Climate change and the built environment festival

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CABE Festival

Climate change and the built environment? Back in 2006 this wasn’t something your average Joe and Joanna public knew much about or were very interested in. We set out to change that.

We won an international design competition run by the government’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) to develop an exhibition that celebrated the work being done to transform British cities. It aimed to show what was already happening to mitigate and adapt to climate change, what the potential is – based upon best practice from around the world, and what still needed to be done. It aimed to create momentum and capacity for change.

We brought together an international team including exhibition and graphic designers Opera from the Netherlands, artist Bruce Odland from the States, cool campaigners Anti-Apathy and structures experts Atelier One. The plan was that each city would be an exhibition in itself, with exhibitions, events and exemplar projects illustrating transformations at different scales (the famous ‘Power of Ten’) from global to molecular. A team from each city would be trained in the principles of climate-conscious design. And then sent back as champions to co-ordinate activities in their city.

We costed the proposals, and formulated a fundraising strategy. We met with representatives from the host cities and government departments. And we produced a feasibility study setting out what to do and when.

The first festival took place in Birmingham in 2008.