Recently Placeworks has been asked to collaborate on lots of new projects where it's definitely words and not pictures that tell the story. With all these April showers it seems timely to put up a new umbrella for these projects and after a brainstorming session at Placeworks HQ we came up with the name 'Placewords' (OK so the heading to this story rather ruined the suspense there, sorry.) We didn't want to change too many letters and it was that or Placeworms - but if we ever branch into landscaping then watch this space.

The first Placewords projects will be landing soon - including more work with the Academy of Urbanism, updates on Bankside Neighbourhood Plan, an exciting project on design principles for Blackfriars Road and more!

To commission words on your own places, please contact Sarah at sarah@placeworks.co.uk

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Shopping and Eating

For many city dwellers, Shopping and Eating are such essential activities that they deserve capital letters. I know people outside cities shop and eat too but possibly only as a necessity (I'm joking). OK, maybe not with such fervent enthusiasm and setting of great store by where, when and who else will be there.

Just like anything where there are hundreds of different but similar examples (a flock of sheep, indie folk bands, comedies on Radio 4), a city's population of restaurants can seem to move - appear, morph, disappear - like a fluid mass churning and flowing around the city's streets. I have observed this with sheep (though not in a city's streets very often) and believe …

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For many city dwellers, Shopping and Eating are such essential activities that they deserve capital letters. I know people outside cities shop and eat too but possibly only as a necessity (I'm joking). OK, maybe not with such fervent enthusiasm and setting of great store by where, when and who else will be there.

Just like anything where there are hundreds of different but similar examples (a flock of sheep, indie folk bands, comedies on Radio 4), a city's population of restaurants can seem to move - appear, morph, disappear - like a fluid mass churning and flowing around the city's streets. I have observed this with sheep (though not in a city's streets very often) and believe that the study of fluid dynamics can be a useful way of understanding many such phenomena.

The established ones (in the 'middle' of the fluid) might stay pretty much the same - for years in the case of restaurants, hours in the case of sheep - while newer, straggling or evolving restaurants/comedies/sheep around the 'edge' of the fluid will be moving much faster, either because they are getting established or failing and finding it hard to keep up.

Recently I have been involved in a project looking at the future of one of London's retail areas and as part of my own understanding of the area have been visiting some comparator places around town, and in other cities. Two weeks' ago we went to Paris and experienced the all-encompassing Shopping and Eating world of Merci (www.merci-merci.com); last weekend we compared the gritty street art and canopies of Shoreditch with the traffic and multiples of Marylebone High Street. Yes, I know there are canopies in MHS, though no street art that I noticed) and there are definitely 'chains' in Shoreditch - Aesop, MHL, ADC - but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, more soon. I'm planning to explore Shopping and Eating (or S&E) in painting today and I'd better make a start before the shops open.

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Vauxhall One RIBA design competition brief

Placeworks has also been commissioned by Vauxhall One to help write the brief for the RIBA design competition Vauxhall The Missing Link.

Art in Southwark feature - now online

Sarah was commissioned to write 'Art and Soul', a feature on the current art scene in Southwark for a national regeneration magazine and has been busy talking to innovative galleries, advocacy groups and studio providers in one of London's hottest areas for emerging art talent. You can now read the article online

Working with Vauxhall One

Placeworks was commissioned by the London Business Improvement District Vauxhall One to write the words for a new booklet "Making the Most of your Membership" . Vauxhall One ensures that local business voices will be heard as the development of Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea -- one of the most significant city centre regeneration opportunities in Europe -- gets underway.

Borough High Street

Borough High Street, the historic route that links Borough with the river, is a key place in Bankside Neighbourhood Plan. Read an earlier piece written by Sarah for Better Bankside on Borough High Street.

Quarterly 15 launches - we find out about Bankside Neighbourhood Forum

Do you live or work in Bankside? Interested in the way it’s developing? Then you too can get involved in the Bankside Neighbourhood Plan.

