> London And Regeneration: The Elephant In The Room
> City: London
> Issue: Regeneration
Emily Grace Morgan
London is being suffocated by a severe housing crisis. The population is augmenting at twice the average rate of the nation, new developments account for merely 1% of the housing stock each year, and 20% of the existing homes are under-occupied. Regeneration is the only solution.
In London, this is synonymous with bolstering economic growth and the intensification of land use. Tragically, it is also inextricably linked with displacement, gentrification, and the exacerbation of the inequalities it seeks to resolve, particularly for social tenants. This architectural generation must adopt a sympathetic and holistic approach if it is to succeed: engaging with the wider context, integrating communities and establishing a sense of identity for schemes and residents alike.
Council estates are the predominant victim, such as the now demolished Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle, to emancipate the well-connected land to evolve into luxurious apartment blocks. This devastated a community of 3,000 people, with just 82 affordable dwellings re-established, and obliterated an urban forest. This should never have happened. The Heygate, whilst arguably a concrete monstrosity, was structurally intact. My proposal boldly imagines what could have been.
By capitalising on the soaring heights of the estate, and maximising infill opportunities, the urban grain undergoes a metamorphosis, with new courtyards, communal gardens and bustling streets reuniting the homes on numerous levels. Crucially, the proposal encapsulates a resilient and diverse community, with live/work units re-establishing the role of local businesses, and an array of communal and commercial facilities, which can adapt as necessary.
Everyone is welcome. Residential blocks are interwoven with student accommodation, supported living, subsidised homes for teachers at the new school, and temporary housing for vulnerable families. This mixed-tenure scheme creates a multi-faceted support network, and redefines what our future communities could be.