In 1981 the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) was established under Thatcher’s government to regenerate the Docklands area of East London. The LDDC in effect abolished all democratic planning powers across the docklands area resulting in neither the Greater London Council (GLC) nor local authorities having any planning locus.
At this time Hilary Wainwright was working within the Popular Planning Unit at the GLC, under Ken Livingstone’s mayoralty. The mandate on which Labour Livingstone’s GLC was elected intended that the docks would become a transport hub with the associated processing industries, whilst opposing the proposed City airport. In her role within the Popular Planning Unit, Hilary was a key supporter of local organisations within the docklands who were developing an alternative to the proposed airport, called The People’s Plan.
The result of the People’s Plan movement was a 40-page document, which provided a detailed alternative plan for future of the docklands. The plan covered housing requirements, the introduction of a transport interchange, utilising the docks for cargo handling and ship repair, and employment opportunities for women. The movement triggered a public inquiry into the proposed city airport, to which the People’s Plan presented alternatives. The overall aim of the People’s Plan was to stop the airport and subsequently ensure that it, or at least development ideas from it, became part of Newham Council’s Local Plan for the area.
What is The People’s Plan and how was the GLC’s involvement with its development?
HW: The GLC’s involvement with The People’s Plan began as a result of the restrictions imposed by the LDDC, which meant we didn’t have the power to implement our mandate for the London Docklands. We needed alternative sources, and the Popular Planning Unit had developed an understanding that looked to the collective power and capacity of Londoners as being crucial to developing any effective industrial strategy, across the whole of London.
Our ethos was to start where people were already active, as those who were protesting, resisting and acting usually had an idea about what they wanted. On this basis we were already working with people on the docklands including the Joint Docklands Action Group (JDAG), who had done a lot of research and were firmly rooted. Through them we discovered a strong movement developing against the airport.
The group’s first proposal was to have a People’s Plan Centre (PPC) where people could come in and discuss their ideas about the future of the docklands. Two local grannies acted like shop stewards for the estates, led this initiative and convened a meeting to discuss the negative effects of the LDDC plans, regarding local housing, jobs and pollution. The GLC supported the group by funding both the development of the People’s Plan Centre and the employment of a team that would be accountable to a committee of local people. The process began to gather people’s ideas about what could be developed around the docks instead of the proposed airport. In addition to the PPC, visits were made to a number of groups including trade unions, tenants associations, mother-and-toddler groups and small businesses.
Why didn’t the People’s Plan get adopted?
HW: The implementation of the Plan proved difficult owing to the restrictions imposed by the LDDC. The inspector of the public inquiry ruled in favour of the airport, partly owing to big companies such as Mowlem and Ryanair strongly promoting the proposal. Nonetheless, the requirements the airport had to meet were influenced by the People’s Plan - they weren’t just given a blank cheque. It was a defeat but it built up people’s confidence to get resources from the GLC to implement their ideas. However, once the airport was given the go ahead, that determined the development of the area. There was no way the docks could be used anymore and most of the small local businesses were cleared.
Unfortunately due to political context of Thatcher abolishing all planning powers within the LDDC area, the GLC had little to bring to the alliance apart from financial support for the People’s Plan. By contrast is the case of Coin Street (http://coinstreet.org/) where not only could we support their plans, but the GLC could use their powers to compulsory purchase the land and stop the developer, whilst also providing funding for the alternative plan to be implemented. That is a stark illustration of what is possible when an elected body has real powers and works with a community organisation.
Do you think The People’s Plan would be better received today, or would it be harder to champion this approach to planning?
HW: I think planning policies are not strong enough; the developer appears to have total power. However, developers are now increasingly sensitive to questions of image and more nervous about community reaction and how it plays in the press. Perhaps a ‘People’s Plan approach – a community getting organised and putting forward their own ideas whilst being supported by a local authority – would hold greater bargaining power today. Unfortunately I think it is about using powers of propaganda and image busting rather than local authorities being able to use any strategic powers. Perhaps if there were many such initiatives it could lead to more power for local authorities or the GLA.
Initially the People’s Plan struggled to gather ideas from local people. Do you think this would be easier today as people tend to expect to be consulted and contribute their ideas?
HW: For most of their lives people have been dominated, they have not been able to control their futures or their environment, their community, their workplace. They are not in a situation where they feel they have power over what happens. They make an intuitive calculation ‘people are asking for our ideas but what is the point if they are not going to be implemented?’. Now there is more of sense that direct action can work, there is greater belief for standing up for what you believe and standing up against injustice – for example the E15 Mothers group. When people are facing brutal attacks people will stand up. That is often the basis that will lead to alternatives, but only under those circumstances. It’s whether that can ever be supported in a way that leads to greater power, which can stop the developers and trigger some new public led dynamic. Unfortunately there is so little public money to put into alternatives.
