This Must Be the Place

Sally O’Reilly & James M’Kay, I Hear Horses, 2018, Cement Fields. Photo: Rosie Lonsdale

Ebbsfleet Garden City. Photo: Rosie Lonsdale

This Must Be the Place is a pioneering three-year placemaking programme of research, artists residencies, and co-commissions created collaboratively with young people from Ebbsfleet. 

Working with artists and a wide range of partners, young people aged 16-25 will co-lead the programme, exploring and shaping Ebbsfleet as it is built. Together they will consider innovative and radical placemaking ideas with partners including architects, designers, philosophers and policy makers, and share their research on what has worked locally, nationally and internationally. This process will feed into a series of new and experimental art commissions and residencies, embedded in the city and community, connecting the histories and potential futures of the social, political, geographical and civic landscapes they live in.

At a pivotal moment in time, given the increased economic uncertainty and social isolation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, This Must Be the Place brings young people together and creates tangible opportunities for them to develop as their own cultural and civic leaders. Enabling them to ask questions, be playful, and to challenge and shape ideas connected to the design and build of the new city. Crucially, they will be directly involved in long-term decision making in the place they live, enabling them, and the wider community, to have a stake in elements of the design, development and governance of the city, fostering a deeper and more meaningful sense of home.

As the first new garden city for 100 years, the plans for Ebbsfleet are formidable, including creating up to 15,000 new homes, nine new schools, and seven new city-scale parks, by 2035. This Must Be the Place aims to explore the opportunities and challenges presented by this new town, and how these can be re-examined and countered through radical, youth and art-led creative placemaking. The programme will develop new methodologies for research and placemaking with young people at its heart, informing national learning and creative placemaking models. 

This Must Be the Place is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and by Ebbsfleet Development Corporation.

Visit to find out more about the project and get involved.