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Red Ken beats Dobbo - but only for RIBA's design advice


Ken Livingstone contacted the RIBA for advice on architecture policy just days before he was controversially pipped to the Labour nomination to run for London mayor by Frank Dobson.

Livingstone was one of three hopefuls for office who called the institute after this month's launch of a £100,000 RIBA campaign to put architecture at the centre of the mayor's agenda (AJ 10.2.00).

Policy advisors to Tory candidate Steven Norris and Green Party deputy mayor candidate Jenny Jones, also made contact, but Frank Dobson has yet to respond. They demanded information on sustainability, high density mixed use developments and design-led regeneration for the capital. Campaign manager, Bill Bailey and RIBA's practice department have already produced a one page summary on sustainability for the hopefuls.

The development will boost hopes among campaign leaders that architects can fill a policy void for the mayor in the run-up to, and after May's election.

'Once the mayor and assembly are in place we want to make sure that priority is given to implementing a policy on architecture. Architecture should be a vote winner for the mayor,' Bailey said.

The political interest also means that the campaign could bring extra work to London architects. Bailey said that the RIBA policy which will be handed to the mayor will include a list of specific proposals and a contact directory so the mayor can call architects directly.

Around 50 practices which attended the campaign launch meeting have submitted detailed proposals to go to the new assembly. RIBA London is now calling for more specific ideas from smaller practices.

Fundraising has also started and RIBA President, Marco Goldschmied last week wrote to London practices asking for a contribution of £53 per architect.

Bailey said that 12 practices have already pledged financial support, but he could not be more specific.

Until campaign funds are raised the RIBA central and London Region budgets will cover costs.

The campaign also aims to recruit a list of high profile activists from outside the profession. Targets include Channel Four chief executive Michael Jackson, head of the Design Council John Sorrell and Peabody Trust director of development, Dickon Robinson.

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