Did you know that Bankside is preparing a Neighbourhood Plan? Introduced by the Localism Act, this newest addition to the planning system could bring development planning much closer to home – or work – but first it has to be drafted, consulted on and examined by an inspector. If successful the plan goes to public referendum in March 2013, and could then be adopted by Southwark Council, to influence future planning applications in the Bankside area.

“Bankside was announced as a ‘frontrunner’ plan back in 2010. A group of residents, businesses and local organisations have been …

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Do you live or work in Bankside? Interested in the way it’s developing? Then you too can get involved in the Bankside Neighbourhood Plan.

Did you know that Bankside is preparing a Neighbourhood Plan? Introduced by the Localism Act, this newest addition to the planning system could bring development planning much closer to home – or work – but first it has to be drafted, consulted on and examined by an inspector. If successful the plan goes to public referendum in March 2013, and could then be adopted by Southwark Council, to influence future planning applications in the Bankside area.

“Bankside was announced as a ‘frontrunner’ plan back in 2010. A group of residents, businesses and local organisations have been working together through the Neighbourhood Forum to identify what ambitions a plan for Bankside should include, and then what policies would help achieve that”, explains Tim Wood, local architect and Chair of Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST).

Recently Tim has also taken on the role of chair of the Neighbourhood Forum.

”It’s a lot of work but worth it. Bankside is a great neighbourhood whose strength lies in the real mix of character here – different types of housing, big businesses and small, historic and contemporary buildings, all side by side. The neighbourhood plan will help Bankside keep that special Bankside ‘personality’ and help developers know what locally is considered acceptable development”.

The plan can decide where and what type of development should happen in the neighbourhood, promote more development than the Local Plan sets out and include policies, for example on design standards, which take precedence over existing policies for the neighbourhood – but they can’t conflict with strategic policies or prevent development already identified in the Local Plan.

Information about forthcoming events and activities for public consultation on the proposed plan will be announced shortly, but if you would like to find out more in the meantime, have a look at the website – www.wearebankside.com

And if you would like to get more involved in the Neighbourhood Forum, please get in touch with Tim at: banksideneighbourhoodplan@gmail.com

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Working towards a Neighbourhood Plan

Sarah has been engaged to help the Bankside Neighbourhood Forum work towards producing a Neighbourhood Plan for Bankside. To find out more, visit www.wearebankside.com.

Placeworks en vacances

Placeworks will be holiday for the first two weeks of August, visiting various ports of call around the Channel Islands, Basse-Normandie and Haute-Bretagne, weather permitting. Reports back to follow.

The Curious Mr Dickens - Wednesday 27 June 2012

As part of her work with Union Press, Sarah will lead an informal walk at 2.30pm from Flat Iron Square, SE1

When we walk down a city street what does it tell us? How curious are we about what we see, about stories caught like fragments of archaeology to be explored? And what was it like for people who walked these streets before us?

Union Street embodies both the universal process of urban change, and the specific experiences here. But the street we see today is just the present incarnation of a place that has changed over time – look at the recent redesign of Flat Iron Square.

188 years ago one person amongst the thousands who have walked …

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As part of her work with Union Press, Sarah will lead an informal walk at 2.30pm from Flat Iron Square, SE1

When we walk down a city street what does it tell us? How curious are we about what we see, about stories caught like fragments of archaeology to be explored? And what was it like for people who walked these streets before us?

Union Street embodies both the universal process of urban change, and the specific experiences here. But the street we see today is just the present incarnation of a place that has changed over time – look at the recent redesign of Flat Iron Square.

188 years ago one person amongst the thousands who have walked here did tell us what he thought. Charles Dickens lived in Southwark for only a short time at the age of 12, but the experience lived with him, and beyond him, through the pages of his books – David Copperfield, Little Dorritt, The Pickwick Papers.

Among the broad sweeps of description Dickens’s curiosity also alights on small details of the city – such as the “green shutters, lodging bills, brass door-plates, and bell handles” of Lant Street. These observations can inform our own journeys around the city. Inspired by Dickens’s curiosity I will produce a number of images, printed as postcards, that focus on elements of the streetscape – such as the buildings that Dickens would have seen, the importance of negative as well as positive space, street furniture and structures that often go unnoticed but which have a story to tell – to begin a conversation with the street and explore some of its stories.

