‘Ultimately as much as I love the urban environment, it will always be the people who inspire me.’
/This week we meet Francesca Perry. Francesca is the Editor of Thinking City, a platform for the discussion of the experience of cities. She is a graduate of the UCL Urban Lab and a Londoner. She coordinates community engagement at both Guardian Cities and make:good.
Voices of the City is a weekly feature that spotlights the everyday lives of our citizens, living and working in the city. By asking the same five questions to all our interviewees, we discover not only how our experiences of the city differ, but also what we share. It is a daunting task to try and capture the diverse experiences of our city’s inhabitants, but we feel that it is a worthy, and necessary, endeavour, in order to better understand the present and future of our city.
Question: What about London inspires you the most?
Its diversity and opportunity. I have lived in London my whole life, so it has been my constant inspiration. There is such a concentration not only of accessible culture, but myriad examples of ambitious and inspiring organisations, initiatives, events and community groups. Ultimately as much as I love the urban environment, it will always be the people who inspire me.
Q: Do you have a secret space or place that you enjoy in the city?
I think I would have to choose the Barbican – it’s not so secret and its lack of integration with surrounding urban space is not a shining example of inclusive planning – but it feels like a world of its own, somewhere you can escape and which transports you into a space of calm in a surreal brutalist environment.
Q: What was the last exciting event you attended in the city?
The most recent event I attended was a debate on whether the London housing market is broken, which was an important topic to see discussed. I care a great deal about making London a more affordable, accessible and inclusive city – and current house prices and rents are making that less and less achievable.
Q: What frustrates you about the city?
Simple: the farcical cost of living and any attempt to get from A to B.
Q: You can have dinner with one person living or dead. Who is it and why?
What a difficult question! I think it would have to be President Obama – I would be fascinated to talk to him.