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Shape Newham

Shape Newham is a community and artist led initiative that has delivered 18 public space projects in eight town centres across Newham. It is about shaping Newham’s places, getting involved in Newham’s decision making and getting to know your Newham neighbours!

‘Newham is a great place to live and we want to make it better – people are at the heart of everything we do.’

Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Mayor of Newham


The priorities, locations, designers, and outcomes were each co-designed with local residents through 30 events, including assemblies, radio workshops, and a working group of local residents. In 2019, local communities were invited to Shape Newham Assemblies to determine the priorities and locations for projects in Beckton, East Ham, Forest Gate, Green Street, Little Ilford, Manor Park, Maryland and Plaistow. Groups of residents then formed Design Committees at the start of 2020, to work with the council, architects and local artists to develop project ideas further. The design proposals that have been developed through Shape Newham Assemblies and Design Committee were completed in 2023.

The co-design process with the working group was particularly detailed, with three revisions of each design being discussed with residents local to the proposals, and their design changes reported back on in each of the three meetings. The process was also designed to create social value and trust alongside the physical improvements. This built support for the works in a positive, transparent and empowering structure.

The Shape Newham process is designed to do 3 things:

  • To get residents talking to each other and discussing local issues, to share ideas with neighbours and celebrate local resources!

  • To get residents involved with the council’s decision making and improve transparency with the council's decisions.

  • To get residents shaping places by developing the projects with designers and making decisions about the projects.

Shape Newham has been supported by a £1.5m investment from Newham Council, and delivered by a team including AOC Architecture, Carver Haggard, Office S&M, Europa, Social Broadcasts and Local Works Studio. The project is specifically about physical ‘things’, such as murals, street furniture, pocket parks and artistic interventions to enhance local surroundings. These improvements will help create more attractive places for residents and help to support the high street, its businesses and the delivery of the Mayor’s Community Wealth Building agenda. For example, over 50% of the artists involved are local residents, and many of the projects are being made locally.

To learn more about the services we provide to obtain the best outcomes for our local authority clients, click here.


Location: Newham, London
Project: Rublic Realm
Client: London Borough of Newham
Completed: 2023


AOC Architecture
Carver Haggard
Social Broadcasts
Local Works Studio
Photographer: David Grandorge