A short informal walk in the area will explore some of these ‘postcard views’ in more detail, and we hope to learn more stories along the way from people who live and work in the area. As we go we can consider what it is that we choose to record and give significance to. We can capture places and stories onto a map, but unlike a conventional plan we might find that amongst the ‘important’ places, we choose to record things that we previously thought of as insignificant. By writing our responses onto the postcards I hope we can learn more both about this place, and about how to explore other places with a deeper curiosity.

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Union Press

Sarah is working with the art and architecture practice public works on Union Press, their forthcoming commission for Bankside Urban Forest. This will take place for 10 days from 21 June in Flat Iron Square, Union Street, SE1. Sarah will be contributing on Wednesday 27 June, exploring what Charles Dickens can teach us about being curious in the city. Do get in touch for more information.

Transports of delight - dbrief Quarterly issue 12 published

Bankside London Bridge dbrief Quarterly issue 12, written and edited by Placeworks, has been published and is now available from Better Bankside's offices, Great Guildford Street, SE1. It can also be read online at: www.betterbankside.co.uk/news/dbriefs

This issue focuses on sustainable travel in Bankside and London Bridge. Cycling and walking will be even more important as the summer approaches - read about Better Bankside's pioneering Savvy Cyclists events, find your way to the delights of Park Street with a delightful new illustrated walking map and meet Southwark Council officer Jillian Houghton, helping to bring the distinctive blue wayfinding signs of Legible London to the streets of Southwark. To find out more about the award-winning dbrief …

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Bankside London Bridge dbrief Quarterly issue 12, written and edited by Placeworks, has been published and is now available from Better Bankside's offices, Great Guildford Street, SE1. It can also be read online at: www.betterbankside.co.uk/news/dbriefs

This issue focuses on sustainable travel in Bankside and London Bridge. Cycling and walking will be even more important as the summer approaches - read about Better Bankside's pioneering Savvy Cyclists events, find your way to the delights of Park Street with a delightful new illustrated walking map and meet Southwark Council officer Jillian Houghton, helping to bring the distinctive blue wayfinding signs of Legible London to the streets of Southwark. To find out more about the award-winning dbrief communications, contact sarah@placeworks.co.uk

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Town centre consultancy work

Sarah has been commissioned to write several reports to support consultancy work in town centres, including work with potential Portas Pilots and towards a vanguard Neighbourhood Plan.

dbrief Quarterly issue 11 published

Bankside London Bridge dbrief Quarterly issue 11, written and edited by Sarah, has been published and is now available from Better Bankside's offices, Great Guildford Street, SE1. It can also be read online at: www.betterbankside.co.uk/news/dbriefs

Greening the city

Ask someone to draw a city neighbourhood and the chances are that green won’t be the first colour they reach for. Find out more about plans to bring emerald, sap green and viridian (OK maybe not viridian, certainly not straight from the tube) to Bankside and London Bridge, in the next issue of dbrief Quarterly. You can find back issues at: www.betterbankside.co.uk/news/dbriefs

Painting the city

In future I plan to bring my art and urban communication practices together more directly.

Through my work in Bankside and London Bridge I have built up some knowledge of an historic city centre quarter in transition. Communicating that change through words and photographs, online or in print, is an effective way to reach a lot of people fast. But it is often a means to an end - to convey information that can be seen and then, because it is ubiquitous, forgotten. Exploring this process through oil painting invites a more deliberative engagement with the city, inviting, I hope, deeper thought about what is happening around us and bringing a new perspective to the way our surroundings evolve as new …

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In future I plan to bring my art and urban communication practices together more directly.

Through my work in Bankside and London Bridge I have built up some knowledge of an historic city centre quarter in transition. Communicating that change through words and photographs, online or in print, is an effective way to reach a lot of people fast. But it is often a means to an end - to convey information that can be seen and then, because it is ubiquitous, forgotten. Exploring this process through oil painting invites a more deliberative engagement with the city, inviting, I hope, deeper thought about what is happening around us and bringing a new perspective to the way our surroundings evolve as new structures emerge. And like oil painting it is not just building up but also scraping back: the process of development brings the chance to explore beneath the surface, as the archaeologist's trowel digs into the hidden city to expose a rediscovered past.

