Founded in 2016 as a not-for-profit company, in August 2021 ftwork became a charity, Footwork Trust. Although our overall aim remains unchanged – to ensure that clear social principles underpin development and drive good practice – we are currently working with our team and many collaborators to refocus our purpose and methodology. Meanwhile business is very much as usual!

With pressure to build new homes and whole neighbourhoods, economic expediency drowns out the need to create diverse places with a sense of their own identity. It’s people that make lively and successful places. In thriving communities they stay put; they have some autonomy, are mutually supportive and feel secure; they have varied opportunities to mix, to work and to be creative. The remarkable response to the pandemic has revealed the potential for social innovation and collaboration, but also exposed the stark inequalities that now have to be addressed.

ftwork’s vision is for a built environment sector that responds to need, that listens to people, learns from local knowledge and has a shared interest in the long-term success of communities. With people at the heart of the process we can make sure planning and development both value and bring value to communities.

So for ftwork architectural practice is a proactive and collaborative endeavour which has a social as well as creative purpose. As a small team of like-minded individuals, we work across sectors and with a wide range of organisations committed to social change – undertaking research, supporting grassroots initiatives, generating innovative ideas, debating education, practice and policy change. Our focus is on creating change and challenging the status quo.

ftwork was founded by Clare Richards, who switched from filmmaker to architect to help transform the living conditions she had witnessed. When she discovered that architecture school doesn’t teach you about the social context and purpose of design, she embarked on researching the history of place-making and why communities thrive or fail. Happy Communities was winner of the RIBA President’s Dissertation Medal 2010. She has worked extensively on community-based projects, consultations and collaborative design. She writes articles and opinion pieces on the relationship between the built environment and communities and is a regular contributor to BBC London’s Robert Elms Show. Clare is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

ftwork is a Patron of the London Festival of Architecture, a Centre for London Partner, a contributor to New London Architecture initiatives and sponsor of the NLA Awards Community Prize.

Footwork Trust, Charity No: 1196039

ftwork partners

Collaborations and strong networks provide the most effective means to bring about change. We work collaboratively with partners across all sectors, including public institutions, professional bodies, universities (educators), think tanks, social enterprises and community groups – acting as funding, research, project and campaign partner, often in combination


We are a small network of contributors united in the belief that successful communities lead to positive social change. We work on a freelance basis, with backgrounds ranging across social enterprise, community organisations, the built environment and media.

Clare Richards

Clare is an architect and filmmaker and founder of ftwork

Lara Kinneir

Lara is a designer working across the public, private, academic and the third sector, campaigning and delivering projects that demonstrate how the built environment connects to people’s quality of life

Alexandra Prew

Alex is a copywriter and creative strategist from an advertising background, with a focus on social purpose projects. Our go-to girl for all things content.

Harrison Sharkey

Harrison's focus is social value and community engagement. Alongside his research job he enjoys working with his hands as a builder

Nkhanise Phiri

Nkhanise is ftwork's social media co-ordinator and Instagram guru. She's also a writer, actor and part of the marketing team at the Royal Court Theatre

Naomi Rubbra

Naomi is an award- and prize-winning trainee architect with a mission to improve quality of urban life, preferring time in place rather than behind a desk

Rachel Calton

Rachel is a communications consultant specialising in architecture, the built environment and community-led design. Also works with leading industry PR agency Caro Communications

ftwork is a collaborator, working across sectors and with a wide range of organisations committed to social change. We're happy to hear from you.