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Thomas Dobson

MA work

The Public(s) Land Grab

‘The Public(s) Land Grab’ is an ongoing live-research project, which takes a stance against the inequalities intrinsic to our current form of urban development. Developers are becoming increasingly irresponsible as maximum financial gain dictates the decision making process. One by one our neighbourhoods are being drained of their financial potential and long-standing residents, those people that have made a place financially attractive in the first place, are decanted for a higher paying demographic.

It is time to act. Alongside Loughborough Junction Action Group (my local neighbourhood forum in South London) I have been testing residents capacity to re-appropriate development as a tool to level social inequalities rather than extenuate them. We can use it to reclaim land and resource for public benefit and we must do it before the remains of our neighbourhoods are ‘speculatively land grabbed’ by private interests.

To build public agency I have been deploying architecture as a series of tactics, which are as much spatial propositions as a redesign of the relationship between public, council, developer and city. To date four tactics can be defined:‘Localism and Resilience’, ‘Building a Civic’, ‘Land Grab’ and ‘An Architecture of Negotiation’


  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Architecture, 2015