Global Praxis is a postgraduate studio at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. The studio experiments with architecture and urban design as they intersect with critical theory and a live engagement with the processes of urban change. In 2014/2015, the studio examined future possibilities for civil society in the re/development of city centres, exploring trading spaces and practices as a key element for the transformation of the urban streetscape.
Across the UK and beyond, shifts in global socio-economic forces have been deeply changing the nature of city centres as retail places, as well as in terms of how inner urban areas are used and governed. Today, the financial crisis and public sector austerity leave both the private and public sectors in a precarious position in relation to urban redevelopment, and this opens the possibility for new future imaginations.
With these concerns in mind, the Studio examined the competing public, private and civil society interests in city centre redevelopment. In semester one the students worked closely with civic organisations to map the urban orders of city centres sites from three city centres with uncertain futures: the new Retail Quarter and Cultural Industries Quarter in Sheffield; the Euston area in London threatened by the development of the new HS2 train line; and Downtown Cairo, visited on the field trip. In Semester 2 students proposed alternative activities, spaces, and futures, particularly addressing the potential of civic economies and integrating diverse interests to make new communities and urban places.
Beatrice De Carli (2013/2014, 2014/15)
Sara Ernst (2013/14)
Teresa Hoskyns (2013/14, 2014/15)
De Carli, B. (2015) Critical learning in the studio: a pedagogical note. Urban Pamphleteer 5: Global education for urban futures. p. 46-47.