URBAN COMMONS // THE CITY, ETHICAL EATING & WASTE by Safia Qureshi, Maxwell Mutanda
Private ownership of public spaces has recently grown exponentially in the city of London. Developers and private owners managing these spaces seek to maximize the financial and business value of these spaces as opposed to seeking communal benefit. Britain is a country with a proud tradition of common rights, which makes London the perfect city to explore various expressions of urban design.
Our proposal for the Urban Common is primarily to create a space that promotes and expands the growing culture of ethical eating and waste recycling. In order to maximize the potential for engagement we picked a space with high foot traffic made up of Londoners who work in the area, students from the numerous campuses that surround the area and tourists.
The focus is on promoting a culture of recycling in the city, especially of electronic waste that often ends up being sorted by the urban poor in countries such as Ghana and India or by prison labourers. This waste is now widely considered as a commodity in part because the components used in electronics usually contain low percentages of precious metals as well as base metals like iron and copper that have defined market values.
In proposing this Urban Common we are suggesting that city dwellers can be afforded the opportunity to redeem the value of their waste ( in the form of batteries, obsolete mobile phones etc) by depositing them in small seal-able bags that can be mailed to established waste recyclers in the UK. By doing so we plan to give Londoners loyalty credits that they can redeem at the Urban Common for ethical food and beverage.
The Urban Common becomes a centre for education that provides further information on the state of recycling in the United Kingdom and the impact that residents and visitors are having locally and globally. The site is easily visited by university students, school children and industry professionals to foster a dialogue towards the betterment of urban life in London. The idea to is create a socially engaged project that has a simple, easily adoptable programme which can be supported by local food and beverage businesses and sponsored by local waste recycling companies as well as manufacturers of electronics.
Safia Qureshi (RIBA BScArch MArch) and Maxwell Mutanda (BScArch DipArch) are Studio [D] Tale, a designers duo based out of London, Cape Town and Harare.
The two met as students at The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL London, where they discovered a mutual interest in using innovative design to address social and environmental issues. The Studio works cross borders between Architecture, Interiors, Urban Exploration, Product Innovation, Critical Design & Communications. By experimenting with new materials and innovation the Studio brings out the best in Design and Architecture. Each design process starts with a bespoke story, which is developed using key design elements distinctly unique to each brief.