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Bankside dbrief Quarterly celebrates Issue 10!

Issue 10 of dbrief Quarterly, edited by Sarah, has just been published. In this issue we make connections across Bankside and London Bridge – from the new entrance to Blackfriars station on Bankside bringing new transport connections to the area, to connections with the past via the exciting discovery of a Roman bath house at Borough High Street. The construction of the complex spire at the Shard has required some innovative physical connections – with prefabricated modules being assembled in North Yorkshire before arriving onsite at SE1, and cultural connections are progressing apace at The Tate Modern Project.

In the 'Meet the People' interview Sarah talks to Chris Watson, Project Manager at Gardiner Theobald – the man responsible for making …

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Issue 10 of dbrief Quarterly, edited by Sarah, has just been published. In this issue we make connections across Bankside and London Bridge – from the new entrance to Blackfriars station on Bankside bringing new transport connections to the area, to connections with the past via the exciting discovery of a Roman bath house at Borough High Street. The construction of the complex spire at the Shard has required some innovative physical connections – with prefabricated modules being assembled in North Yorkshire before arriving onsite at SE1, and cultural connections are progressing apace at The Tate Modern Project.

In the 'Meet the People' interview Sarah talks to Chris Watson, Project Manager at Gardiner Theobald – the man responsible for making the connections work between the various professionals working on The Tate Modern Project.

You can read the current and past issues of dbrief online at www.betterbankside.co.uk/news/dbriefs

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Bankside Logistics Group

London's Bankside and London Bridge are being transformed. The Tate Modern Project, NEO Bankside, Blackfriars Bridge, Borough Viaduct, the Shard and the rest of the London Bridge Quarter are just some of the impressive development projects underway in this historic quarter of London. To help ameliorate any negative impacts of all that work going on at once, Bankside Logistics Group has been set up to encourage partnership working between the many public, private and voluntary sectors involved in and affected by this work.

Sarah is editor of the group's dbrief publications - you can find current and back issues online at: www.betterbankside.co.uk/news/dbriefs

Manhattan (Knowledge) Transfer as the Big Apple comes to Bankside

Tower cranes are a long-familiar sight on our city skylines but are there still new lessons to be learned about the way development is coordinated? Manhattan and Bankside have been finding that communication might be the answer.

The world’s greatest cities are constantly renewing, and London and New York are no exception. But the logistics of developing tightly bounded sites in the heart of capital cities is complex.

In historic neighbourhoods like Bankside in London and Lower Manhattan in New York it’s not just the schedules and margins that are tight, so are the street patterns. And these neighbourhoods carry on functioning 24/7, regardless of the concrete mixers and muck away trucks that need to roll in and out …

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Tower cranes are a long-familiar sight on our city skylines but are there still new lessons to be learned about the way development is coordinated? Manhattan and Bankside have been finding that communication might be the answer.

The world’s greatest cities are constantly renewing, and London and New York are no exception. But the logistics of developing tightly bounded sites in the heart of capital cities is complex.

In historic neighbourhoods like Bankside in London and Lower Manhattan in New York it’s not just the schedules and margins that are tight, so are the street patterns. And these neighbourhoods carry on functioning 24/7, regardless of the concrete mixers and muck away trucks that need to roll in and out, day after day.

Taking time to learn lessons from each other, while great in theory, can be difficult to achieve in practice. But on Bankside this challenge has been embraced and in February members of the Bankside Logistics Group initiated a live transatlantic web conference with their colleagues at the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center to discuss progress and exchange advice.

The LMCCC is a public body, established in 2004 by New York Governor Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to coordinate more than $20bn of development focusing on the World Trade Center site, together with all projects worth more than $25million south of Canal Street. Its mission is to facilitate construction activities, mitigate their impacts on the community and communicate with the public about the works.

