Air Rights

Broadcast will be live at 15:30, 2nd November 2022

To attend the broadcast and party, get your tickets here.

DEFRA’s 10-point scale for the Air Pollution Index


Introduction to Air Rights

New Architecture Writers

‘Air Rights’ was initially inspired by pirate radio, a radical part of multicultural London, used to protest, celebrate and foster community.

N.A.W. present ‘Air Rights’ – a live broadcast exploring spatial injustice and environmental racism, followed by a series of live DJ sets

Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to the health of Londoners. In response to the crisis, schools now discourage car use and air quality data is becoming a consideration in everyday life. Meanwhile, in 2020 a landmark coroner’s ruling stated that the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah was partly caused by air pollution, signalling the racialised impact of London’s toxic air.

Data confirms that people of colour, as well as those of lower socio-economic status, are disproportionately exposed to polluted air in London, while having limited access to natural spaces. In response to a sense of powerlessness over air quality, we will occupy the ether, assert our right to clean air, and explore our collective agency to make change.

On 2 November 2022, we will reclaim the airwaves with a selection of guests working across environmental justice and the arts, for a series of interviews, discussions, and experimental sounds. 

Inspired by pirate radio, a feature of multicultural London used to protest, celebrate and foster community, we will navigate issues of spatial injustice and environmental racism.  

We will be broadcasting from 3.30pm; join us in-person from 6pm for live discussions and experimental sounds and then party with us when the sun goes down.


Auditory Transgressions

Abiba Coulibaly

In ‘Auditory Transgressions’ Abiba Coulibaly explores instances of illegalised and subversive audio communication affecting the black diaspora, while considering racial capitalism’s effects on the interlinked topics of human migration and environmental exploitation.

‘Air Rights’ was initially inspired by pirate radio, a radical, underground broadcasting method that enjoyed its peak as a foundation of UK subculture in the late 90s and early 00s, and one that was targeted by law enforcement from its conception. Its pioneers have been vocal about the the whack-a-mole nature of police raids, and the violence with which their vinyls, dubplates, and DJ equipment were destroyed, simply for playing music without a licence. This criminalisation and suppression of black sound (pirate radio, is, after all directly rooted in the cultural practices of the Caribbean diaspora) long-predates pirate radio’s heyday.

This dynamic has roots much further back coinciding with, and supporting, the outset of racialised capitalism and plantation economies. These very phenomena gave birth to today’s racialised spatialisation of poor air quality, ‘Air Rights’’ nucleal concept, part of a wider pattern in which the global South and its diaspora are disproportionately affected by the ecological crisis. This emission explores instances of illegalised and subversive audio communication affecting the black diaspora, through the framework of the four elements, with three case studies taking us from the Americas, to the Mediterranean, to the Sahel.


16:05, 17:15

Rhiarna Dhaliwal in collaboration with the public

In the UK, air pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health. Between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths annually are caused by man-made air pollution with the industrial, agricultural and transport sectors contributing heavily to the damage of our air. The UK is experiencing an air pollution crisis, but how does this crisis impact the average person? And what does this look like? Rhiarna Dhaliwal of New Architecture writers interviews passers by to ask if we should care about the quality of our air and how we can begin to safeguard and clean our air spaces. 

Air-VENT is a series which sees New Architecture Writer, Rhiarna Dhaliwal take to the streets and vox pop members of the public on pressing issues related to the unequal access to public space and quality of health.

Green Space

Almost 40% of people of BAME backgrounds live in England’s most green space-deprived neighbourhoods, compared to 14% of white people The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the necessity of access to green spaces and other public areas, yet it exposed the vast existing inequalities. With the decline in neighbourhood green space provisions and increase in the privatisation of public space, Rhiarna Dhaliwal of New Architecture writers interviews the public to ask what they like about parks, why are green spaces so important to society and how would life be different without access to public green space?

Air-VENT is a series which sees New Architecture Writer, Rhiarna Dhaliwal take to the streets and vox pop members of the public on pressing issues related to the unequal access to public space and quality of health.


