Shifting power dynamics

  • Ellie Stathaki is Architecture Editor at Wallpaper* magazine and part of this year’s LFA Curation Panel. In this piece, Ellie explores her thoughts on this year’s theme of ‘Power.’

Investigating notions of power during the 2020 London Festival of Architecture seems appropriate at this time of political uncertainty and changing European relations.


Of course this is only one of the theme’s many interpretations. The tensions between public and private, urban and rural, civic and corporate are hugely affected by the power struggles among key players – being in a position of power is a status that is hard to obtain, and even harder to maintain. Yet do some hang on to it more than others?


The implications on the urban realm are numerous. It would be interesting to investigate current situations but also dig deeper into the reasons behind ongoing battles and changes. Asking questions is always a good starting point; for example, who is the real beneficiary behind urban decisions? What has changed in the last few years? What are the new powers in force today?


At the same time, power is not just about the social sustainability the above issues may immediately imply. It can also be interpreted from an environmental perspective, through the study of energy resources, our built and natural context, and our life and wellbeing through the lens of the ecological challenges of our planet.


There’s certainly plenty to explore around this year’s theme and our call for submissions will hopefully inspire the capital’s architects – and not only – to take part in a journey through the capital’s shifting power dynamics.

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