- Words and images by Jack Banting
Goal & objective
As a local authority, Hackney has the largest proportion of socially rented and council-owned housing of any borough, with 44 per cent in total. Social housing at its best should be a springboard to a better life, yet data tells us that residents of Hackney’s estates are typically less wealthy, have poorer health, worse education and higher rates of unemployment. And the Covid-19 pandemic has only exposed and deepened inequalities in our society, highlighting the need to create social and economic opportunities for the residents of Hackney’s estates.
The project begins with Hackney’s local authority offering ‘commons’ sites throughout its estates, and newly formed tenants and residents associations. A process of democratic resident deliberation and decision-making facilitated by the Common Ground project then determines a strategy of programming. An intervention formed of a new deployable, low-cost, framework architecture is then installed. In the hands of the community, new space amenity will provide residents with spaces to work, live, learn and socialise, granting them shared facilities, a sense of collective ownership and scope to create new opportunities.
The lasting impact of the Common Ground project is in its positioning as an archetype proposal. The project is conceived as an offering to the Hackney local authority. The precedent of intervention across the identified prototype sites has the potential to demonstrate the extensive social and economic benefits of putting ‘commons’ in the hands of the communities that inhabit them. Through the creation of Common Ground design guides, an adaptable, affordable and deployable system creates a feasible scalability for the transformation of hundreds of similar council-owned sites across Hackney.
Hoxton, London Borough of Hackney
30,140 sqft / 2,800 sqm
Hackney Council & Tenants and Residents Associations