London’s Towns: visions for a polycentric city revealed at PechaKucha

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Architects, engineers, designers and planners gathered at NLA last night to hear innovative ideas and projects in London’s outer town centres, through the Japanese PechaKucha format – with speakers presenting quick-fire ideas across 20 image slides with 20 seconds to describe each.

Speakers from Maccreanor Lavington, Squire and Partners, Arup, LB Waltham Forest, CGL, HawkinsBrown, Swan Housing, BDP, We Made That and Stitch explored how London’s outer town centres can be activated to create sustainable places to live, work, shop and socialise – focusing on innovative projects and ideas that are transforming London’s urban centres, outside of the Central Activities Zone (CAZ). 

Here’s what they covered:

-       Ken Thompson, Associate at Maccreanor Lavington, showcased the Lee Green Regeneration - a physical, economic and social regeneration of Lee Green in Lewisham, with new housing, shopping and leisure facilities

-       Lauren Patten, Associate at Squire and Partners, talked about the new Department Store in Lambeth - a restored workplace including event/gallery spaces, retail units, café and catering business, rooftop bar, two restaurants and community post office

-       Richard Boyd's, Senior Engineer for Arup, explained how his 'Infinite Solutions' proposal gives an opportunity to create new local identities in Outer London, developing new vernaculars to replace identikit suburbs with neighbourhoods that have their own sense of place

-       Zoe Sellers, Programme Manager – Town Centres at LB Waltham Forest, described the 'St James Street Townscape Heritage Regeneration' of Walthamstow town centre, which included new heritage paving, lighting columns, bespoke benches, soft/hard landscaping and new shared pedestrian/cyclist crossings

-       James Felstead, Director at Child Graddon Lewis, explained how their 'Velo Village' concept for a cycle-friendly housing scheme can change perceptions of cycling, by making it more accessible - with better access, cycling storage and public spaces

-       Jack Penford Baker, Architect at HawkinsBrown, showed their regeneration of Plumstead Library, Greenwich, which will transform and extend the Grade II Listed 1903 building into a fully accessible public library, leisure facility and cafe

-       Anna Bolsin, Senior New Business Manager at Swan Housing, presented their scheme to regenerate Purfleet Town Centre - which will see 2,850 new homes, located around the train station, linking existing communities, as well as film and TV studio and production facilities

-       Dean Crosley, Architect at BDP, explained the transformation of Eden Walk, Kingston, which will provide a housing scheme, new cinema and restaurants, all varying in height, contributing to an articulated skyline

-       Holly Lewis, Co-Founding Partner of We Made That, showed how their Burnt Oak Town Centre Strategy considers public realm, way finding, the identity of the area and innovative ways to support local businesses

-       Joanna Hansford, Architect at Stitch, closed the evening by showcasing their Churchill Gardens scheme – which will see 384 new homes across eight apartment blocks, commercial space and enhanced community facilities for Bromley town centre

The PechaKucha is part of a series of events based around NLA’s latest Insight Study and exhibition – ‘London’s Towns: Shaping the polycentric city’, which examines the evolution of London and its towns and how we should shape them for the future. The publication can be downloaded for free here

The next event is the ‘Public Assets: Enabling growth in London’s Towns’ half-day conference exploring the role of joint ventures, public/private partnerships and local development companies in enabling essential growth and maintaining local vitality when developing outer London. Tickets for this conference are completely free to members – book here before tickets sell out.

Click here for the full list of London’s Towns: Shaping the polycentric city events, follow #LDNTowns on social media for further updates, or take our survey and let us know how you use your local town centre.

By Merry Arnold, NLA

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