221A is pleased to host Geraldine Dening at Urgent Imagination: Part II, a two-day conference developed by Western Front that will take place on October 2 and 3, 2015. The event proposes alternatives to Vancouver’s current mode of developer-driven architecture and urban planning. Dening is a London-based architect, a senior lecturer at De Montfort University, and a founding member of Architects for Social Housing (ASH); a collective of urban designers, academics, engineers, artists, and activists who are responding to London’s present housing crisis. As part of its mandate to find sustainable alternatives to the planned demolition of Greater London’s social housing, ASH works with and offers support to the residents of the region’s estimated 3500 housing estates, who face eviction and displacement in the wake of up-market regeneration schemes.
Dening’s projects with ASH present a singularly forceful example of how architectural practice can correspond with activist work. Their designs are not conceived top-down as benevolent solutions to housing needs, but instead emerge from an initial commitment to building networks of community-organized campaigns against developer-led and capital-driven urban reshaping. In this year alone, ASH submitted refurbishment design proposals for the Cressingham, Knight’s Walk, Cotton Gardens, and Central Hill estates–each produced from workshops held in collaboration with estate tenants. In June 2015, Dening and ASH coordinated Open Garden Estates, a London-wide public education event involving community tours and teach-ins, aimed to dispel harmful representations of housing estates and their residents.
221A’s Director Brian McBay, will also be speaking about Canada’s Multiculturalism Act and its implications for planning and Curator Jesse McKee with Western Front’s Executive Director Caitlin Jones, have compiled a keynote video screening; continuing 221A’s core mandate of investigating the ways that design and its processes shape the world around us. Urgent Imagination: Part II is free to attend and open to all.