The architect and planner founded the not-for-profit social enterprise Public Practice with Finn Williams in 2017 to improve the quality and equality of the built environment by placing experts within public authorities. So far the scheme has seen 149 associations join 44 local authorities in London and south east England.
“Having co-founded Public Practice in 2017, its mission and values are close to my heart. Throughout my career I have advocated for high quality design and social equality. As an experienced public servant at both national and local level, I know that the public sector is best placed to deliver these ambitions,” says Agrawal.
Agrawal is currently the Assistant Director of Service Strategy at the public body Homes England, and formerly held the role of Programme Manager of the regeneration team at the Greater London Authority. She is also the co-host of diversity platform Sound Advice, which explores spatial inequality in architecture through music. She has been nominated as The Planner’s Woman of Influence for two years running in 2018 and 2019 for her impact in the field.
“The built environment is integral to addressing fundamental societal issues. Covid-19 has shown the disproportionate impact on ethnic communities due to life circumstances, climate change is changing our landscape, and public space continues to be unsafe for women,” she continues. “We need a public sector well equipped with multi-disciplinary and creative skills to redefine the future of work, adapt our local high streets and reach carbon-zero targets.”
Agrawa will take over the post from Williams, who leaves in June for the role of City Architect for Malmö in Sweden.
“This is an exciting new phase for Public Practice and its mission and vision for capacity building in the public sector. I was in the audience when Pooja and Finn hosted the RIBA Guerrilla Tactics conference in 2018 and spoke passionately about the enterprise,” says Tara Gbolade, an Alumni representative on the board at Public Practice. “This was the springboard for my own journey with Public Practice which has played an instrumental part in the careers of all PP Alumni, including mine.”