Given the scale that the LDDC covered do you think it was a necessary tool, which was poorly orchestrated or was it simply the wrong approach to regenerating this part of London at this time?
HW: The area could have been regenerated if local authorities had had the power and the capital to build houses. I imagine the housing was run down and there was no attempt to regenerate local industry. There could have been an investment bank to support local businesses.
I don’t think the regeneration of the area needed such a market driven institution. The LDDC didn’t respond to any democratic processes. It did have to accept the inquiry into the airport but apart from that it eliminated all local planning powers. It was almost like a free enterprise zone, which offered businesses a zone that was free of government legislation, and any democratic or environmental controls. Any local development bank would need to be within a democratic framework. The public investment resources were good, however I think the process was mainly about attracting private money by having no regulations.
What are the positive / negative legacies of the LDDC that we see today?
HW: The LDDC has been one of the culprits of the appalling housing situations in London, as it facilitated mass creation of high rise, high value housing around the docklands, near the City. It created this idea of ‘housing for the City’, which set the price levels for the whole of London. It was responsible for all the luxury housing around Canary Wharf and Limehouse, which pushed out local people and as result had repercussions for the whole city.
What lessons can be learnt for development corporations, which are operating as mechanisms for regenerating London or other parts of the UK today?
HW: Any development initiative should be under democratic leadership. Something like a decentralised national investment bank could work where you have the national level, but also a regional and local level of control. At the GLC we had a Greater London Enterprise Board, but that was set up by the GLC and therefore it was accountable to an elected body, and its board was made up of councillors, GLC officers and trade union representatives. So whether it is called a development corporation or an investment bank - you do need some investment money, and you need it to be decentralised to respond to people’s knowledge and capacity - respond to initiatives like the People’s Plan.
Working in partnership, the Greater London Authority (GLA), the British Council, New London Architecture (NLA) and SEGRO have appointed We Made That to curate London’s exhibit at the inaugural Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. The Biennale will feature a selection of the most innovative public projects and initiatives from 50 cities around the world with London showcased as one of two ‘cities in focus’, alongside Vienna.
This new Biennale is set to become an important part of the international calendar, running from 1 September to 5 November 2017.
We Made That has been working closely with public and local authorities on a number of research projects and strategies that explore the city’s relationship with industry and production. Over the past two years, in the context of London’s now well-documented loss of industrial land, the team have studied over 1,000 businesses operating from industrial sites, including in Charlton Riverside, Hackney Wick and Park Royal. These sites are productive, varied, full of surprises and under threat. Being located in London is important to the businesses they accommodate, but many are unclear of how they fit into plans for London’s future.
The team has found that London is a hugely productive city across many different areas and sectors, with a diverse range of workspaces and that these key sites of employment must be protected. We Made That is proposing a series of short films to document the ‘threads’ of products and manufacturers that are required to service a renowned cultural venue, demonstrating the people and processes that are crucial to ensure London remains productive. The films will celebrate the places, skills and networks that currently exist as well as illustrating the key challenges and opportunities facing the city in the near future, drawing on the wealth of existing information captured in GLA work and the recent WRK/ LDN insight study produced by NLA, as well as SEGRO’s recently launched ‘Keep London Working’ report. The curatorial approach will provide a critical interrogation of the policies and pressures on a variety of industries, asking why they are vital for the city and the people that live within it. The exhibition is part of the official UK/Korea 2017–18 programme, the British Council’s season celebrating and showcasing the UK’s innovation and excellence in the arts and creative industries in Korea.
Oliver Goodhall, Co-founding Partner at We Made That, says: “We’re very pleased and excited to be appointed to this project which will transport an important story about the capital’s inventiveness, productivity and vision to South Korea to be viewed in a global context. Although seen through the lens of a cultural venue, the behind-the-scenes ‘threads’ of supply that we are exploring will illustrate wider London-serving industrial activities like urban logistics, high-tech manufacturing and food & drink production, as well as ‘cultural’ production processes like set-design, costume production and audio-visual services. The exhibition will illuminate the range of skill sets, building typologies and workspace needs across London.”
Sarah Mann, Director of Architecture Design Fashion at the British Council, says: “We are really excited to be working with We Made That, NLA, SEGRO and the GLA for this installation. As in Seoul, London’s city-grown industries are under increasing pressure from new developments and the British Council is interested in exploring how we can support these to thrive alongside each other. The installation forms part of a wider partnership with Seoul Biennale, which forges links between cities in the UK and South Korea, exploring the common challenges and opportunities of our respective urban environments.”
The Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism will be co-directed by Hyungmin Pai and London-based architect Alejandro Zaera-Polo. It will be organized around two major exhibitions – a ‘Thematic’ exhibition and ‘Cities’ exhibition – as well as ‘live projects’ and research conducted in partnership with Seoul Metropolitan Government. The ‘Cities’ exhibition will showcase the most innovative public projects and initiatives from 50 cities around the world. It will examine issues of city governance, public policy, and local conditions.
