Sat 15 Sep 2018, 11.30am
London Society Saturday Schools:
Claire Bennie & Lorraine Hughes - Density and Housing


GSB-01 Lecture Hall
The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design
London E1 7TB

Planning School - The London Society

Claire Bennie and Lorraine Hughes explore - How dense should we plan? What are the principles of good high density housing? Why do big developments take so long in the planning system? What makes a good masterplan?

Claire Bennie is Director of Municipal, a new consultancy which helps visionary people put thought, care, ambition and quality back into housing. Amongst other projects, Municipal is working with igloo and Nationwide Building Society to direct a new housing development in Swindon. Claire spent 11 years at London housing association Peabody, latterly as Development Director, leading an award-winning programme of 5000 new build homes. Claire pioneered smarter procurement at Peabody to achieve high quality built results as well as nurturing SMEs. Claire previously worked as an architect at Proctor and Matthews Architects on several housing schemes, including a phase of Greenwich Millennium Village. Claire is a panel member at Design South East and chairs Design Review at Brighton and Hove as well as Kingston councils. Claire is also a Mayor’s Design Advocate.

Lorraine Hughes is a Senior Director in CBRE’s Planning Team and has over 23 years’ experience as a planning consultant.  She had advised on a number of large and complex development projects navigating successful outcomes through the planning system, formulating appropriate strategies, negotiating applications and acting as an expert witness. Previous projects include a number of Crossrail’s Over Sites in central London and also Wood Wharf to the east of the Canary Wharf estate, securing permission for a high density masterplan scheme for a mixed use development of over 650,000sqm.

About London Society Saturday Schools

Cass Cities and the Architecture and Urbanism MA are delighted to partner with the London Society in bringing to you two 'Saturday Schools' on Architecture and Planning. Two series of five Saturday morning sessions in June and September, in which eminent and lively speakers cover topics relevant to the past, present and future of London at a variety of scales, from building to city.

Cass staff, students, graduates and offer holders get a discounted rate on these events, which can be booked individually or as a block. Email to get your discount code.


September 2018: Planning London

The planning system is a complex world of jargon-filled regulations, inscrutable maps and emotionally charged meetings. It is inhabited by an unseemly mixture of politicians, developers and consultants, with ordinary local people often bearing the brunt of their deals in the high streets and neighbourhood roads where we live. It is often blamed for blighting our beloved places with ugly buildings, and yet is similarly accused of holding back the development we need to meet pentup housing demand.

Planning is one of the most visible and potent outworkings of our democracy. It is the forum that safeguards by law our rights as citizens to influence the places we live and work in the city.

How then do we engage with the planning system? Why did some parts of London end up the way they did? What (or who) are the main forces at work in shaping urban form? How can we value the past while thinking about London's future? The Saturday Planning School will be a forum for discussing these issues in the midst of a rapidly changing London. As the city sees unprecedented changes in infrastructure provision, physical growth and demographic change, what does a well-functioning planning system look like?

Over five weeks, experts at the coal face of shaping London will be discussing the workings and challenges of London's planning system through the lens of scale - successively scrutinising the site, the neighbourhood, the borough and the city with an interlude on density and housing.

June 2018: The Architecture of London; a century from Empire to Brexit (ended)

The 2018 London Society Architecture School will explore the architecture of London from the halcyon years before the First World War when London was the largest city in the world, the centre of an enormous empire, through the period of long reinvention, to the present day. Changes in social aspirations have left a portfolio of buildings that mirror this 100 year period of architectural evolution. Technology, cultural and political developments have left their marks on the palimpsest of buildings that the unprecedented changing forces and opportunities that the wrench from a 'search for a new style' in architecture. How and why is architecture so changeable? What drives a design and how can cultural references be picked up, used, discarded and then picked up again? How do clients and building methods drive design? How does this ever-changing rainbow of taste evolve and leave its mark in a building?

The London Society is a forum for debate on the future of London. They arrange events and visits to a variety of places, buildings and institutions, some not generally open to the public, organise debates and lectures, including the annual Sir Banister Fletcher Lecture, addressed by distinguished speakers. The Society also sponsors the All Party Parliamentary Group on London Planning and Built Environment.

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Other events in this series