Bankside Logistics Group (BLG) is a more varied collective, set up in 2008 by Better Bankside Business Improvement District CEO Peter Williams, its Chairman Donald Hyslop of Tate Modern and Southwark Council’s development team manager Dan Taylor. Its aims, however, are somewhat similar: to mitigate the disruption from a cluster of large-scale construction sites that are on-site simultaneously in this historic part of the capital. With contractors, project managers and council officers meeting every month to discuss progress, the aim is to keep channels of communication open and potential difficulties ironed out.

Crucially, BLG members come from both the private and public sectors and include cultural institutions Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe, private sector developments at NEO Bankside, the Shard and London Bridge Quarter, and Network Rail’s projects at Blackfriars and Borough Viaduct, as well as council officers working in local job creation, permissions and environmental health. Together the projects represent £4billion in investment and will generate 4.500 construction jobs and 15,000 permanent jobs.

The BLG projects will not only add to the local street- and skyscape of the borough of Southwark but will also have a much wider impact – Tate Modern is London’s second biggest tourist attraction with about two-fifths of its annual visitors coming from overseas, while the completed Shard will be the tallest building in Europe.

As well as creating a unique forum for the private and public sector partners, BLG aims to offer clear and useful communication with the wider community. The success of this approach was acknowledged in 2010 when Better Bankside won the Mayor of London’s Best Partnership Award for its work with BLG. The judges remarked on the "excellent communications strategy ensuring stakeholders are aware of major infrastructure developments in the area”.

The group communicates through its distinctive ‘dbrief’ publications. Four times a year an illustrated newsletter reports on the upside of the developments – from new jobs for local residents and archaeological discoveries on show in the Museum of London, to investigations into sustainable construction methods and interviews with contractors, council officers and residents.

Every month an electronic bulletin is sent to over 1,500 subscribers, mostly local residents and businesses, and posted on the Better Bankside website, updating on progress and warning of activities such as temporary road closures and diversions. The group is also exploring new initiatives to help address issues such as the increased traffic, including cyclist-awareness training for HGV drivers.

Of course these impacts of development are faced in city centres across the world, but in their link up with the LMCCC, members of London’s BLG were nevertheless surprised at just how much they had in common. In a presentation on the issues faced in Manhattan, LMCCC Director Robert Harvey explained that while much of the city is built on a grid system, the original heart of Manhattan, which grew up south of the defensive wall now marked by Wall Street, is an historic city by any standards. Trucks still need to find safe and less intrusive routes in and out and digging too deep quickly unearths ancient tree trunks used to carry the early city’s utilities.

The biggest difference between the two places is the scale of resources available to coordinate the developments, and reflects the political mandate that accompanies the work of LMCCC. Yet some of the tools they use, such as communicating the scale and progress of projects in statistics, from cranes to jobs created, could easily be grafted on to the Bankside operations. Monthly look-ahead programmes and photo walls of achievements could help to increase communications on progress within the group and to local businesses and residents.

A month after the web conference BLG is reassessing the way that it works together. The achievements of the group so far are remarkable because there has been no political directive that they meet, only a shared recognition that regular communication can improve the way that development takes place, but the Manhattan experience has highlighted some other opportunities that could be realized.

The first is that other decision-makers, such as Transport for London and the utilities, be more engaged. Preventing a street being dug up twice by adjoining development schemes is one thing but at present nothing guarantees that someone else won’t dig it up the next day. Connecting new developments to utility supplies can also be time consuming and needs better coordination.

As new developments come on stream there is no regulatory requirement for them to engage with BLG, and although they would hopefully see the benefits anyway it might be beneficial for the council to require future developments to join the group as a condition of their licence for development. Smaller developers report finding it difficult to know who to contact within the council, so BLG partners are proposing a mentoring scheme between larger and smaller developers. All of this experience will be distilled into a development guide to codify the experience on Bankside and help other development areas benefit from the experience they have built up.

