Recoded City - Co-creating Urban Futures

Lead Designer: Matthew Rowett
Studio: The Design Surgery
Authors: Thomas Ermacora, Lucy Bullivant

Recoded City is a 320-page book which examines alternative urban design, planning and architecture for the bottom 90% of people on the economic scale. It focuses on the practice of participatory placemaking or as author Thomas Ermacora terms ‘recoding’. In combining bottom-up and top-down methods of regenerating neighbourhoods which are affected by declining welfare or struck by disaster, this growing movement brings greater resilience. 

Thomas Ermacora and Lucy Bullivant approached me in 2013. They needed a high volume of content transformed into a form which was not only visually accessible for those who were less familiar with placemaking, but one which would also speed up and enhance the conversation for those within the industry. Working with Carrie-Ann James and the directors at The Design Surgery, we set a style that reflects the academic nature of the book at the beginning but then becomes more dynamic and colourful as it transitions to the real life case studies.

The most significant portion of my time was focused on absorbing the content of the stories and encapsulating these as infographics, which would visually reflect the narrative and highlight the key points in the 'recoding' journey. Thomas had his own ideas for the essay infographics and we worked together to construct these. Alongside the edge of each page, we incorporated a colour-coded key which explains in what aspect the story is relevant to participatory placemaking. Recoded City is to be released in January 2016.