The Coronavirus pandemic is changing the way our country looks and feels. Our communities and neighbourhoods look different now, resurgent community spirit offers hope for a different way forward. Symbols of shared support for our NHS have presented in rainbows in windows, more people are accessing their local green spaces and ideas are bubbling across the country to use this crisis as an opportunity to make life better.
That’s why the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has come together with National Parks, other AONBs , the London National Park City, Culture Declares Emergency and Ordnance Survey to launch the Prize to Transform the Future.
The Prize is a bold and exciting opportunity for optimists to help visualise a hopeful and possible future for the London City Region by sharing ideas to make our lives and landscapes greener, healthier, more beautiful and wilder.
What might the London City Region look like 20 years from now? Now imagine what it could and should look like. What if it was radically greener, healthier, wilder and more beautiful? What would it look like? What would it be like?
The Prize to Transform the Future is a call to artists, architects, cartographers, imagineers, optimists, realists, landscape architects, master planners, conservationists, graphic designers, farmers, film-makers, ecologists, illustrators, geographers, students, politicians, professionals, writers, modellers, pensioners, weavers, idealists and bankers. Anyone in fact.
Dan Raven-Ellison, founder of the London National Park City, said “I hope lots of people will be inspired to rise to this challenge. This may not be a financial prize, but the potential reward is something much greater, deeper and longer lasting than that. We are currently facing a number of urgent wake up calls. Our health, our ecology and our climate are all entwined in states of emergency that threaten our lives and livelihoods. We need bold and positive visions that we can get behind to restore our futures and make life better for ourselves and future generations.”
Rob Fairbanks, the Surrey Hills Director states: “We live in one of the most beautiful and diverse regions in the world with its wonderful landscapes of farmland, woodland, common, heath and downland. We are part of this landscape and dependent on it for our food, water, clean air and well-being. In a time of so much change and anxiety, we hope The Prize can be a powerful opportunity to visualise a healthier future for ourselves in greater harmony with our natural environment.”
Judges include Surrey Hills based artists Ackroyd & Harvey with many more to be announced from across different parts of the region and with different interests.
Heather Ackroyd said “The arts have a tradition of sparking cultural change and ‘speaking differently’: disrupting the status quo and creating emergent space for new ideas to engage people at an imaginative level. Here, the vision to transform the future is all about imaginatively creating those wilder and greener spaces and putting ecology and nature right at the centre of the bigger cultural landscape.”
Discover more about the Prize to Transform the Future by visiting www.prizetotransformthefuture.org and join the conversation.