Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

UCL/Bartlett School of Planning

July 25, 2020

Update on activity 2019-20

Most of this programme of activity, funded by an award from UCL Bartlett School of Planning, 2019-2020 academic year worth about £6.6K, is intended to give students real life experiences of the issues faced by local communities. One part is delivered through a planning course ‘Collaborative City Planning Strategies’ run by Elena Besussi with other tutors, which attracted 48 students. A Just Space nominated tutor embedded in the course focused on the ‘Future of High Streets’ from a community perspective.  

Another larger part enabled students to be mentored by Just Space and community tutors on a variety of socially useful activities. These included evaluating outputs from the draft London Plan EiP —transcribing and analysing recordings of sessions to inform further Just Space policy positions— and assisting the Grand Union Alliance, Old Oak Neighbourhood Forum, Thames Ward Community Project in Barking Riverside OA and Save Hackney Central Campaign – on various aspects of neighbourhood planning, community organising, and major site development analysis. Some local group costs such as venue hire were also eligible for reimbursement from the UCL grant. 

This programme also enables Just Space to contribute to progressing diverse activities promoting community collaborations with UCL and wider academia.

Covid-19 inevitably posed great difficulties in 2020 for activist groups across London (and the world) and for students trying to work with them, and less was achieved this year than had been planned.

A survey of the activities of Just Space up to July 2020 is to be found at

Volunteer opportunities 2019/20

October 22, 2019

As in previous years, Just Space will be working with UCL students, principally from the School of Planning, who wish to work with community and activist groups as extra-curricular activity – i.e. outside the formal scope of their taught programmes. Just Space is a network of London-wide and local activist and community groups which support each other in dealing with the planning system, housing, environment and related matters at various geographic scales.

Interested students (undergraduate, masters or doctoral) are invited to attend one of the 3 following briefing sessions to hear more about what could be on offer and to tell us about their particular interests in doing this sort of work. One daytime meeting and two early evening meetings have been scheduled to try and fit people’s academic, employment, domestic and other commitments. If you would like to join in but cannot attend at any of these times, please email Michael Edwards
Venues listed at    [ now deleted ]

In preparation, we urge you to read the 4 pages of the Protocol in which, over the years, we have tried to distill advice on how to make the most of these collaborations and avoid the pitfalls.  You might also enjoy a report we did last year on the collaborations so far.  And of course you’ll find a lot more material at

Topics and localities where opportunities exist (as at 16/11/19)

London Plan transcriptions

In the coming weeks it would be very helpful to have transcriptions of certain key sessions in the recent LondonPlan EiP – sessions of special interest to community groups. There are audio recordings of all sessions + video of a few.  Richard Lee is coordinating this activity:
Software to convert audio to rough text may help generate first draft. There are many versions, some free,

Suggest you start by reviewing relevant session on the JS web page.

Housing: targets Matter 10

Housing: affordability Matter 24

Housing: other topics Matters 11, 36 and others

Housing Density: Matter 39

Equality, Matter 2

Regeneration Matter 15 and estate renewal Matter 26

Opportunity Areas Matter 14

Green/blue infrastructure Matters 64 and 66

Bio-diversity Matter 66

Social Infrastructure (many short sessions) 51, 52, 54, 56

Heritage 45, 49

and you’ll find it helpful to have a copy of the draft London Plan, the latest version of which show alterations made before / during / since the Examination in Public: Draft New London Plan – Consolidated Suggested Changes version July 2019

Barking Riverside

Through the year we shall be working to support community development group Thames Ward Community Project which works in the biggest ‘Opportunity Area’ where a large ex-industrial space is being developed, mainly for housing, by a joint GLA/developer company Barking Riverside Ltd and with a number of long-established council housing estates and industrial zones also within the ward. We are asked to help (a) in deciphering planning etc documents in plain language (b) supporting local working groups on many topics including green and blue spaces (c) helping formulate a “charter” to which citizens, developers and public authorities would be asked to sign up, committing themselves to transparent and democratic processes. Marian Larragy will help support students working here.

