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LIS x Jacobs Challenge: Reinvent your high street

The London Interdisciplinary School
16 July 2020
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4 mins read

***This competition has now closed. Don’t worry – if you didn’t manage to enter this time, there will be more competitions in the future! You can join the LIS Community to stay up-to-date.***

Do you want to: access and receive mentoring from one of the world’s top engineering firms, get behind-the-scenes of London’s top strategic body, shadow the work being done on billion pound regeneration projects, and present your winning idea to senior professionals? 

This is your chance. Don’t miss out. Enter the LIS X Jacobs Challenge by 30th September to be in with a chance of winning. 

Challenge Background
All over the UK, urban centres are being revived and regenerated.

The pressure is on to build more, better, faster, and cheaper than ever before – but with evidence emerging with regards to health and wellbeing, developers are looking to demonstrate the benefits they’re giving to the community as a whole. They want to create balanced and sustainable communities that are enhanced physically, economically, and environmentally.

And now, in the light of Covid-19, this is becoming more pressing than ever. The economic, social and health impact of the coronavirus pandemic cannot be understated. Local governments all across the UK need to restore the confidence in their cities and towns, minimise the impact on the most vulnerable communities, and rebuild the economy and society.

An example of this is the London Recovery initiative led by City Hall and the Mayor’s Office. The context for London’s Recovery recognises the importance of high streets to London’s communities. High streets contribute to the social, environmental and economic value of London. There are over 600 of them in the capital and 90% of Londoners live within 10 minutes of their high street. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance and power of local high streets to serve local communities. Lockdown measures have meant more of us spending time in our local area, valuing our local spaces but also exposing problems that already existed with many high streets in London. There is now an opportunity for us to rethink the way we live and move around the city.

Any attempt to change the urban landscape is a highly complex process. And regeneration takes time. So rather than big one-off projects, developers are  looking at long-term projects which are multi-phased and multi-faceted. They have to take into consideration demographic, socio-economic, environmental, infrastructural, cultural and political factors.

For example, Enfield Council in North London is undergoing a major regeneration programme that will create around 10,000 new homes, as well as building world-class public spaces and community facilities. The Meridian Water project is a £6bn, 20-year undertaking for which Jacobs is supporting Enfield Council, providing programme and masterplan coordination, technical design and planning advisory services for the delivery of strategic infrastructure at Meridian Water.

But, what does the development of a project like this mean for the traditional high street? Can the traditional high street be reimagined through these neighbourhood regeneration initiatives, or will they be left behind?

All in all, urban regeneration is a complex, real-world problem. And this is where you come in!

How to enter the LIS x Jacobs challenge
Choose from one of the two design questions below, to enter the challenge.

Challenge A
Re-design your local neighbourhood centre (e.g. high street, town centre, city centre) for the world of 2050 using one aspect of sustainability from the list below:

– Reducing waste (e.g. landfill, food)
– Reducing energy consumption
– Improving air quality
– Encouraging active travel (e.g. walking, cycling)
– Social sustainability (e.g. improving social inequalities)

Challenge B
Consider the effects that regeneration in local neighbourhood centres might have on big iconic high streets like Oxford Street (London), the Bullring (Birmingham), and Market Street (Manchester)?

Competition Instructions
The competition is aimed at students between the ages of 16 and 20, though is open to anyone. One winner will be selected from each category, as well as runners up.

There are two parts to each submission:

– A written response of 300-500 words (non-fiction)
– A visual piece of either:

A) One side of A4: poster; infographic; illustration; map; photograph, etc.
B) A video of no more than 2 minutes

Submit your entry via this form (maximum file size for each part 500MB)

Important dates
September  30: Deadline for submissions
October  16: Winners announced
We are looking for creative, original, and insightful responses. Good luck!

The prize
The Judging Panel will select one winner from Challenge A and one winner from Challenge B, as well as runners up. Both winners will be invited to present their ideas to senior members of Jacobs and the Greater London Authority (GLA) Regeneration team.  They will be offered  remote mentoring sessions with a senior member of the Jacobs team. COVID-19 permitting, the winners will also be invited to London to shadow Jacobs, the Meridian Water project, and projects led through GLA’s London Recovery High Street Mission.

This is an incredible opportunity to gain an insight into one of the world’s top multidisciplinary engineering firms and London’s main strategic body.
Not only is this great for your CV,
but it’s genuinely fascinating.

The Judging Panel
Thomas Darcy (City Growth Director, Jacobs)
Nivedita Vijayan (Principal Urban Designer, Jacobs)
Lisa Woo (Head of Place Making, London Borough of Enfield)
Mathilde Lebreton (Senior Project Officer, Greater London Authority Regeneration Team)
Marielle van der Meer (Director of Partnerships and Networks, LIS)
Dr Ash Brockwell (Faculty, LIS)

About Jacobs
At Jacobs, we’re challenging today to reinvent tomorrow by solving the world’s most critical problems for thriving cities, resilient environments, mission-critical outcomes, operational advancement, scientific discovery and cutting-edge manufacturing. We turn abstract ideas into realities that transform the world for good. With $13 billion in revenue and a talent force of approximately 52,000, Jacobs provides a full spectrum of professional services including consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery for the government and private sector.

Jacobs leads the global professional services sector providing solutions for a more connected, sustainable world.




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