Alternative Practice : How to participate in a sustainable city 

16th April 2024

Alternative Practice is a community of young workers and students that are interested in challenging the boundaries of traditional built environment discipline.

Following on from a successful first event, Alternative Practice returned with a workshop to explore participation in sustainable urbanism. Guided by our hosts Amy Marsden (landscape architect) and Will Chantry (Sustainability Consultant) we mapped, modelled and played whilst redefining what a ‘sustainable’ city looks, feels and behaves like. 

Each group began with an identical map of Waterloo that covered the walking routes from Waterloo Station to Build Studios. To consider the layers of knowledge required to create ‘sustainable’ urban areas, the term was broken down into environmental, social and resource considerations, with one area assigned to each group. The groups began by reflecting on their current understanding of the term and its associations and then setting a relevant aim for the area. The groups rotated through each theme, creatively responding to the aim through collage, model-making and drawing.

Thoughtful responses came from all participants. Groups working on a social response focused on the role of young people in sustainable cities, considering the challenge of integrating younger children into an area dominated by pubs on the high street and a lack of designated space for teenagers. Environmental considerations included the design of an interactive green corridor that supported education and the community. Ideas for non material considerations, such as a rewards scheme for lowering car use were also discussed, all within the important context of who pays, and who benefits.

In true Alternative Practice style we shared food, wine and a jolly good time, all whilst forging important cross-sector connections!