The RIBA Political Pairs scheme links individual architects with Members of Parliament to encourage communication between MPs and the architectural profession. Marcus Beale RIBA is paired with Stephen Hammond MP who was elected in 2005. From 1999- 2005 the pairing was with Roger Casale MP.
This has been one of the most active and productive architect/MP pairings in the country. It began with a short film made in 1998 to raise awareness of a site of wildlife importance subject of a local authority land disposal – Merton Park Station. Community video specialist Mark Krycki assisted. 20 copies of the film were produced and distributed to key stake holders: site owner, planners, leader of the council and community groups.
Wimbledon’s Urban Design Task Force was set up at about the same time to apply the Urban Renaissance agenda locally over the long term. The task force has held more than a dozen public seminars and workshops attracting up to 120 people – some based around particular major developments such as the Merton Priory site, others around specific areas and their longer term needs. A key message to participants is: local people are real experts about the area.
The underlying message – to raise aspirations for urban design. Colleagues on the UDTF include Chris Abell RIBA, Tim Day RIBA, Martin Holman, John Merivale MLI, Tony Michael RIBA RTPI, John Onken RIBA AIA, and Sir Jack Zunz, engineer.
MBA has participated in Architecture Week since its foundation, and had promoted a series of Architecture Week Exhibitions at Centre Court Shopping in Wimbledon, including work from local schools. This brings together businesses, civic forum, schools, local authority and families. The boost and encouragement given to young people exploring the built environment is an important long term element in promoting good urban design and finding tomorrow’s architects and engineers.
Regular meetings are held with the head of planning at LB Merton and the results are published as a source of information on major planning issues in the area.
This is a long term programme with gradual results. If you wish to participate in the Urban Design Task Force please contact firstname.lastname@example.org