New London Architecture

Digital Service Point - Open Call Competition

View the shortlist
Download submission guidelines pdf

The commission

The competition seeks innovative and feasible design solutions for a modern, multifunctional Digital Service Point that will seamlessly blend existing street furniture and physical infrastructure. We are looking for solutions that are sensitive and complementary to the City’s public spaces and include amenities and digital technologies that serve the public and police.
A creative and sustainable, public intervention is desired to animate and enhance the City of London public realm and improve quality of life for local residents and businesses. The proposals should take a holistic design approach, offering a flexible and adaptable design solution that could be applied to a series of sites across the City of London.
Up to 6 shortlisted teams will be awarded £1,500 to develop a design proposal that can stimulate debate, address the needs and desires of local stakeholders, and positively influence the future direction for the project. 
Following the competition process, the winning team will be revealed in late May 2021 after which the City of London Police will start the process of raising the funding for the delivery of the selected design scheme.

The context

The City of London, also known as the Square Mile, is the historic heart of London and one of the world’s leading financial centres. It is home to approximately 8,000 residents and a working population of over 513,000 people. Each year the City welcomes over 10 million tourists, in addition to those visiting for business.
The City of London has an ever-increasing working population and a growing number of visitors. To ensure the Square Mile remains a great place to live, work, study and visit, the streets and spaces must respond to these changes in order to maintain the area’s attractiveness, safety and welcoming ambience.
To deliver significant improvements to the safety of Square Mile residents, workers and visitors, the City of London Corporation and City of London Police have jointly launched the Secure City Programme (SCP). Using technology in an innovative way, the programme has set out to achieve more effective management of the City streets. Increased situational awareness will facilitate significant improvements to incident identification, decision making and incident response capabilities.
SCP is an effort to make the City of London the safest city in the world through the use of cutting-edge technologies and enhanced collaboration between the City Corporation, the Police, and local partners, such as businesses, organizations and residents. Ensuring that the City is somewhere “to be safe and to feel safe,” now and in the future.
The City’s Accommodation Programme is seeking to rationalise its property portfolio resulting in the closure of police stations across the Square Mile. Digital Service Points will help address that reduction and advance the Secure City effort by providing physical locations to integrate new technologies and to allow for effective, seamless interactions between the Corporation, Police, residents, visitors and local businesses.
SCP is supporting the strategy to create the new Digital Service Points [DSPs] that will bring the traditional Police Boxes into the 21st Century. The issues identified are:
  • Police Boxes are obsolete and no longer used.
  • Security challenges have changed; policing strategies and technologies need to change to keep the City safe.
  • A stronger local authority and Police presence is needed in highly populated strategic locations across the City.
  • Police Station closures support the need for modern digital and physical support points to provide an enhanced service and user experience.
  • Digital systems allow the public to be served in a faster and more seamless way.

The aim

The aim of this project is to support the interaction between the public, police and Corporation while also offering a more engaging public realm experience.
The new Digital Service Point(s) should:
  • Act as a micro-hub / station for officers to enable the police and Corporation to provide a more efficient and accessible service to the public.
  • Enhance security and feeling of safety for City of London residents, workers and visitors.
  • Provide a two-way digital interface to enable public access to police and other government services and resources
  • Incorporate life-saving medical equipment for emergency response.
  • Be aesthetically sympathetic to local environments.
  • Advance the City’s environmental sustainability goals.
  • Be a point of information to the public and potential digital platform for creative content
  • Improve safety, create opportunities to strengthen community well-being through meeting the public’s needs.
  • Allow people to feel safe and be able to easily interact with the City of London Police and the Corporation.
  • Improve the pedestrian experience in the City, incorporate environmentally friendly solutions (paper less, Zero carbon footprint etc.) and add more greenery into the City’s streets and publicspaces.

The sites

At this stage the specific sites for the Digital Service Points have not yet been confirmed. However, they will likely be installed in areas with high foot fall where there is significant scope for safety and public realm enhancement.

For Stage 1, designers are welcome to suggest a location typology for their proposal. Potential examples of sites could include publics spaces, parks, pavements or existing car parking spaces ensuring existing flows of people and traffic are not obstructed. The design should be flexible and adjustable to other locations should there be a change in the site or an opportunity to implement the scheme across several sites.
The sites


Submissions will be shortlisted by the expert jury panel. Up to 6 shortlisted practices will then be invited to participate in the Stage 2 of this competition and will be awarded an honorarium of £1,500 plus VAT each. The work required for the second phase of the project will be reflective of the honorarium sum and include the equivalent of two A2 boards explaining your proposal. This can come in the form your practice feels will most effectively communicate your design to the jury panel.