But the learning between Manhattan and Bankside was certainly not one-way. While the LMCCC might have a bigger budget and seem more joined up than Bankside Logistics Group, Executive Director Robert Harvey did confess that this comes at a price – meetings, meetings and yet more meetings. BLG has approached the challenges of development in a more bottom-up way, its members recognizing the need for greater coordination and communication, and designing a light-touch, collective way to achieve it.

The redevelopment of core urban neighbourhoods is certainly a complex process. In historic places like Bankside and Lower Manhattan coordinating the logistics of that development is an even greater challenge. Talking with LMCCC has helped BLG recognize the importance of what it has achieved so far – creating an effective working relationship between public and private sectors who really are learning to work together for the good of the city.

Find out more

To see examples of the dbrief Monthly bulletin and an online archive of dbrief Quarterly, please visit www.betterbankside.co.uk

For more information about LMCCC, see www.lowermanhattan.info

Sarah Jarvis is a freelance writer with a background in journalism and planning. She studied for an MPhil in town planning at the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL and worked as a project manager with consultancy URBED for several years before setting up Placeworks. Currently based in London she has also lived and worked in New York, Paris and Dublin. Sarah writes and edits the dbrief publications for BLG.

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Pop up spaces

Pop up spaces, shops and events - are they really a panacea or just a sticking plaster? Placeworks has been commissioned to research the experiences of a group of organisations that set up pop up spaces in London in 2010 to try to identify what worked well and what could be done differently in future. An article is planned for the regeneration press, details to follow.

Soho!

Many years ago, when English Heritage was still in Fortress House on Savile Row and before computers had replaced index cards, placeworks spent a happy summer with the Medieval Village Research Group helping reorganise their medieval filing system. Lodging in Kew and taking the Tube daily in to Piccadilly Circus, Sarah soon felt like a Londoner, even if she did once sit on a number 38 bus as far as Islington before she realised this wasn't the way to Victoria.

But despite her appetite for adventure, Sarah hardly ever strayed east across Regent Street to explore the slightly scary narrow streets of Soho.

20-odd years later, and Sarah walks down Savile Row again. On the site of Fortress House …

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Many years ago, when English Heritage was still in Fortress House on Savile Row and before computers had replaced index cards, placeworks spent a happy summer with the Medieval Village Research Group helping reorganise their medieval filing system. Lodging in Kew and taking the Tube daily in to Piccadilly Circus, Sarah soon felt like a Londoner, even if she did once sit on a number 38 bus as far as Islington before she realised this wasn't the way to Victoria.

But despite her appetite for adventure, Sarah hardly ever strayed east across Regent Street to explore the slightly scary narrow streets of Soho.

20-odd years later, and Sarah walks down Savile Row again. On the site of Fortress House now stands a modern office block with a gallery, Hauser & Wirth, on the ground floor. A vast white neon sculpture 'MOTHERS' whooshes round and round at (just above) head height seeming to threaten that at any moment it will fly off its central axis and decapitate a few bystanders. So quite clear what that's about, then.

This time Soho holds no fear. In the intervening years placeworks has been based in lots of different cities, including a few months near Manhattan's equally urban SoHo, named not for a 17th century hunting call (unsurprisingly) but for its location South of Houston (Street). Plus, today's Soho is as famous for its Antipodean coffee houses as it is for, well, what it was known for in the past.

There is a new landmark in Soho this month, though this one is named for its location. It's on Warwick Street, in the west of Soho, and quite a long way north of Piccadilly, so you might only eventually work out that it's called NOPI. Lunch on Wednesday was delicious if understandably drawn out as this is their opening week. Afterwards a walk up Kingly Street too our intrepid diners to the fragrance room at Liberty. The route passes forbidding looking entrances to private clubs and the loading bay at Hamleys, together with a sprinkling of more the sort of restaurants that Soho is known for now - a trendy Spanish wine bar and an oyster restaurant spreading its wings (valves?) from Borough Market. But despite this new life there's something about Kingly Street that still looks seedy. It's a narrow, dark street, one or two buildings are empty, and those clubs in the daytime really don't help. But, and forgive the urban design sensitivities, it's the paving that is the giveaway. Pretty recently done, probably, but it can't get away from the feel of a back alley.

