We are delighted to announce the first of the projects which have been awarded Design for Communities funding following a successful Crowdfunder campaign.

Gender Equity #WhyGenderEquity is a pavilion and conference organised and led by 3.09, a collective of dynamic young designers and visionary thinkers, focused on themes of social cohesion and inclusivity in the built environment and on the possibilities for social change through a shift in our thinking about design.

DSE’s Design Advisor Helen Goodwin attended the opening event held in Southwark on Saturday 15th September which was part of the London Design Festival. One roundtable debated why certain communities are under-represented in the built environment professions, namely women and BAME groups, with inspiring contributions from Elsie Owusu OBE (Elsie Owusu Architects) and Yemi Aladerun of Barbara Weiss Architects amongst others. The roundtable was brilliantly chaired by young graduate Alisha Fisher, co-founder of 3.09.

Another roundtable addressed how a well-connected and effective transport infrastructure can address/correct inequalities in policy and in city planning. Hilary Satchwell contributed to the discussion, talking about the VeloCity project, put together by an all-female team, which won the National Infrastructure Commission competition. The proposal called for new ways of expanding rural settlements to deliver growth in a sustainable way with a focus on active travel and shared community-led placemaking that supports more diverse ways of life than are generally delivered through many current growth models.

This set of powerful debates, attended by a diverse audience, suggest how interdisciplinary, collaborative practice and discussion can hold the key to future models of designing and living in a more equitable city. We will watch the next steps of 3.09 with interest!