Meet the Place-Makers: Tree FM

By Claire Mead

City Co-Labs Re-Making Place Exhibition
16-22 September, New Wing, Somerset House
London Design Festival 2019

Makerversity’s Civic Hacks addresses the big social issues of our time. We create new collaborations between makers to radical solutions to social problems.

Our Re-Making Place Civic Hack explored the future city via the way we use and design its public spaces. Makers worked together on new ideas reimagining the function of urban public space. This September, 16th-22nd in G16 of New Wing at Somerset House, our exhibition part of London Design Festival presents this Civic Hack’s outcomes.

In partnership with the Northbank BID, it drew inspiration from plans to pedestrianise the Strand-Aldwych area. This was our starting point to develop new dialogue on public city spaces in London and beyond. Come discover our three final team proposals and vote for your favourite concept. The winning team will develop their idea in a 6-month Northbank BID residency at Makerversity.


Meet the Tree FM Civic Hack team!

Fang-Jui Chang is a strategic designer at Dark Matter Labs. She has worked as a design capacity in both the Taiwanese and UK’s civil services, and lectured at events in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Fang graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Service Design, with the main body of her work focused on projects in healthcare, education, community, urban regeneration, finance, and transport.

Zoe Kahane is a designer and researcher at a DAC, a social innovation design research lab based at the University of the Arts London. During her MA in industrial design at Central Saint Martins she got very interested in the place nature holds in cities and how we can change the perception that we have of it, learning to embrace it rather than controlling it, hence her interest in the civic Hack.

Mingyi Liu is a postgraduate student from Goldsmiths University of London.


How could trees take part in a public space consultation?

“Our proposal is focused on ensuring trees have a voice in decision-making processes such as public consultations. It began when viewing the stakeholders in public spaces across London and humans are almost the only ‘being’ that are considered and taken care of. So, we decided to see what the experience of neglected stakeholders would be and explored Somerset House on a very hot July day trying to identify them.”

We were interested in trees because they are taken for granted despite their well known added values to public space (cooling effect of temperature, CO2 sequestration and so on). We looked at ways of making their voices heard and turn them into active stakeholders and city space users.

We are not only interested in the way trees communicate with each other through fungi and how a network is created, but also how such a network can be visualised, interpreted and allowing other stakeholders to listen to trees during consultations.”


What was the Civic Hack experience like?

“The civic hack was a very intense two day long session where we brainstormed a lot, ventured around Somerset House, got to share our initial ideas with local residents during drop in sessions and collated some research around trees and how to turn our idea into something tangible. A six month residency at Somerset House would give us access to a network of designers, makers and thinkers and a place for us to do our research. The way we see this project developing further by working on ways to develop a whole service/interface which would be used to reconsider how we live with trees peacefully.” 


Join us 16th-22nd September at Somerset House to discover how you can become involved and collaborate to co-make the city of the future. Come give your own ideas on ways to improve London’s public city spaces and vote for your favourite Hack idea! All details here.

Join us to re-make place!

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Posted By Claire Mead