An authentic cultural and arts district is not just a brand - it is an area where diverse types and art and people work, live and play. Gentrification typically results in creative people and families being forced out of the urban areas they pioneered. In the development of branding Vauxhall as an arts and culture district, predominantly driven by a Business Improvement District - how do we attract diverse types of art to the area and ensure that local artists are supported? In conjunction with that, how can we ensure that the area grows equitably and people of mixed income groups inhabit the area?
Home ownership in the UK is at it lowest since the census records began and the majority of the population live in fear of rising rents and eviction. Homelessness has become a reality for Londoners who are oftentimes families with children. These are some of the issues that characterize the ‘UK Housing Crisis.’ The Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea area, also known as mini-Manhattan is estimated to be receiving £15 billion of investment and which will be put into two new underground stations, commercial and residential towers and a new embassy district. In its first phase of 865 residential units, almost all were sold to overseas buyers. Developer led housing and the limited number of housebuilders further aggravate this problem.
Our client, the Vauxhall One business improvement district see the opportunity this development can have for the area as well as the economic benefits of branding the area as an arts and culture district. The New Covent Garden Market Authority is semi-public entity that distributes 40% of London’s food produce from a 62 acre city-owned site south of the VNEB development.
This urban proposal questions the role of the contemporary Urban practitioner - designer, engineer, ecologist and activist. It explores the future of affordable housing through the creation of stable and resilient urban district. The proposal borrows ideas from case studies where closed loop infrastructure and experimental forms of collective living and ownership have been successful, and appropriates them in South London - for Londoners!