Hackney Central

Local resident groups are engaging with Hackney Council about a large development proposed on the site of an existing big Tesco and its car park. So far their consideration has focused on the proposed housing (tenure and mix) but we have been asked to help generate evidence on the employment and economic impacts of this scheme and of the wider hackney Central regeneration of which this development forms part – affecting established shopping streets, enterprises in railway arches, a bus garage and other uses. Michael Edwards will support students working on this. NB don’t opt for this if you are in MSc UDCP at it may be a focus of module coursework next term.

Old Oak Park Royal

Just Space works with the Grand Union Alliance, a network of community organisations which it helped pull together to span an enormous ‘Opportunity Area’ on the junction of 3 boroughs in west London. The area is governed by a Mayor (of London) Development Corporation OPDC and is experiencing major challenges in agreeing and implementing its plans. It depends on property development profits to pay for social housing, new site infrastructure and social infrastructure and the claims of existing land owners for profit from their holdings. The largest private land owner has pulled out and proposes its own project. Students working on this project will be supported by Robin Brown.

Hayes town centre / neighbourhood planning

Also in West London (just north of Heathrow), this town/area is a relatively poor and deindustrialised part of the borough of Hillingdon, which also has a rich northern part (whose MP is Boris Johnson). Local community groups are active in seeking to influence developments proposed in the area and may undertake a Neighbourhood Plan. Students working on this project will be supported by Robin Brown


London Universities – Communities Knowledge Exchange

October 22, 2019

Following on from a session at the Tate Exchange in July 2018, Sarah Bell at the UCL Engineering Exchange successfully applied for funding of £30,000, half of which is earmarked for Just Space to convene joint meetings between community groups and University participants.  This 12 month programme of work (which started in January 2019) considers how we scale up the support on offer from Universities to community groups, and the structures and mechanisms that are needed for effective partnership working London wide.  Just Space has engaged Sona Mahtani to co-ordinate and may engage others.  A free conference will take place on 23 October: details and booking at  Document prepared for the event (36 pages, PDF download)

Reporting and supporting the London Plan EiP

January 12, 2019

The examination in public (EiP) of the draft new London Plan opens on Tuesday 15th and will sit on at least 30 days between now and May.  UCL people have played a variety of supporting roles with the dozens of community groups who have made representations about the plan and it’s a great tribute that the independent Panel of Inspectors has invited Just Space* and its member-groups to participate in the discussions on almost all of the 30 days.

UCL support is continuing with students and staff assisting some contributors and planning to report in blog format on the daily proceedings. [The EiP process is in some ways very democratic and transparent but only for those who can sit day after day in City Hall. Journalists hardly ever attend and (hitherto) there have been no broadcasts or official reporting. So this project is a major innovation.]

Thanks to support from the UCL Bartlett School of Planning, there will also be a number of briefing and de-briefing sessions hosted at UCL for community organisations, UCL students & staff and anyone else who want to follow in this way. Put these dates in your diary:  1600-1900h on Wednesdays
30 January Harrie Massey theatre, 25 Gordon St WC1H 0QB
20 February 22 Gordon Street room G12 WC1H 0QB
13 March 22 Gordon Street room G12 WC1H 0QB
10 April 22 Gordon Street room G12 WC1H 0QB
5 June after the hearings end Roberts Building opposite Waterstones, Corner of Gower St and Torrington Place,  Lecture Theatre 106. Drinks.

The Just Space web site has rich resources on the EiP including a new page combining the day-by-day programme of topics, the Panel’s questions for debate, the Just Space responses and reports on recent sessions.

The EiP itself has a main web page with links to the Plan, supporting evidence, all the consultation and subsequent responses and other documentation.

  • Just Space is a collaboration network of community organisations which came into existence a decade ago, mainly to facilitate and support public participation in the planning and policy processes of the new London Government system.

Winter 2018/9 update

November 4, 2018
Stop press 5 Nov: presentations for the Technical Seminars tomorrow and wednesday have just been released here. Here you can also watch the webcsts of the seminars on both days.
[4 Nov 2018] is a cooperation network  of community organisations in London on planning issues with which UCL have collaborated for some years. More about Just Space in earlier posts: scroll down the home page here.

This post covers 3 separate matters. Please reply to Michael Edwards if you are interested in any one or more, and do share with other people who are likely to be interested.

              1. local/neighbourhood support for community groups planning in West London

              2. support for community in poor area of Barking (East London) targeted for huge housing development (Thames Ward)

              3. briefing/reporting events on London Plan EiP starting 26 Nov and 5 December, and then more starting January.

