Architects: What can you do if your scheme ends up in the social media firing line?

The phenomena of social media-fuelled ‘people power’ together with the Localism Act is arming communities with all of the tools necessary to derail major new developments. So if your project ends up in the firing line with campaigners – what should you do?

Jonny Popper, co-founder of and partner in the London Communications Agency, who has particular expertise in development and planning led-issues in London, will explain all in a special talk for archiboo: ‘Managing the message – communication strategies in the age of social media’. His key clients include the Metropolitan Police (Property Services), Southbank Centre, the Brent Cross Cricklewood Development Partners (Hammerson and Standard Life Investments) Renewal, and the Elizabeth House redevelopment.

Jonny’s talk is timely as up and down the country communities are fighting to save much-loved buildings by gathering strong local support on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. Political and legal changes brought about in the Localism Act has also helped to shift the balance of power from developers and architects to people and communities.

As people feel more empowered to challenge development, vigorous and well-executed resistance campaigns have managed to fell high-profile schemes, including the redevelopment of London’s Smithfield market by property investor TIAA Henderson Real Estate.

The first talk in the series on social media’s impact on development was given by Loyd Grossman, and run as part of the London Festival of Architecture. In his talk, Grossman said that “people power is changing the heritage industry” because of the growing number of schemes that have been blocked by campaigners, including the Geffrye Museum and the redevelopment of London’s Southbank.