MetaboliCity: How can metadesign support the cultivation of place in the city?

Jones, Hannah and Wingfield, Rachel. 2010. 'MetaboliCity: How can metadesign support the cultivation of place in the city?'. In: Young Creators for Better City & Better Life. Cumulus Conference Shanghai. SODI, CAUP Tongji University, Shanghai, China 7-10 September 2010. [Conference or Workshop Item]


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Abstract or Description

The sustainability agenda has inspired a growing interest and re-valuing of localized food production in cities such as London. This paper presents the findings from a one-year (October 2008 – October 2009) participatory design research project entitled ‘MetaboliCity’ ( The project explored how designers can intervene sensitively within local urban food growing communities by providing a design thinking and crafting to help to sustain these initiatives and catalyse larger positive changes in the surrounding environment. The project was based at Central St. Martins in London, UK, facilitated by the design research group Loop.pH and funded by the Audi Design Foundation.

The aim of the project was to create, test and adapt tools and services for collaborative food growing in challenging city spaces. These included community workshops, urban grow-kits and an online collaborative network. A team of designers guided local participants through a set of envisioning, crafting, planting and documenting processes. This paper will introduce the project’s socio-ecological approach to revaluing ‘awkward spaces’ (Jones, 2007) in the city to create places that are at the heart of local communities.

Metabolicity is the first applied design research project to test and adapt collaborative tools and processes that were developed as a part of the ‘Benchmarking Synergy Levels within Metadesign’ project. This project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and based at Goldsmiths, University of London (2005-2008). Metadesign is a systemic, inter-disciplinary and emergent design process aimed at transcending existing specialist boundaries to create more joined-up solutions for the benefit of society and nature.

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Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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August 2010Completed

Event Location:

SODI, CAUP Tongji University, Shanghai, China

Date range:

7-10 September 2010

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Date Deposited:

02 Nov 2010 10:34

Last Modified:

08 Feb 2021 19:47


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