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March 29, 2021 69 min

Today's episode is a conversation with Jonny McKenna and Dhruv Sookhoo of Metropolitan Workshop, a leading practice of architects and urban designers based in London and Dublin. Jonny McKenna is Director of their Dublin office, an architect and urban designer and has played a lead role in masterplanning and residential projects since joining Metropolitan Workshop in 2006.

Dhruv Sookhoo is Head of Research and Practice Innovation at Metropolitan Workshop. He is both a chartered Architect and town planner, and a social researcher.

The focus of our conversation today is suburbia. As urbanists we can sometimes be dismissive or snobbish about the suburbs, and often they are portrayed as being unsustainable and soulless places. However, the fact is that they still remain the residential typology of choice for many people in cities. If we want to reconsider the suburbs for modern life and the era of climate change, we need to think about them quite honestly and openly.

Metropolitan Workshop have been designing suburban development and challenging the status quo for years, and they have just finished a long research project on the topic called A New Kind of Suburbia, that brings together their thinking approach with a broad range of perspectives. In this episode, Jonny and Dhruv reflect on what are some aspects of the suburbs we would want to replicate in future and what aspects need to be reconsidered. They then provide some ideas on how we could reimagine the suburbs as mixed, sustainable communities with a great quality of life, particularly in the post-covid world.

Towards the end of the podcast, they offer some advice for other practitioners who want to engage in practice-based research and how this can benefit their work.

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