Two weeks ago in Bromley-by-Bow, East London, SCIBE and the Architecture Foundation gathered together a motley group of people, all interested in ways to improve Bow in times of scarcity.

SCIBE – Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment – issued an open call for anyone to put forward ideas on how to improve the built environment in Bow. Faced with economic, social, and cultural scarcity, what approaches could be taken in Bow to rejuvenate and transform the local area?

From historians to urban designers, architects and engineers – each had 200 seconds on the stage to put forward their proposal. With 27 different speakers, this compressed structure kept things moving quickly, leaping from one idea to the next.

We heard from 815 Agency, keen to liven up Bow with playful interventions. Dan from the Bromley by Bow Centre suggested a mobile health-food outlet to travel round the estates, acting as a social gathering point for young people. 00:// and Alma-Nac fancied a DIY store for people to share skills, whilst local mum Bhupi Kaushal suggested improving housing to make happier homes in Bow.

Spacehive has a particular role to play in delivering a new approach to funding in times of scarcity. Crowdfunding allows people to tap a wider pool of potential funders to their projects, harnessing the concept that ‘many hands make light work’, whilst also attracting funds from businesses and corporates.

What’s more, in times of social scarcity fundraising on Spacehive can be fun and engaging, bringing together the community around a collective goal – just as we saw happen in Glyncoch.

After a nerve racking 200 seconds, the audience applauded and I could enjoy the rest of the night.

Next up – teams will be formed, and ideas will be formalised for stage 2. From the enthusiasm and creativity on Monday night, it’s certain some brilliant ideas will come of this!