Into the Forest: in dialogue with Catalina Mejia Moreno

Derin Fadina with Catalina Mejia Moreno

In the face of the climate and biodiversity emergency, the global south, and in particular the indigenous communities that occupy its forests, villages and towns can offer alternative paradigms for fighting climate change. 

This segment is framed as a dialogue between New Architecture Writer Derin Fadina and Catalina Mejia Moreno, spatial practitioner and senior lecturer in Climate Studies at Central Saint Martins.

Catalina’s work is situated within spatial, racial, and environmental justice; recently she curated the Forest School initiative within the Spatial Practices department at CSM, a program which looks to the forest as a way of understanding the causes and implications of the climate and ecology emergencies. The conversation will examine the environmental conditions in their respective home nations of Nigeria and Colombia, and explore how the global south – which is prone to the most adverse effects of climate change – can become a site from which new reparative and sustainable spatial practices can emerge.


16:40, 17:50, 18:50
The News

Sharon Lam

Join up and coming news reporter Sharon Lam every hour for all the latest in aero-informative news from around the world, across headlines, business, science and culture. 


The World’s a Stage, for All

Mahika Gautam

Exploitative and extractive techniques employed in the quest for energy and efficient economies have led to the violent destruction of our planet. We often think of the climate crisis in relation to its effects on land. Yet, extrapolating this means it is also inextricably linked to a historic discrimination of bodies and the methods of handling them. For example, the way nuclear tests have been carried out on land is reflective too, of the different powers bodies have been entitled to. Whether it was France in Algeria, America in New Mexico, or Britain on Indigenous land, violent claims to power led to both the death of bodies and of lands. Centering ourselves in the search for a cleaner planet, using bodies as a starting point, is vital when understanding that the fight for social justice is the fight for climate justice.

How can we begin to do this? If we define infrastructure as the designing of movement and stillness, we can adopt a more four-dimensional understanding of space, one where you cannot be in space without also being in time. Lingering, dwelling, belonging, and being are all entangled not only in architecture but also in dance. 

In this segment, New Architecture Writer Mahika Gautam explores the relationship between dance, climate, and urbanism. Along with Dr Adesola Akinleye, author of ‘Dance, Architecture, and Engineering,’ the discussion will map the spaces where dance emerges and how our sensations to space produce place. From this, the temporality of place emerges, and the idea that improvisation in engineering is integral if we are to acknowledge that designs both possess and are possessed by people. 

In exploring the potentiality of Akinleye’s concept of ‘choreographing the city,’ we discover how we might be one step closer, literally, to achieving climate justice.


Trash Talk

Shamiso Oneka

Join Shamiso Oneka exploring the politics of trash, air pollution and collective action. Moving from monologue to audio-collage, Shamiso will explore the disproportionate impacts borne by the marginalised working classes and communities of colour, with stories from London and beyond. 

Despite the technological and cultural progress made over the last 200,000 years, what to do with waste remains a constant challenge for humanity. From noxious landfill gases to CO2 emitting  incinerators, and thousands of tonnes of space junk – the sky is not even the limit when it comes to trash.

After coal, which is being phased out, burning rubbish is the next most polluting form of energy generation in the UK (reference). In other words, our own trash, and, bigger picture – our relationship with consumption, is the next frontier between a sustainable existence on Earth, and rampant climate changing emissions. And we know that waste incinerators actually emit more CO₂ (per megawatt-hour) than coal-fired, natural-gas-fired or even oil-fired power plants. 

Once touted by the Greater London Authority, under Boris Johnson’s administration, as a green solution to climate change, London currently burns 64% of its waste, with harmful and even fatal consequences for working class communities. 

The current London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and MPs across the political spectrum, have made clear statements condemning the construction and expansion of ‘Energy from Waste’ (EFW) facilities, yet the industry and its infrastructure continues to grow with two expansion plans for existing plants and one new-build being approved by the Secretary of State in the last four years in London alone.

Community-led campaigns like Stop Edmonton Incinerator Now, a coalition of local residents, Extinction Rebellion and Labour Party members; and Choked Up, founded in August 2020 by black and brown sixth formers outraged by the racialised impacts of air pollution are speaking and acting out about toxic air. 

