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Cultures, Communities and Design

Urban Catalysts
N. Cridge
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Over the last couple of pandemic years the way we inhabit our cities has changed. Outdoor space has become a valuable commodity, our city centres have emptied out and need to be reclaimed as truly collective spaces. This paper aims to reimagine urban furniture through an analysis of a series of examples of re-invention the familiar and sometimes obsolete street furniture to forge new urban togetherness. Generic and familiar urban elements such as phone boxes, lights, planters, benches, public toilets, bins, and others will be scrutinized and examined. Streetlights and direction signs will need to be reconsidered, with even transport elements such as traffic lights and pedestrian crossings will be seen as an opportunity to re-think and improve our urban environment. The underlying goal is to speculate on the ways that urban centers can reconnect with the country and sense of openness; to connect them to different locations, and bring a stronger sense of community and nature into our global capital cities.


Nerma Cridge (FHEA, PhD, FRSA) is a London based academic, author and practitioner, with over twenty years of experience in academia and practice. Nerma received her PhD at the AA (under the supervision of Dr.Marina Lathouri and Mark Cousins) in 2012 and based on her thesis on the Soviet avant-garde published her first monograph – Drawing the Unbuildable in 2015. She currently teaches at the Architectural Association in the History and Theory Studies and the Design Research Laboratory, at Greenwich and Regent’s Universities, and directs small art and design practice – Drawing Agency. Recent publications include “Printing the Familiar” in Re:Print (2018), edited by Véronique Chance and Duncan Ganley, “Restless: Drawn by Zaha Hadid” in The Routledge Companion to Women in Architecture (2021) edited by Anna Sokolina; and forthcoming “Extreme Interiority” in Remote Practices: Architecture in Proximity (2022) edited by Matthew Mindrup and Lilian Chee. In 2019 she published Sarajevska Abeceda and Azbuka -combining Sarajevo buildings and letters of Bosnian Alphabet and started a tree planting programme, planting thirty trees across the city. At present, she is working on her second monograph The Politics of Abstraction on the monuments and secrets from former Yugoslavia, due to be published in 2022. Nerma is the co-organiser of the AA symposium on the Extreme Environments in February 2022 and a member of the scientific board for Architecture and Spaces of Art: Yugoslav Cultural Space and Perspectives to be held in Belgrade in May 22.