Social infrastructure must be designed into new communities right from the start

Darryl Chen, partner, Hawkins Brown

In a divided world, we need architects’ innovative thinking to create places that bridge social divides, says Darryl Chen

Social infrastructure – like schools, creches, libraries, health centres, pubs, churches, parks, sports grounds and community halls – provides a vital role in holding together the social fabric of communities.

London is one of the most diverse cities on the planet and it is no accident that here we have evolved an incredibly intricate network of social infrastructure. It’s critical to how the city has been able to grow and accommodate difference.

It is intuitive that creating spaces that facilitate social interactions between different types of people can encourage social integration. But planning for better social infrastructure (including preserving and enhancing what already exists) is both simple – and notoriously complex.

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