While the availability of air quality monitoring data is critical to evidencing what’s going on, these issues are felt first and most acutely by us on the ground. To round off this segment we will dive into a compilation of trashy tales gathered from around the world, which, through witnessing lived experience, highlight the systemic issues we have with waste management as a global community.

Highlighting the disproportionate impact borne by the poor and communities of colour, with stories from sites in London and beyond.


Lungs of Lagos

Antoinette Oni in collaboration with Derin Fadina

A field recording of Lagos, Nigeria documenting the experience of the city and the various air and noise pollutants that have  become a hallmark of Lagosian life and many other urban centres in the Global South. ‘Lungs of Lagos’ sounds the class inequality and lack of access to clean air, green space and quiet respite in the city.

Heavy traffic and mechanised air conditioning units are some of the common contributors to the everyday sounds, smells and sights in the city. With the use of prose and original sound recordings ‘Lungs of Lagos’ takes listeners on a sensory journey from the suburbs of Lagos, to the forested Lekki Conservation Zone and back. 

The sound piece features sounds of electricity generators and paraffin stoves used by the working-class to remedy the frequent power outages in Nigeria —the world’s seventh largest exporter of crude oil. Natural resource-dependence and the inevitable corruption it generates has created a city where those who can afford it can shut the windows and crank up the air conditioning; contributing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing more to the rise in scorching heat and unbreathable air. 


Right to Know: In conversation with CentricLab

Calvin Po with Araceli Camargo

In contexts where economic and institutional forces seem stacked against communities, knowledge, and access to it, remain a powerful source of agency for communities to fight back against the environmental injustices thrust upon them.

Join New Architecture Writer Calvin Po in conversation with Araceli Carmargo, neuroscientist and the director of CentricLab, to discuss how communities can bolster their collective agencies and activism with data, evidence, and knowledge, and how access to these can be open and democratised.

CentricLab is a “research lab that uses neuroscience, ecological research, social justice principles and geospatial data to understand how the places we live impact our health”. The interview will explore Carmargo’s journey from training in cognitive neuroscience to leading the Lab’s research and activism.

The conversation will also explore the Lab’s collaboration with community groups campaigning for clean air, such as their work with C.A.S.H. ( Clean Air Southall & Hayes) in London and the ‘Stop The Stink’ campaign in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. We will take a closer look at the research and dissemination methods CentricLab employs to support these campaigns against spatial injustices.

Finally, we will explore some of the open-access tools and resources created by CentricLab, such as Right to Know and the soon-to-be-released Clean Air Toolkit that are created to support emerging citizen action, with a live demo of these tools exploring the data picture behind the places where we live, compared with that of key decision-makers over our environment.


A Journey to The Island

Alistair Napier in collaboration with CARICOM

Pack your bags, we’re going on a journey to The Island.

The Island, created by CARICOM, is a world imagined beyond the confines of our intersecting crises of the cost of living, energy, and racism here in Britain. At a time where it is increasingly difficult to imagine an optimistic future, The Island allows us to immerse ourselves in and “embrace the joys of a life unfazed by the banal inevitabilities of racism, rampant consumerism, and individuality scarcity mindsets.”

For Air Rights, Alistair Napier and CARICOM have collaborated on a sonic and visual landscape responding to The Island. We are taken through The Island, its local wildlife, and how the new Islanders collectively recreate. Crucially, we learn that there is no desire to reproduce European pursuits of cartography or categorisation, but to instead live with The Island without extraction. Through exploring the radical potential of alternative world-building, we understand the shortcomings of the world we currently live in. Stress, side-hustles, and London’s air pollution are left behind in this new world.

We navigate through a postcard exchange between one of the new islanders and their cousin back home in Streatham. Between two islands, we subtly learn of the disparities in their lifestyles. Both are creatives, and both play football. However, the way in which they both engage with the planet couldn’t be more different. The impacts on their wellbeing are unexpected.

What world can we imagine for ourselves beyond the tunnel-vision of our capitalist realism?

Get comfortable, and imagine what your life on The Island would be like.