‘Keep it authentic’; ‘Stop the exclusion of local businesses’’ ‘We don’t need another Carnaby Street’. Scrawled on a chalkboard standing in Soho’s Berwick Street, these are just a few of the responses gathered by two architecture students who have been asking locals what they want for the future of this historic market.

Since mid-November, Sophie Ramsbotham and Alex Furunes, both AA students (Inter 1) have been running a regular stall on the market, collecting drawings and comments from local traders and passers-by on the chalkboard and through video interviews (see Time Out blog http://now-here-this.timeout.com). The project, called Positive Dialogues, comes as plans are underway to revitalise the formerly busy street, which has seen a drop in trade over the past year.

Ramsbotham and Furunes hope their own consultation will give a voice to locals’ concerns. “We are worried that yet another generic approach to design, which doesn’t reflect the diversity of Berwick Street, might be seen as the answer, ‘ says Ramsbotham. How can we capture the energy that exist in Soho and put it into the redevelopment of the street?’ 

The Positive Dialogues stall is on Berwick Street, on Tuesdays midday to 17:00.

See www.positivedialogues.com

See Time Out 19–25 January for full report.

Date Submitted: 23/1/2012

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