Temporary Rural Projects in the City Workshop

On Sunday 1st March 2015, 10:00-14:00, Krystallia Kamvasinou and Sarah Milne ran a half-day workshop on Temporary Rural Projects in the City  at the University of Westminster (Marylebone Campus, Central London).

The immediate objective of the workshop was to open a platform of discussion around rural aspects of temporary projects in the city. The notion of the rural and ways of reimagining rurality were debated in a two day conference that immediately preceded the workshop (http://www.westminster.ac.uk/expanded-territories/re-imagining-rurality-international-conference). Ideas of rural urbanity or urban rurality have been playing out across disciplines such as architecture, urban design, geography, community planning, rural studies and tourism for over a century but how have these ideas been tested through contemporary practices? The workshop sought to bring together representatives of community groups, charitable organisations, architects, artists, and others interested in rural practices in the city.


Cody Dock


 2013-07-05 14.45.17





Temporary rural projects in the city  refers to projects that may be, or are perceived as, transient in the context of more permanent developments in the city.

Such projects may include but are not limited to:

  • Community gardens
  • Pop-up installations
  • Sustainability initiatives
  • Food growing projects
  • Workshops and self-build projects
  • Environmental reclamation projects
  • Village-like public spaces
  • Events, markets, playgrounds…




Participants were encouraged to prepare short presentations of up to 10 minutes and/or contribute to the discussion, which revolved around the following themes:


  • Types of temporary rural projects in the city
  • Organisation, management and funding
  • Contribution to city life, alternative urbanity and community resilience
  • Relationships with more permanent organisational and physical structures (local authorities, built projects)
  • Challenges and barriers
  • The future

The workshop included a presentation of the Leverhulme project ‘Interim spaces and creative use’ and the 5 case studies (Skip Garden, Cody Dock, Caravanserai, Abbey Gardens, Cultivate London Brentford Lock) by Krystallia Kamvasinou.

A host of invited speakers contributed with case studies from London, Italy, Denmark, while all participants constructively addressed the topic and its challenges in the discussion. Here is a list of speakers and links to their presentations. We are also preparing a report to add here in due course.

Anne Margrethe Wagner  Architecture and Planning PhD fellow, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen. http://www.seeds-project.com/

Presentation link 01 03 seminar presentation AW

Beverley White Project Leader, Fluid/Soundings and co-founder of http://www.eclective.co.uk/

Presentation links Industri[us] presentation BW 280215

John Jeffers Volunteer, Canning Town Caravanserai

Presentation link Beyond the building site JJ

Josh McDonagh Ash Sakula Architects, Canning Town Caravanserai

Presentation link  Josh McDonagh – Canning Town Caravanserai

Paul Richens, Blue Dome Synergies Organic Urban Garden Designer & Trainer

Presentation link PP Adventures in Urban Horticulture 2

Lucia Caistor Head of Projects at Social Life

Presentation link LC Westminster_Uni_Temp_Rurality_020315

Sara Bissen The New School, New York, M.A. International Affairs

We are also thankful to the following participants who attended and contributed to the discussion:

Cany Ash Ash Sakula Architects, Canning Town Caravanserai

Paola Giuseppetti MA International Planning and Sustainable Development, University of Westminster

Matthew Johnson MA Urban and Regional Planning, University of Westminster

Katerina Karaga MA International Planning and Sustainable Development, University of Westminster

Duarte Santo PhD Researcher University of Westminster

Mari Siampani Head Designer at Siampani Architects, Greece

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