Learning from Place Walkabout Transitional to Transformative Urbanism

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Walkabout Kings X Central Saint Martins Learning from Place, Walkabout Application,

Text of Learning from Place Walkabout Transitional to Transformative Urbanism

  • 01 Meeting Point: Kings Place Foyer London, N1 9AG for 2pm

    0303 Informal close to the evening at Somers Town Tea House 8.15pm

    02 Symposium at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, Granary Building, N1C 4AA for 6pm


    SouthSouth West

    ...from transitional to transformative Urbanism

    The Academy of Urbanism in partnership with

    Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design University of the Arts London 20 June 2012

    Three walks through the heart of the Kings Cross area.

    *Time to explore*... Kings Cross - where spaces continuously and visibly change. Map it!

    *Time to experiment*...How you might get more out of your smart phone or iPad when capturing changing places.

    *Time for discourse*...inspired by the walks and presentations from Geoffrey Makstutis & Richard Hulbert

    Kings Cross: A Landscape of continuous ChangeLearning from PlaceCity X-Rays Walkabout & SymposiumChaired by John Worthington Curated by Angela Koch

    Three Walks led byJohn Worthington,AoU Marcus Wilshire,AoU Angela Koch,AoUEsther Caplin,ArtistJanet Sutherland,AoU


    Feedback from the day & 3x7minutes sessions Geoffrey Makstutis,Central Saint Martins Richard Hulbert,Code Vanillafollowed by a facilitated discussion




    Learning From Place City X-Rays Walkabout

    & Symposium

    Sponsored by: Parabola Land#TtoTurbanism

  • Summary prepared by Angela Koch, July 2012



  • Three Transect Walks and a Symposium

    Context & Aims


    Kings Cross is an area of both seismic and incremental change. Each walk will provide a unique insight into different characteristics of change.

    The aim was to look in each of the three areas for signs of:

    > The nature of transitional and transformative uses and interventions as we find them> Transitional uses and interventions that might evolve into a positive transformative force for the place

    We invited you to experiment and play with the mobile technology in our pockets and bags, ready to capture and communicate your findings to the wider group by creating 3 large maps during the course of the afternoon. We have instant cameras, printers and other tools at hand.

    PART TWOSymposium: From Transitional to Transformative Urbanism

    Urban planning and design in the 20th century was largely conceived as building afresh through comprehensive development and guided by big visions. Will the 21st century, in contracting economies, be more about the transitional or temporary urban intervention that may or may not become transformative hence identities of places will be shaped in a more incremental fashion? How would/does this impact on the way we work?

    Three Themes:>The Temporary City:Peter Bishop; Past Director of Planning and Environment, LB Camden, Mayors Design Advisory Panel, Joint author The Temporary City (Unfortunately, Peter Bishop wasnt able to join us on the night. We responded on the day by extended the time for group presentations.) >Toward Identity through Education:Geoffrey Makstutis, Director Architecture Spaces and Objects, Central Saint Martins>Mobile technology and getting to know places:Richard Hulbert, Director Code Vanilla


  • NorthSouthSouth West King's Cross Central Limited Partnership

  • TOOLS for

    >learning>making sense>synthesising

  • We gather and set the scene.

  • The story of CSM is...

    We listen and look out for clues.

  • We walk, enquire, talk and look.

  • Photo by Fabiana Panetta

    ...is a key condition for discovery & learning. The best tools support us in being curious! A truly delightful state

    of mind.

  • Hi.Whats happening here...?

  • Look! Thats interesting...

  • Photo by Angela Koch

    We admire, sniff it out and try to capture the thing.

  • We were using our phones to record sound bits ...

  • We learn through making contact ...!

  • We explain, discuss and take pen and paper ...!

  • We draw, stick on things, write down and highlight important stuff...!

  • We create simple models of our shared observations&ideas...!

  • We enquire and start synthesising...


