They shall inherit the Earth
GenerationsYand Z are aware of the global challenges they face. But by the time they succeed to positions of power, it could be too late to make the changes we need now. What would today’s London be like if reshaped by the generation that will inherit the city in decades to come? We asked fourth-year students at the London School of Architecture to share their proposals for transforming the lives of Londoners in the borough of Hackney. Within eight design think tanks, students and practices collaborated to reimagine everyday activities, from waste and wilderness to playfulness and pleasure.
Investment in the night-time economy tends to focus on people relaxing after a day at work. But for many city-dwellers, the night-time is the working ‘day’. The challenge is to create an architecture that allows people to experience the city by night in a range of different ways – to walk, read, work, socialise, or simply reflect and enjoy the cover of night.
Circadian Commons is a new metropolitan building type, a reimagining of the area around St John’s Church and Gardens in Hackney into a contemporary pleasure gardens offering opportunities for education, work and leisure 24 hours a day.
The arrival is marked by a new wall constructed of bricks from the bus station that currently occupies the site, the assumption being that, as we move towards a 24/7 economy, bus journeys will be more evenly distributed around the clock, reducing the demand for bus storage.
The proposal consists of six key components: a lido and observatory offering opportunities for night-time swimming and star-gazing; a new, more efficient 21st-century bus depot; skill-sharing workshops; pleasure gardens; routes for night walking; and Purpose and Pleasure pavilions, flexible structures that can be used for work or relaxation by day or by night.
Circadian Commons is conceived as part of a wider strategy to enrich London’s night-time offering, destigmatise night-time working, and move towards a 24-hour economy. This is a key component for a more efficient, sustainable city, decreasing the impact of ‘peak’ demand for public transport and key services. More consistent energy demand will facilitate more efficient power generation and increasing use of renewable energy sources.
The hope is that the success of this project, and others like it, would encourage wider policy and legislation to enshrine the human right to access daylight and darkness in safety. A positive outcome would be the introduction of a 1.5 per cent tax – to be applied to companies with more than 100 employees – to support Sadiq Khan’s vision of a 24-hour Trailblazing City, by investing in relevant research and development and in areas of 24-hour activity around the UK. Companies would be able to claim a tax rebate for offering their buildings and resources for community use outside working hours.