What We Do

With 24 years' experience, Open-City helps to challenge perceptions, break down barriers and inspire people to demand high-quality places for current and future generations. Our pioneering programmes and initiatives are designed to meet the needs of decision-makers, young people and the wider community, and it is the success of these that has positioned us as a progressive and influential authority amongst these groups.

Open-City has developed an approach that focuses on offering opportunities to:

- Learn by experiencing and exploring
- Build understanding and knowledge
- Express views
- Use knowledge to influence policy and practice

Our programmes are shaped by our three main target audiences:

  1. Enabling communities and professionals to engage in the built environment
    Working with local authority officers and councillors, regeneration professionals and developers, and other decision-makers to advocate for good design throughout the city. This includes policy and decision making related to art in public spaces.

    Green Sky Thinking Week
    A week long, London-wide events programme for built environment and property professionals highlighting innovative thinking and practice on how we 'design in' sustainability for London. Featuring 45+ B2B and expert-led events including informal on-site and live project talks, seminars and round table discussions.

  2. Education for young people
    Providing architectural education for students in London’s schools; involving young people in the design of spaces and places.

    Accelerate! Into University Mentoring Scheme
    Accelerate! is a brand new mentoring programme for students in years 11 and 12 at London state schools, delivered in partnership with UCL and Make Architects, to widen access to higher education architecture-related courses.

    Architecture in Schools Primary
    Architecture in Schools: Primary is a comprehensive and packed programme for primary school students in year 5 and 6 (8-11 year olds). The programme brings students into contact with key pieces of exemplary London architecture. Building explorations encourage young people to become ‘architectives’, to look for clues, learn design skills and see ways in which people use space. This direct experience leads on to creative workshops in the classroom.

    Architecture in Schools Secondary
    Architecture and the built environment is something that has an impact on all our daily lives but it is the one thing we generally don’t learn about. Open-City has been delivering architecture education programmes for over 10 years and works with 3,000 young people a year. All of our education programmes are FREE to state schools and draw on our experience as a leader in the field of architecture education.

    'My Green School' Resource
    My Green School is an initiative developed by Open-City to give children aged 7 to 11 across the UK the opportunity to learn about, and be inspired by sustainable architecture through first hand investigations of their own school building.

  3. Engagement for the public
    Enabling all Londoners to experience and learn about the capital’s most interesting and significant architecture.

    Year Round Architecture Tours
    Throughout the year Open-City programme boat, walking, photography and even cycle tours to discover the iconic and the hidden places of London. With specialist guides helping you look at the themes and issues shaping the capital today, from the design of homes, to infrastructure and urban landscapes.

    Open House London
    Open House London celebrates all that is best about the capital’s buildings, places and neighbourhoods. Every September is your unique opportunity to get out and under the skin of London’s amazing architecture, with over 700 buildings of all kinds opening their doors to everyone – all for free.

    Open House Worldwide

    Open House' is a simple but powerful concept: showcasing outstanding architecture for all to experience, completely for free. Open House initiatives invite everyone to explore and understand the value of a well-designed built environment. The concept has been established in over 20 cities around the world including London, New York, Melbourne, Rome and many more.


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The changing face of London


Read about all our pioneering programmes designed for people to learn about and advocate for the value of good design through first-hand experience


Regular polls, surveys and research into Londoners' attitudes towards design quality and built environment issues


Find out how Open-City provides independent advice and support to communities