what if: projects develop ideas and strategies for more sustainable urban environments. Proposals for change are based on a detailed understanding of a place and the people that inhabit it. The engagement of stakeholders and local communities is essential to the development and delivery of all our projects.

what if: projects research, initiate, develop and deliver improvements to the communal, green and transport infrastructure of London. The scale of our projects ranges from small low-budget interventions to large strategic work. Working collaboratively with local authorities, stakeholders and diverse neighbourhoods we support the process of defining shared objectives and help bring different organisations, people and funding streams together to realise projects on the ground.

what if: projects consider Londons’ streets as vital in supporting public life and improving people’s living quality. Since 2014 the team has been working on the award winning Mini Holland project with Waltham Forest to radically improve the borough’s cycle infrastructure, footways and public realm. In 2015 what if: projects completed the new Rainham Station forecourt positioning it as a welcoming place of arrival and departure to the local marshes and the historic village.

what if: projects have set up and delivered a number of acclaimed community led projects that address the need for shared space in high density urban environments and on inner city housing estates in London. Most recently we have helped to initiate the public and privately funded Livesey Exchange on Old Kent Road, Castle Place workshops in Elephant&Castle and the award winning Charterhouse Road Club on the Samuel Lewis Trust Estate in Hackney. Since 2015 the team are working on the refurbishment of the sheltered housing scheme Hogarth Court in Whitechapel.

what if: projects are an RIBA chartered practice and are on the GLA panel for Community Engagement, Local Regeneration and Design Advise.

Ulrike Steven
Architect (AK NRW, D), FRSA
Co-founder and director of what if: projects
Since 1997 Ulrike has developed ideas into deliverable projects and designed, managed and implementated buildings, urban design and artistic interventions. Working in collaboration with stakeholders and communities she has  helped to initiate and secure funding for  capital projects in London including the Livesey Exchange , Charterhouse Road Club and Vacant Lot.
In 2014 she established the Peckham weeklies, a community interest group that engages with urban planning and produces events and magazines on the subject.
Ulrike is part of the GLA’s Special Assistant Team supporting ‘project set up’.
She studied architecture at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany (1991–95) and the University of East London (1995–97).

Gareth Morris
Architect (ARB), FRSA
Co-founder and director of what if: projects
Gareth has considerable experience in the building industry and has been actively engaged in a broad range and scale of building proposals and completed building projects. He has lead the transformation of the Rainham Station forecourt, the award winnning  mini Holland villages project series and the Castle Place workshops.
Gareth helped to set up the Lamlash Street Garden in Elephant & Castle transforming a street into a new communal space.
Gareth is a member of the Harrow Design Review Panel.
He studied architecture at Portsmouth Polytechnic (1989–91) and at the University of East London (1995-1997).

From 2005 to 2011 Gareth and Ulrike taught a degree unit at the University of East London running a programme that mirrored what if: projects preoccupation with neglected, vacant space in the city and the possibilities these areas can offer to communities. Currently what if: projects are running degree studio 8 at the CASS, London Metropolitan University.

website & graphic design: Kaisa Lassinaro