After dark, though, and the clubs look less oppressive. The best change, though, is the inviting-looking Victorian pubs - warm and twinkly once they're lit up, and reminiscent of the best Dublin has to offer as the street comes to life with people heading out for a drink after work. It almost makes a case for placeworks to move further into town. Though for urban fox spotting it seems that Southwark's the place, if the Shard's first resident is anything to go by!

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The art of saving energy – ground breaking plans for Tate Modern

An article from the latest edition of Bankside dbrief Quarterly, written by Sarah.

The Tate Modern Project aims to deliver a new extension to Tate Modern which will be a model of environmental as well as cultural excellence. Over the last year the team has been hard at work developing an innovative and eco-friendly proposal. Now we can reveal what they found.

In issue 2 of dbrief Quarterly we saw how our Bankside projects are looking to the future. As we understand more about climate change, the development of new buildings that require high energy use can no longer be appropriate. One way being explored at Tate Modern is to heat and cool the new extension using the groundwater resource …

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An article from the latest edition of Bankside dbrief Quarterly, written by Sarah.

The Tate Modern Project aims to deliver a new extension to Tate Modern which will be a model of environmental as well as cultural excellence. Over the last year the team has been hard at work developing an innovative and eco-friendly proposal. Now we can reveal what they found.

In issue 2 of dbrief Quarterly we saw how our Bankside projects are looking to the future. As we understand more about climate change, the development of new buildings that require high energy use can no longer be appropriate. One way being explored at Tate Modern is to heat and cool the new extension using the groundwater resource of the gravels found below ground alongside the River Thames.

The exploratory excavations have taken several months. Two 30 metre-deep boreholes were dug at the west side of the site to extract the water for use in the building, and two more dug at the east side to discharge it back into the river gravels. Surveys were needed for possible archaeological remains, and once the boreholes themselves were completed Tate needed to ensure that they would produce water at the right quality and quantity which would satisfy the Environment Agency’s standards.

Extensive testing has been carried out to prove that enough water of sufficient purity and of the right temperature could be obtained from the boreholes. Part of the testing requirements included 24 hour pump testing for two weeks from the east to the west boreholes through temporary pipe work laid across the front of Tate Modern.

Following all of this work the team is pleased to be able to report that the tests were positive and an application has been made to the Environment Agency for a borehole licence, which it is hoped will be approved in February 2011. The new building will use 54% less energy and generate 44% less carbon than current building regulations demand – a real model for the future.

For more information about The Tate Modern Project see www.tate.org.uk

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In the footsteps of early Bankside at the Museum of London

An article from the Feb-April 2011 edition of Bankside dbrief Quarterly written by Sarah.

In Issue 4 of dbrief Quarterly we brought you news of the exciting archaeology being unearthed around Borough Market, as part of the construction of Network Rail’s Thameslink programme at Borough Viaduct. Now the Museum of London unveils a new display revealing more of what life was like for early Banksiders.

Many thousands of objects of all periods have been retrieved during the Thameslink excavations. A small selection of these is on show at the museum this summer in a special exhibition called Archaeology in Action. Admission is free.

Objects associated with eating and drinking are among the most numerous finds. Romans left behind amphorae, fine …

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An article from the Feb-April 2011 edition of Bankside dbrief Quarterly written by Sarah.

In Issue 4 of dbrief Quarterly we brought you news of the exciting archaeology being unearthed around Borough Market, as part of the construction of Network Rail’s Thameslink programme at Borough Viaduct. Now the Museum of London unveils a new display revealing more of what life was like for early Banksiders.

Many thousands of objects of all periods have been retrieved during the Thameslink excavations. A small selection of these is on show at the museum this summer in a special exhibition called Archaeology in Action. Admission is free.

Objects associated with eating and drinking are among the most numerous finds. Romans left behind amphorae, fine drinking cups, and a bone spoon useful for dealing with shellfish, while 17th century

Banksiders used two-pronged sweetmeat forks introduced from the continent.

