Cass Cities Research

About Cass Cities Research: an overview

Cass Cities champion the rich array of urban research that happens here at Aldgate. Across the faculty there is a remarkable cluster of city engaged people, busy with action to reveal, advocate, promote and influence. Each of them are focused on affecting as well as understanding, being part of it, not just watching.

We are working to give more visibility to all this, as we discover ever more of it for ourselves, nurturing links as we go along.

We have realised, for example, that the work of Patrick Brill (aka Bob and Roberta Smith), making an alliance between the artworld and the public realm, engaging in public debate, sits well alongside the efforts of Mark Brearley’s small team, shouting out about London’s places and the importance of shaping them well. Superb urban projects that have emerged for decades from Florian Beigel and Philip Christou’s Architecture Research Unit, following their careful reading of places, is at one with the spirit of the East End Archive and Uncertain States. The nimble approach to adjusting cities that East keep strong through their practice and their explorations with students is a happy match with the constant flow of remarkable for-real projects by students, such as Alex Sarafian’s Wedding Arch casting in Tottenham, and the ongoing engagements with Hayes and London’s Lee Valley. The work of the Cass Cities team to expand understanding of London’s industry, to map and celebrate it and to catalogue over 2000 manufacturing businesses, marries nicely with the practical interests of our furniture designers and makers, our fine metalworkers, jewellers, our product, fashion and textile designers, and more.

The greater part of this throng of sparky research concentrates on London and its challenges, explaining how it is and how it could be, embracing the idea that the city is our library, helping deliver informed urban change, instigating discussions, events and initiatives on the ground. Keen interest is also taken in the world beyond our city’s dotted boundary on the map, with work going on about, and of relevance to, places near to us here in Europe as well as far away, for example Sao Paulo, Moscow, Seoul, Miyagi, Sierra Leone and Saemangeum Island City.

The Cass Cities team itself is led by Mark Brearley. He is a cheerleader for this whole cluster of urban investigations at The Cass. He also pushes forward research by the Cass Cities team and a group of collaborators; Making the case for a city of high streets, for a more extrovert economy, for clearer intent to guide London’s future, putting more dynamism into the reshaping of the city’s vast public outdoors.

Much of Brearley’s work continues the focus he had while leading the Design for London team (at the Greater London Authority, from 2008 - 2013). There he defined and pushed forward city-wide initiatives including the London Green Grid, the Mayor’s Great Spaces and the Outer London Fund. He has been closely involved with hundreds of live projects, helped craft the growth of over 90 London localities, worked on the formulation of policy and the creation of planning frameworks and master plans. He initiated the Mayor’s work focused on high streets, led research on their significance and steered the programmes that followed.

Mark Brearley’s Office is now located in a room at the Cass, overlooking Whitechapel High Street. There too is Lara Kinneir’s Urban Research Projects London The former has also been much involved in consideration of urban issues elsewhere in Europe, particularly Flanders and the Netherlands, and the latter has been working on research into London’s Olympic legacy area, including commissions from the London Legacy Development Corporation to consider lessons learn and propose a network of temporary uses.

We expect the research sheltered by the Cass Cities umbrella to be further revealed, and get stronger still, as the coming months pass. This will be helped by the widening of the MA by Project option, by being closely intertwined with the Cass Cities MA and with the PhD in Architecture programme, led by Peter Carl, and by collaboration with teaching groups across the faculty.

Research projects

Audit of the depth of Tottenham High Street

London Legacy Development Corporation

Action Research Project

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Audit of the depth of Tottenham High Street

London Legacy Development Corporation

Action Research Project

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Recent news from The Cass

Peter Marigold shortlisted for crafts prize

Peter Marigold, who teaches on Furniture and Product Design at The Cass, has been shortlisted for the Woman's Hour Craft Prize.

Cass Summer Shows 2017 - dates announced

Students from London Met’s Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design showcase their talent with a season of summer events.

Cass leads wave of London Met gains in Guardian University Guide

Art courses ranked second best in London again for student satisfaction, while the School of Computing and Digital Media's Maths course scores 10/10 for ‘Value Added’.

PhD Seminar with The Cass

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Reflective Scepticism - Critical Presentation of Research: PhD Seminar with The Cass, London & Hasselt University

Art and Design second in London for student satisfaction

Art and Design at The Cass jumps 24 places overall in the 2017 Complete University Guide and places fifth in London for graduate prospects.

The Encounter

Join The Cass from 19 May as we do something a little different and turn this page into a special theatre experience.

Theatre and Performance triumph with DEN

Students showcased a programme of site-specific performances and installations on the themes of secrecy and disguise at Shoreditch Town Hall.

Authors for 22nd Irish Writers in London Summer School announced

The guest authors for the 22nd Irish Writers in London Summer School have been announced, with Jess Kidd, winner of last year’s Costa Short Story Award, joining this year’s line-up.

Graffiti, memory and the city

The Cass is proud to host a panel discussion on ‘Graffiti, Memory and the City’ as part of the London Festival of Architecture.

Cass Summer Shows 2017 - dates announced

Students from London Met’s Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design showcase their talent with a season of summer events.

There will be nothing left to suck

DOW Collective, a group of emerging curators from Curating the Contemporary MA, launch their inaugural exhibition at the Cass Bank Gallery.

St James’s Palace hosts ‘inspiring’ London Met enterprise awards

Big Idea Challenge 2017 showcases London Met’s contribution to innovation and enterprise in the capital.

Upholstery: a sustainable future

Short Courses at The Cass sponsor panel discussion exploring the issues around upholstery, sustainability and throwaway culture at the Geffrye Museum.

Weird Garden

4th May 2017

A First Thursday evening of experimental sound and vison curated by Cass Fine Art student, Raisa Watkiss.

Theatre and Performance Practice creates a buzz

Theatre and Performance Practice BA students collaborate on project exploring the science and art of responsive swarming.