London, like growing cities around the globe, is facing a multitude of issues, perhaps none more pressing that that of the current affordable housing shortage. While researching issues on south bank area of the city, I discovered an interesting intersection amidst the existing urban fabric where pockets of light industry were still in existence, harkening back to a previous life embedded in the area’s history, but falling increasingly under the shadow of encroaching housing expansion projects, all of which are located on former industrial lands.
With an understanding that light industrial areas are a much needed source of steady jobs and income, and help support a diversity of residents in the city, particularly the now nearly extinct working class; and an understanding that London’s current policy towards industrial lands is one of accepted “slow release”, I took on the task of accommodating both housing and industry within a unified urban design strategy on a singular site to address both issues of diversified housing and job retention.
The selected site, Stewart’s Lane, brought with it particular issues of disconnection from the surrounding residential fabric, and the task of combining disparate programs such as housing and industry also raised questions of coexistence, requiring careful consideration for circulation, proximity and shared needs. The proposed plan strives to a) provide for a diversity of uses on site to solidify their respective functional presence in the city, b) optimize pedestrian, vehicular and loading circulation on the site to facilitate functionality of mixed uses, c) assemble currently dispersed parking into shared parking facilities to use land more efficiently and, d) integrate the site into the surrounding fabric by connecting to the existing infrastructural networks of housing, parks and transit.
I feel urban design has the power to affect social change, beyond creating simply memorable places, and this design attempts to make a statement on the importance of maintaining a diversity of livelihoods in a city.