Obituary: Community stalwart Dr Lilian Brafman was passionate about wellbeing of Hampstead

12:37 19 June 2014

Lilian Brafman

Lilian Brafman


Architect and urban planner Dr Lilian Z. Brafman, who died aged 82 on June 7 after a long and painful illness, was a gifted and versatile person.

Once involved in a task, there was no question of cutting corners – she would devote herself totally to achieve perfection.

As a professional and as a family person, long-time Hampstead resident Lilian was an inspired and inspiring person; it was not possible to ignore her views and feelings, since her honesty, passion and level of knowledge were only too obvious.

Lilian was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she qualified as an architect.

Soon after qualification, she entered a competition to build a new site for the Military Forces Club in Rio de Janeiro.

Out of 13 applicants, she was the winner, thanks to a project that created a new pattern of social sites in the area.

In 1960 she came to London and joined a town planning course at University College London. She joined the Greater London Council and undertook a number of memorable projects.

In one of these, she was asked to modify and modernise traffic routes in Kingston-upon-Thames and this led her to create a public participation exercise that was to be followed not just in England, but also in other countries.

She was praised for the new traffic routes she designed for Kingston.

Lilian designed a series of ecological islands to introduce control in complex traffic crossings – again, a creation that was to be followed in many places, including at the Swiss Cottage roundabout.

In July 2002, she obtained a PhD at University College London with a thesis on Public Participation in a Conservation Area: What Happened to Democratic Management of Social Conflict from 1829 to 2002.

In recent years, she joined the Hampstead Conservation Area Advisory Committee, where her urban planning expertise and artistic endowment combined to inspire passionate campaigns to preserve the original harmony and characteristics of buildings and communities.

She was also an active member of Redington Frognal Association (Redfrog).

Redfrog chairman Farokh Khorooshi said: “She genuinely cared about town planning and the wellbeing of a neighbourhood.

“She was a fantastic technical adviser with immense knowledge.

“Her attention to detail, power of persuasion and tenacity really made her unique.

“Even on her deathbed she still had her laptop with her and was helping us to set up a new neighbourhood forum.

“She was an extraordinary woman. She’s a terrible loss and we’re going to miss her.”

Not many people knew of Lilian’s artistic gifts, but she has left many beautiful paintings and drawings.

Lilian, who lived in Oakhill Avenue, built a solid and successful family, leaving children, grandchildren and one great-grandchild, all of whom adored her and will miss her.


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