Design requirements

We are looking for proposals that are functional, respond to the brief aims, and are realistic and buildable. They must be vandal proof and offer a sustainable design solution. Each design proposal should fit within the cost parameters of £250,000 per Digital Service Point.
Design proposals should include:
  • Space that is compact and ergonomic with a footprint that is able to accommodate two police officers to check-in periodically for on-site work
  • Storage space of approximately 0.5m x 0.5m footprint dimensions for policing and medicalequipment
  • Docking Stations including a screen, a keyboard, and a mouse to support police work (should be located in an area within the structure that can be locked and unavailable when police are not present).
  • An enclosed defibrator which is accessible from the exterior of the DSP
  • A digital touch screen accessible for public use to report a crime, inform public services about an accident, and could provide a platform for digital content such as a map, directions, travel updates, museum programmes, and information about local events etc.
  • Wi-Fi for police use, and potentially the public
It is recommended that design proposals may also include (but are also not limited to) some of the below public amenities:
  • Plants/greenery
  • Pollution monitoring
  • Water fountain or water bottle filling station
  • Call button/box for public safety calls
  • Wayfinding/signage
  • Public art
  • A bench or other seating for the public
For features listed above collaboration with other businesses could be considered. We recommend the following general design guidelines:
  • Proposals should not obstruct the existing street furniture or physical infrastructure and should consider the pedestrian flow.
  • Designs should be streamlined where possible to avoid taking up unnecessary space or cause unnecessary clutter in the public realm.
  • Landscaping and greening are desirable, but maintenance must be considered
  • Non-movable elements rather than movable elements are encouraged
  • If necessary, in particular to prevent theft or anti-social behaviour, appropriate fixings and security methods should be considered and should be included in the design.
  • Interventions should be designed to limit opportunities for skateboarding, drug- drops, rough-sleeping and anti-social behaviour
  • DSPs should include their own external CCTV coverage
  • The interior of the DSP shouldn’t be accessible for the public


This competition has a two-stage submission. This first stage submission should include:
  1. Full name and contact details including postal address, contact number and email of project lead.
  2. Brief biographies of all the project team.
  3. A 200-word description about your practice along with any relevant technical experience acquired through previous experience; please include a selection of relevant previous work.
  4. A short paragraph of max. 500 words on why you are interested in being involved in the project, including your initial concept or vision in relation to the brief.
  5. One initial sketch of your proposal.
Submissions will be shortlisted by the judging panel. Up to 6 shortlisted practices will then be invited to develop a more detailed design proposal based on the information laid out in this open call and will be awarded an honorarium of £1500 plus VAT each.
Following the shortlisting process, a briefing session with City of London, City of London Police, Bloomberg Associates and New London Architecture will be organised for all the teams.
The work required for the second phase of the project will be reflective of the honorarium sum.
We will be expecting:
  • The equivalent of two A2 board explaining your proposal. This can come in the form your practice feels will most effectively communicate your design to the judging panel.
  • Hand or computer drawn 3D design visualisation, plan and sections
  • Outline of proposed materials, indicative budget and fabrication/installation process


The competition is open to architects, designers and artists. We welcome collaborations however the project must be actively led by a named architect.

Deadline and submission details

The deadline for first submission is midday 1st March 2021. Submissions received after this time will not be considered.
For competition enquires please contact: 
Please send expressions of interest in a PDF format via the below link
The PDF should be no more than 5MB and 10 A4 pages.
You will receive an email confirming receipt of your submission.
Submit here

Schedule outline

  • 1st stage submissions open: 1 February 2021
  • 1st stage submissions closed: 1 March 2021
  • Successful shortlisted practices notified: w/c 8 March 2021
  • Stage 2 briefing: w/c 29 March 2021
  • 2nd stage submission closes: 3 May 2021
  • Second stage interviews: w/c 10 May 2021
  • Winner announced: w/c 17 May 2021

Judging panel

  • Katherine Oliver (Principal, Media & Digital Strategies, Bloomberg Associates)
  • Lorenzo Conigliaro (Secure City Programme Director, City of London Police)
  • Clarisse Tavin (Group Manager, City Public Realm, City of London Corporation)
  • Tamsie Thomson (Managing Director, New London Architecture)
  • David West (Founding Director, Studio Egret West)
  • Nolan Giles (Senior Editor (Design), Monocle)

Further information

  • Submissions will be judged on originality, demonstration of creativity and relevance to the brief, as well as feasibility and how the proposal works in the context of the site.
  • The ownership of Copyright of the design will be in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, that is Copyright rests with the author of the submitted design. 
  • All designs remain the intellectual property of the designer however the winning designs when built, will be the property of the City Police for the duration of the installation.
  • Significant efforts are made by all stakeholders of the project to ensure wide media coverage.
  • New London Architecture, City of London Police and Bloomberg Associates reserve the right to use images from the submissions for promotional purposes in press, social media and publications. All endeavours will be made to ensure accurate accreditation.
  • The winning design will need go through a planning application process in order to gain planning approval from the City of London Corporation.


The competition organisers are not liable for lost, misdirected, or late entries. Decisions of the jury represent their professional judgments and all decisions are final. While it is the intent to construct the winning scheme, the organisers reserve the right to not proceed with construction for any reason. Material submitted by you shall be your sole responsibility, shall not infringe or violate the rights of any other party or violate any laws, contribute to or encourage infringing or otherwise unlawful conduct, or otherwise be obscene, objectionable, or in poor taste. By submitting such material, you are representing that you are the owner of such material and/or have all necessary rights, licenses, and authorization to distribute it.

View the shortlist
Download submission guidelines pdf

Submission deadline

Midday, Monday 1 March 2021

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