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Public Practice seeks second wave of architects to join council planners

Pp the first public practice cohort credit tim smyth
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The search has begun for a second intake of architects to be embedded in local government planning departments as part of a pioneering new scheme

Earlier this year, Public Practice, the social enterprise which is masterminding the groundbreaking placement programme, announced the first group of 17 associates, who are now working in councils around the London and the South East.

More than 200 people originally applied to the not-for-profit company, which was set up to help address a lack of public-sector planning capacity by acting as a ‘broker’ between local authorities and interested architects.

Now Public Practice says it is scaling up its activities to tackle the housing challenge and is looking for a further 20 built-environment practitioners interested in becoming associates.

The organisation said it was also inviting councils from across the capital, the South East and the East to submit expressions of interest to host placements.

The authorities pick candidates from a shortlist and then hire an associate either on a one-year fixed-term contract or on secondment from their existing employer. Associates are paid a salary of between £30,000 and £60,000. 

The associates will be tasked with a range of projects, from setting up council-led housebuilding programmes to shaping masterplans for new garden towns at a time when almost half of all councils have no in-house design capacity. 

Public Practice was founded by Pooja Agrawal and Finn Williams, and is backed by the London mayor Sadiq Khan as one of the key initiatives in his Good Growth by Design programme. It is chaired by Jules Pipe, deputy mayor of London for planning, regeneration and skills.

Pipe commented: ‘The UK is home to world-leading design and built environment talent, who have the potential to make a significant impact on the housing crisis.

‘Today we open the recruitment process for the second round of Public Practice’s year-long placements, which is a great opportunity for creative practitioners to apply their skills and tackle one of the most pressing problems facing London and the country as a whole.’

Applications are accepted from candidates with a wide range of disciplines, including planning, placemaking, surveying, development, architecture, community engagement and regeneration. The deadline for applications is midday on 26 November, while the deadline for expressions of interest from planning authorities is 29 November.

According to quarterly estimates submitted by the associates since they began their placements six months ago, the first cohort has helped ‘unlock or improve 24,845 homes; create or improve 226,690m² of public realm; accelerate the delivery of £370 million of public infrastructure; and engage 1,300 stakeholders in planning’.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • A great idea. I’ll be applying before my birthday on November 28. Hopefully age will not be an issue? I’ll take a cut in wages, as I have to start at 10:00am.

    Judging by your report yesterday on Amin Taha and Mr Klute’s disputes in Clerkenwell; Planning, filing departments, architects and local residents need help getting back to normal, if not excellent? The fossils need our help!

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