A research into sharing in the city to design new ways of living together. Creating a scenario for the future of Trafalgar square. Trafalgar Square is a square in central London, England. With its position in the heart of London, one of the most famous squares in the United Kingdom and the world. At its centre is Nelson’s Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. Statues and sculptures are on display in the square, including a fourth plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art, and it is a site of political demonstrations.

The future of leisure on Trafalgar square

What does leisure stand for in Trafalgar Square and what can you do there? Trafalgar square is creating its own context by the safe controlled environment without disruption and visual interference.

The first notions noticed in the square were dead-spaces and active spaces, traffic (passers through) and regulars, voyeurs and the establishment. From here the group decided that leisure in Trafalgar Square is watching. People watching people watching people watching… Like switching on the TV, not being engaged, just spending time. As tourists do to stop from the mad tempo of being tourists and as locals do, to blend in with the tourists, to be in this no-man place that Trafalgar Square is.  The direction of where to look is not dictated by anything, you can switch off the scene that is boring you to another one as many times as you like.

The wish was not to interfere whit this peaceful scene, but to create a notion of the feature of the ‘safe looking’ that Trafalgar square offers. Like bird watching without disturbing the habitat of the bird, being aware that you are always just as much a bird watcher as a bird.

The future of work on Trafalgar square

During the four-day workshop Londontopia Joe, Ben, Ilyanna, Ceri and Owen have done a research into what work is in relation to sharing specific for Trafalgar square trying to figure out how it should be like in the near future 2020. The aims of the Mobile Workshop Group are to become a creative thinker rather than be seen as a designer in a certain discipline. Working together with the local community to find out how these topics are in this location.

The multidisciplinary group represented communication design, interaction design, product design and architecture. The group has been pushed to establish a definition of the words work and sharing as how they manifest themselves in Trafalgar square. The relation between these words became visible in the following statements that were the starting point of the design process. “Work is the interaction of systems, the square’s functions are dictated by the external systems imposed upon it”. And, “sharing is work”. The value of this research lies in these finding that are brought to light and how the students have transformed this in to a design proposal.

In your London newspaper you might find ‘The People Watching Association’ featuring Trafalgar square. With a specimen and tips on how to watch. This might be a strange thing at first, but think about it, is it really?