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Reflecting on LFA2023


Eliza Grosvenor is Head of Programme for the London Festival of Architecture.

And just like that, the festival has come to a close! Once again, the city was brought to life in June with a month long series of activities and activations, all centred around LFA’s mission – to open up discussions around architecture, test new ideas and uncover and promote new talent.

Throughout the month we were able to engage over 1 million people through 500+ events across 26 London boroughs, with a series of built projects, installations and wayfinding trails which tested news ideas in our public realm.

The spirit of the Festival has always been to celebrate London and the people and communities that make it, challenging what the city is and providing an open framework for people to propose and test new ideas. To do so, inevitably, the format and content of the LFA as a public-led festival must evolve each year to respond to political, social, and environmental urgencies of its time.

This year’s theme ‘In Common’ captured the public imagination, leading to some of the most though-provoking, creative and engaging events and interventions we’ve seen yet. From interventions and activations that tackle issues around access, diversity and equity in our city, to workshopping personal and shared histories to better understand an area and help preserve its culture, or talks and walks led by grassroots organisations engaging in practices around greening, permaculture and farming.

This year’s programme also helped to celebrate the everyday and the extraordinary, dissolving the idea that London’s architecture is synonymous with central London only. This means event organisers and local communities have their ideas over the future of their area seen and their voices heard, not only as part of a citywide festival, but also on a hyper-local scale.

I’m so proud to head up the programme for a festival that provides the platform for activities to take to place that are not only sensitive to people and location but can also generate ideas and test out scenarios which can be implemented in the future. Whilst the LFA’s crescendo moment is in June every year, its legacy and impact can be seen and felt far beyond this.

This year’s programme was a testament to the talent, ideas, and imagination communities across London hold, and gives me hope that we have a city full of thinkers, creators and activists ready to rethink how we design and develop our capital for existing and future generations, as well as to reimagine spaces in London as places for participation, civic activity, and shared ownership.

Looking forward, next year marks the 20th Anniversary of LFA. It will be a time to look back at the impact the Festival has had over the last two decades, as well as a moment to reset and explore how the Festival, the industry, and all Londoners can continue to shape a vision for London that is diverse, accessible and sustainable – a London by – and for – all Londoners. We hope you can join us.

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