The work extends previous preoccupations with larger urban material metabolisms of London and its fundamental relationship to open space in the East. Subsequently the proposal is a series of structures mediating between the social/spatial emergence of new urban developments and intensive green/ waterscapes. It is a network transformed along the diverse time-lines of human and natural habitat.
Currently, East London and the Thames Gateway are restructured in an effort to regenerate and expand this part of London. This will allow London's centre of gravity to shift east-wards and to develop new opportunities for urban life. Beside this, the restructuring process is not without conflict and difficulties, as local social, cultural, economic and environmental issues are being raised. The long term effects of a fast moving top-down approach are unknown and have to prove to be sustainable, for many years to come.
The project utilises waste products of this restructuring process and difficult border conditions, between existing urban territory and disused open land. As a result, it uses conditions of regeneration for a long-term city-building processes.
The main project idea is a series of walls, located between existing urban territory and land zoned for future development. They would contain, separate and recycle material deposits, like top-soil, crushed concrete or gravel, during the construction period. In addition, these walls contain access, service infrastructure and mark plot patterns. As such, they would enable landscape conditions as well as individual and small scale urban developments afterwards. The project uses conditions of restructuring for long-term city building processes.
As part of the Collaborative Design Gateway Workshop, we tested the project with members of the local community. The context of the Thames Gateway confronts people with semi-industrial land and ongoing restructuring all the time. Visible long term urban processes have certain permanence in people‘s life. They understood very well, that it is just a logic step to make such processes part of functioning and enjoyable urban environments.
Location: Thames Gateway