Cycle to school. GATES.

UCL Public Engagement Fellowship

Place:   Somers Town, London.

Use of the building:   Research.

Author:   Izaskun Chinchilla (Senior Teaching Fellow, Senior Researcher and Public Engagement Fellow a the Bartlett School of Architecture).

Responsible of the project in Camden Council:   Ben Knowles.

Colaborators:   Sally Hart (Research Assistant), Adriana Cabello Plasencia, Alejandro Espallargas and Paula Mena and Jaime Viamonte.

The Space Syntax Laboratory:   Sophia Psarra, Fani Kostourou and Athina Lazaridou

Sociologist:   Emilio Luque.

Prototyping:   Antonio Abellán, Javier Esquiva and Soledad Rico.

Students:   Cristna Garza,  Shuo Yang

Colaboration with:   UCL Public Engagement Unit, The Barttlet School of Architecture and Camden Council.

Design period:   2014-2015


The role that children play in the urban space has been concerning the office during the last cople of years. The research aims to empower  the urban and domestic legacy of the 2000-2010 generation .

We are a team developing a combined activity as designers, researchers, space syntax team and public engagement fellows. We develop together these fields because we think that’s the best way to improve the city, create social opportunities and to increase the quality of our designs.

As part of Izaskun Chinchilla Public Engagement fellowship, in colaboration with The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL Public Engament Unit and Camden council we have been working in a project to ecourage children to go cycling to school.

Key aims of this Cycle to School Partnership are;

-To encourage children that live and study within the locale to feel safe enough to use implemented cycle routes from a young age, encouraging their cycling skills through to

adulthood, and improving health and wellbeing.

– Encouraging the community to discover their borough´s unique and often unrecognised heritage features.

– Discovering the spatial and multicultural richness of their borough.

We propose a number of routes that will feature a series of WAY-FINDING SIGNALS and GATEWAYS that will allow children to navigate the city with more independence.


The Gateways are and movable structure designed to be located at the start and end of a routes. They are designed as a bench for waiting and can be trasformed into table for childrens´ workshops. Their canopy formed of kite-surfing kites works as a shelter where the children can wait until the monitor arrives.

The Gateway will also feature maps and models that will help the parents and children to plan their trip.

What benefits the gateways create?

• They allow children to navigate the city with more independence.

• They reduce parents’ anxiety and increase children’s’ safety.

• They allow the community to discover how the city is divided into neighbourhoods and councils, and how this organisation helps to create a resilient city.

• They improve urban space by introducing a covered space to rest.

How do the gateways function? 

• Children will meet at the Gateway either on their own or with their parents. They may bring their bikes, or simply be planning to walk.

• The children wait for a monitor who will lead a cycling or walking group that the children may join.

• While they are waiting, parents can help the children plan their routes using maps and models displayed in the meeting point. The maps will also allow the community to contribute opinions and preferences about their urban space.

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