“The opportunity coming through the Covid crisis is for innovation. It is through conversations, through diversity of opinion and even creative abrasion that a new group of visionaries will emerge.”

Frazer Osment, Chair, LDA Design

At the beginning of the lockdown there was a sense we had all come off a fast-moving carousel and one day soon we would be leaping back on.

But given the unthinkable had happened, it was surely time to take to stock. Space & Time arose from that experience of jumping off, and our growing feeling that we shouldn’t just go back to things as they were.

We captured some of our thinking over six weeks in the middle of lockdown. Everyone who contributed to our first series of Space & Time had their own tale to tell about the crisis and how it was shaping them.

These conversations were an opportunity to think of “six impossible things before breakfast”. One key ‘impossibility’ centred around the audacious idea that we could re-make the British landscape. It is a rallying call offering all kinds of possibilities for design. Now is the time to be assertive and purposeful about social justice, the climate emergency and the vanishing of nature – if not, then when?

It was clear Covid-19 was compounding existing social and health inequalities. It highlighted racial injustice from which, following the tragic killing of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matters campaign could take off. And as the impacts of recession become more apparent, our debates embraced both seismic shifts and chronic conditions.

Our conversations explored the changing role of nature in our work and what we can do as designers to restore balance, and the future of our high streets which were struggling long before the pandemic.

Talk of infrastructure is dominated by connection, speed and utility, and is rarely described as it should be – the thing that supports life, makes a place and is critical to tackling chronic regional inequalities and improving life prospects. And we discussed the urgent need to plan holistically and at scale if we are going to be smart about the climate emergency and planning for growth.

It’s humbling to think that it has taken a global pandemic to give the world a new baseline and a better understanding of what we want to bring back and what needs to change.

Here are some of our early thoughts. Series 2 is already underway.

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