On the 26th March our Spring lecture series continues with a talk from Hester Buck. Having trained as an architect, Hester Buck joined the critical design practice public works, which occupies the terrain between architecture, art, performance and activism. Public works develops briefs through long term relationships with communities, self-generating funding based on these briefs, as a form of situated practice. She uses events as a design tool to create urban change, questioning current perceptions of space and helping to imagine alternative realities. These temporary events are designed to permanently change the way these spaces are seen and used. Through her projects she is interested in how planting can be used as a tool to start conversations, build networks of care within the local community, and provide the opportunity to make physical changes to our public realm. Protecting and claiming land for public use is an important form of design in light of the growing privatision of public space.

Her research focuses on the celebration of green spaces within post-war social housing estates, as a form of urban common ground, through the planting of community orchards. By promoting the resident led care which can be found within community gardens across London and supporting the formation of new gardens, the project looks to protect these spaces from development by promoting an alternative narrative. The research has developed through a project that was started in 2017, to start a community orchard within Randwell West, a social housing estate in East London. The lessons learnt from the residents on the estate, through the act of planting the orchard, have informed Growing Common Land, five manifesto points which describe the value of these spaces as common ground through an archive of evidence from gardens across London, which is currently on display at the Design Museum.

An autumn harvest creates a collective generosity that is at odds with the exploitation of land value. Ideals of commonality and equality, dismissed as utopian thinking, can be seen in Autumn’s glut of apples given away for free …

For more details see events page.