Personal appearance was also important. Roman combs and bone pins are on show, alongside stone palettes for preparing cosmetics and bone toothbrushes, a rather later introduction from the 18th century.

Early Banksiders’ footprints are quite literally visible in some of the preserved clay roof tiles. It would seem that before being fired in kilns, the unfired clay tiles were left to dry in open yards. Imprints of dog paws and part of a hobnailed sandal are visible on the Roman tiles and a sheep or goat walked across the medieval tiles.

The display also includes a short film of the excavation of the Wheatsheaf site, where some of the most interesting finds were made, including the 17th century ‘delftware’ chargers that we featured in Issue 4.

For more information see museumoflondon. org.uk

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Borough High Street

When placeworks was studying planning at UCL the case study of choice for young urban designers was Borough High Street. Centrally located, with historic landmarks, distinctive street patterns and an iconic attraction in the market, it somehow wasn't working. 10 years later and Europe's tallest building is climbing above the neighbourhood, a new rail viaduct stretches over the thriving food market, and London Bridge bus and rail stations are being rebuilt. But the place is still full of optimistic architecture students trying to work out what interventions would make a difference.

Placeworks is working with Better Bankside to develop a realistic plan of action for Borough High Street. More to follow...

"Excellent communications strategy"

Better Bankside, who commissioned Sarah to write and edit their 'dbrief' communcations on behalf of the Bankside Logistics Group, has won the Mayor of London BIDs Award for Best Partnership. The award recognises Better Bankside's successful partnership with the Bankside Logistics Group and the judges remarked on the "excellent communications strategy ensuring stakeholders are aware of major infrastructure developments in the area”.

Urban Scrawl Issue 3

The third issue of URBED's occasional journal of urbanism, co-founded by placeworks, has now been published and includes Sarah's story 'Rebuilding the Market'. See: www.urbed.coop/urbanscrawl.php

Innovation and understanding in the built enviroment - working with SABE at UoW

Placeworks has been commissioned to produce a pocket guide to SABE - the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster in central London.

"The School is one of the few in the UK to bring the disciplines that inform design and development – architecture, construction, housing, planning, tourism, transport, urban design – together under one roof. We believe that working together can create opportunities for innovation and understanding across the built environment.

But this is more than good theory: at Westminster we also believe in practising what we teach."

If you would like help on a similar project, please contact me on sarah@placeworks.co.uk

Wellbeing@Work

Placeworks has recently completed a new communications project with Better Bankside, promoting a health and well-being project funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Encouraging Bankside employees of small and medium sized companies to take more care of themselves and discover new activities, Wellbeing@Work offers free sessions led by the British School of Osteopathy, London Cycling Campaign, Southwark Cathedral and the Art Academy. Let's hope lots of people take up the opportunity - I just wish Placeworks was on Bankside!

Academy of Urbanism

I have recently been invited to become an Academician. The Academy of Urbanism is a high level, cross sector group of individuals and organisations that champions - through discourse, education and awards - the cause of good quality urbanism throughout Great Britain and Ireland. For more information see the Academy's website.

Communicating a future for Bankside

Bankside is an historic district of central London, home to Shakespeare's Globe and Tate Modern, but it is also a fast-changing urban quarter where new developments are rising from the ground even at a time of global recession. Part of the growing attractiveness of Bankside both as a place to live and to work can perhaps be attributed to the driving force of Better Bankside, one of the first Business Improvement Districts set up in Britain. In February 2010 the BID renewal ballot will take place, and I have been commissioned by Better Bankside to write the Proposal document that will help businesses in making that decision. For more information contact me on sarah@placeworks.co.uk

Placeworks goes West

Placeworks has been on a works outing. For the past two weeks we have been sailing in the good ship Agatha, exploring ports and harbours between Poole and the Helford River. Watch out for new artwork and writing inspired by our travels, coming soon.

Academy of Urbanism

The Academy of Urbanism is publishing a new book to accompany its 2009 Urbanism Awards and I have been asked to write the chapter on Towns. The three shortlisted towns were Chichester, Richmond and Stirling.