  • North Connecting to Old Camden South Regent Quarter

    South West Kings Cross - Somers Town

    King's Cross Central Limited Partnership

  • Photo by Carlotta Fontana

    A PLACE OF INFRASTRUCTURE & MOVEMENT is reinventing itself ... again!

  • Photo by Carlotta Fontana

    The transitional state is detectible within Kings Cross Island but a good sense of the past is offered... too.

  • Photo by Angela Koch

    Photo by John Worthington

    The transitional state is detectible within Kings Cross island but a good sense of the past and future isput on stage... too.

  • Photo by Fabiana Panetta

    A new breed of people is colonising Kings Cross Island and they change the vibe...

  • Photo by Stephen Gallaghar

    The Transformation of Kings Cross is in enjoyable and noisy ... too.

  • Photo by Carlotta Fontana

    The Kings Cross OF Kings Cross is enjoyable and has a sound ...

  • Photo by Fabiana Panetta

    Right next to this...

  • King's Cross Central Limited Partnership

    A working construction site (traffic, smells, noise, people making things...)

  • Mads C. Forchhammer (o)

    Places used by more than 100 million people annually... are right next to...


    o by





  • ... barren tunnels and linear spaces underneath.


    o by





  • Photo by Stephen Gallaghar

    ... more barren tunnels and linear spaces along.

  • Photo by Angela Koch

    ... more barren tunnels and linear spaces above.

  • ... and a network of beautiful but empty historic spaces.


    o by





  • Photo by Angela Koch

    Semi-private seating. Used and unused.

  • Low density social housing with lots of under-used space around it near to...

    Photo by Fabiana Panetta

  • high rise and often high price homes with all the mod cons...

    Photo by Fabiana Panetta

  • There is more to come in terms of large scale physically transformative interventions...

  • The numerous Kings Cross hubs form a busy, relatively self-sufficient island contrasted by calmer smaller neighbourhoods (not just physically). Large infrastructures are a bit like vessels with vibrant internal streets/spaces linked to a limited number of very busychannels to the surroundings. The very international sits next to the local neighbourhood culture/economy; with some saying individuals are isolated. Governance: A few large/corporate entities surrounded by small local networked organisations. Transformative forces are at work on numerous spatial and time scales, spheres and directions.

    The possibilities to invite people into the wider area are enormous. Pace of movement an issue? Is that direction of transformation desirable? And if so by whom? More staying, stationary, productive/generative aspect of urban life is emerging from within Kings X area. Created by new institutions and people around Central Saint Martins and the flow of people invited to stay a little longer ... The most transient aspect and possibly strongest transformative force - besides all the physical transformation that is taking place - are the millions of people moving through and about Kings X.

    My NOTES from the DAY ...



  • Many of the places at Kings Cross are controlled environments (indoor&outdoor) with a highly curated programme of activities/invitations/commercial offerings. To what end are these programmes curated? Who is the curator? Does that matter at all? Are these the characteristic conditions for a type of a not yet fully fledged transformative Urbanism wherelarge infrastructure operator/investor meets very run-down area and smaller local grown urban culture around it? If so, what are the benefits and challenges in the short term? In the long term? Is a multi-party created transformation of place a more resilient one or possibly not? Is the model of such aCurated Urbanism a path to good Urbanism?

    Some how there are far more questions than answers after this day out in the field ... hence, we thought ...

    Reflecting on the day ...

  • An App could be useful...If people want to keep the conversation going beyond the day

    out in the field, record observations, reflect and share, and/or open up the conversation to a wider audience...

    Photo by Fabiana Panetta

  • XPIN APPLICATION (beta) for our walkabout and beyond....

  • I added some of the conversation points by putting a pin down, some with pictures ...

  • Zoom in and find a conversation you like to review and possibly add to ...

  • XPIN APP: Upload any sort of plan, record and share insights, start a conversation, upload pictures, sounds, videos by placing a pin

    for the things that stand out, invite your team and see the conversation carry on.

  • Please get in touch w