1. local/neighbourhood support for community groups engaging with the OPDC local plan in West London or at Hayes.

This would be under the guidance of community planner Robin Brown who is a core member of Just Space. Suitable for people who want to get their teeth into local-scale planning; Let me know soon if you might be interested and I’ll link you with Robin. Ideal for a team of 2 or 3 at OPDC and perhaps a similar team at Hayes.

2. support for community in poor area of Barking (East London) targeted for huge housing development (Thames Ward)

We are asked by a community development team to provide some support to communities whose rather desolate riverside neighbourhood is going to be the site of a massive (Opportunity Area) housing scheme. If we can assemble a group of (perhaps 6) students I’d like to travel there with you and discover what they want/need —after Reading Week— and have already got 3 interested people.


3. briefing/reporting events on London Plan EiP starting 26 Nov and 5 December, and then more starting January.

As you know, we have planned to run, with Just Space, a series of briefing/de-briefing sessions about the London Plan EiP, aimed at 2 audiences

  • BSP staff & students wanting to keep abreast of events
  • Just Space activists (seasoned ones and new ones) preparing their positions and sharing experiences as the hearings unfold.

Two sessions before Christmas and then probably 5 more in 2019, to happen in the weeks when the EiP is NOT in session (it goes in cycles of 2 weeks of sessions, one without).

26 November Monday 1700h onwards Roberts Building G06 Sir Ambrose Fleming LT

1700h-1800 background briefing for beginners / people new to the process

then coffee/tea

1800h onwards topic-based presentations and discussion: Spatial Development issues including IIA and the (non-existent) spatial alternatives are suggested topics. Includes high streets, centres, Opportunity Areas etc.

5 December Wednesday 1500h onwards 25 Gordon Street room E28 Harrie Massey LT

1500-1600 background briefing for beginners / people new to the process (essentially a repeat of 26 Nov briefing – same stuff)

possibly coffee/tea

1600 – 1800 topic-based presentations and discussions, mainly housing and related topics suggested.

(The topic suggestions have been guided by matters likely to come up in the first block of EiP sessions.)

We’d be really glad of student help with these first 2 events – on the day, but also a few people to help us work out, between now and then, the scope for alliances on key issues.

Then from January onwards we need to have observers at all the EiP sessions, taking notes and helping to prepare blogs on what’s happening. This will be great and could involve a large number of students committing to report on just one day (or could be more).  Let me  know what you could do. m.edwards [at]

BSP student opportunities 2018/9

October 9, 2018

A number of second and third year undergraduates in the Bartlett School  of Planning came to a briefing on Thursday 11th October. Slide show: just space for UCL students 2018. We had valuable contributions from Adil Saif who completed UDPM this year and had done work with Just Space, and from Ilinca Diaconescu who sent a video (link within the slide show). Further such meetings will be scheduled for other student groups. Meanwhile do review these slides and get in touch if you wish.

A detailed report on the collaboration so far is at at

Activity in 2018/19

September 25, 2018

[25 September 2018] Just Space is just working out its plans for what will be a very busy winter, preparing for and then appearing in 37 of the 45 discussions scheduled in the public hearings on the new London Plan. There will be many opportunities for student participation in helping groups prepare submissions to recording (or even live-blogging) the hearings in the spring.

More news early in October.

UCL & Just Space at Tate Exchange

July 18, 2018

Thursday 19 July 2018 at Tate Modern, part of @Tate Exchange.  Just Space is organising a seminar to discuss the role of practitioners (academics, students, architects, planners, lawyers and others) in meeting the support needs of grassroots community groups and their networks at a London wide level.  Places are limited.  If you are an engaged practitioner and would like to contribute/attend, please contact the Just Space Co-ordinator. A briefing note on UCL collaborations with JustSpace is at

Teach-out 7 March

March 4, 2018

Caring for the City: how a university learns from working with urban activists

Added Monday 5th: here is a fuller programme of the week: DXgmhtBX0AAmcWl.jpg

Added Wednesday 7th: the event happened, thanks to a brilliant gathering of students, staff and community people. There is a slide show at and a report will follow. (more…)

UCL Engineering Exchange activity

February 6, 2018

Follow this link to see what the Engineering Exchange is up to with community projects