Creating conscious cities

A festival hosted by London Met alumna Natasha Reid explored how city architecture and design can facilitate positive communities and experiences.

Date: 22 October 2020

London Met alumna Natasha Reid this week hosted the Conscious Cities London Festival which explored how cities and places can better contribute to flourishing.

The event series, which was part of the global Conscious Cities Festival 2020, brought together leading voices from the science, architecture, planning and creative communities to reimagine how urban environments can put people and planet first.

Events from the festival were broadcast from 18 cities across the world, for which recordings will be made available soon.

The festival was made up of three sessions. The first, Intersections, explored how we can bring together research in neuro, cognitive and social sciences, with everyday design practice to create more positive experiences for people.

The second, Connectedness, explored how the built environment can facilitate quality of life, community, sense of belonging and improve mental health.

The third and final session, Ecosystems, explored how we can create human-centric places that also support environmental priorities like decarbonisation, increasing biodiversity and promote circular economies.

Natasha, who graduated from the University with an Architecture BA and is a founder of the architecture practice MATTER SPACE SOUL, hosted the festival as part of her role as a fellow of the Centre for Conscious Design (CCD).

The CCD advocate for the development of ‘conscious cities', defined as environments which are both created for and responsive to their users through technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and science-informed design. They note that "a conscious environment is dynamic – it is built with the user in mind and uses research to create a space that maximises user potential as well as meets and adapts to a user’s needs over time. Design for a conscious building, city, or space revolves around user, community, and societal needs."

People dancing in a city square

Pictured: a still from a promotional video for the Conscious Cities Festival 2020