We Made That have recently been appointed by London Borough of Waltham Forest to develop design proposals for improvements to Cheney Row Open Space including a new community building. The project is within the Lee Valley Regional Park and will include supporting works to improve ecological interest, but it will also provide healthy, safe and welcoming open space improvements for existing and new communities.
The space have the potential to support more uses and activity, so a small community hub for events, workshops and gatherings is planned as a focal point. It will help Cheney Row Open Space be an important place in the neighbourhood. We will be working with local people to shape proposals over summer and autumn 2017.
Holly Lewis will be supporting the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to deliver Good Growth by Design as one of the newly announced Mayor’s Design Advocates. Looking forward to getting started!
London’s unprecedented population growth presents us with a challenge and an opportunity – to build homes, neighbourhoods and workspaces for a fast expanding city, and to do so in a way that creates successful, inclusive and sustainable places. In his first major intervention on this topic, the Mayor is calling on London’s architectural, design and built environment professions to help realise his vision of London as a city that is socially and economically inclusive as well as environmentally sustainable.
Join us and tell us what you think about the Beddington North TfL Major Scheme
The Beddington Programme aims to improve this area of Sutton with funding of over £7M. The Beddington North Transport for London (TfL) Major Scheme is one of the first major projects in the Beddington Programme.
We Made That with Urban Movement and Europa have been commissioned by Sutton Council to develop designs for the Major Scheme. These focus on delivering improvements to Beddington Lane making it better for pedestrians and cyclists, and providing more travel choices for local businesses and residents.
When & Where
Drop-in anytime 11am to 4pm on Saturday 15 July 2017 at Asda Wallington, Marlowe Way, Croydon CR0 4XS
The event is free
If you have any questions or want to know more, contact email@example.com
We’re delighted that our ‘What Walworth Wants’ project for the London Borough of Southwark has been Commended in the Mayor’s Prize Category of the New London Awards 2017. The project was also shortlisted in the Masterplan & Area Strategies category. Our ‘Cycling in Nine Elms on the South Bank’ work for Transport for London was shortlisted in the Transport & Infrastructure category.
The layers of London’s history are ever present, particularly if you know where to look. The influence of the Roman Empire still resonates in the orientation of Kingsland Road, whilst Charing Cross and Clerkenwell Road remain identifiably Victorian achievements. There were others though, and their influence is everywhere.
The Property Boom tells the story of how a relatively small group of London entrepreneurs, many aged under 30 and returning from the Second World War, were the equal of these historical forefathers in changing the face of London forever. Written at the height of the boom in 1967, The Property Boom tells you how on earth Centrepoint got built, why Croydon feels more like a future Mittal Europa than south London, and why Euston is so different to Kings Cross.
The Property Boom is about how the system that still builds London got started, and is therefore essential to getting close to why the city is the way it is today.
Haringey Council have commissioned Regeneris and We Made That to carry out a study that looks into the creative industries in Tottenham. This research will allow a better understanding of the challenges, opportunities and priorities within the creative industries, and suggest where the Council is able to offer support.
There is an organically growing cluster of creative industries in Tottenham, most notably within the South. The creative industries are the fastest growing sector in London’s economy, generating £35 billion and accounting for 1 in 6 jobs. However the creative industries, both within Tottenham and wider London, are facing significant challenges such as maintenance of creative infrastructure, supply of creative workforce and access to funding.
This study will help to shape the development of a Creative Enterprise Zone in Tottenham, a mayoral pilot project which is being explored by Haringey Council and the Greater London Authority which aims to place creative enterprise at the heart of local strategy through a tailored package of incentives which encourage creative activity and talent, and engages the community in emerging opportunities.
Photo credit: Philipp Ebeling, Front-of-house photography studio with access to workshops
The centre of the exhibition space in the Barbican Art Gallery is inhabited with large white volumes and greenery – a 1:1 model of the Moriyama House by architect Ryue Nishizawa. The original was completed in 2005 in a traditional part of Tokyo, Japan. Here in the gallery in London, visitors are able to experience how the different spaces, which consist of independent units connected to each other by garden spaces, are lived in.
The white volumes contrast the rough concrete texture of the gallery walls and are juxtaposed with the geometry and structure of the spaces they inhabit. This play between the two exposes unique sections, allows for views into living spaces from unusual angles and highlights the materiality of both the rough and the slick.
Froma morning spent on Snowden’s peak and the of site of it’s recently renovatedsummit building once described by Prince Charles as the “Highest slum in Wales”to anafternoon spent at Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis’s other attraction inthe Snowdonia National Park and perhaps a scene more acceptable on his Royal Highness’seye; theItalianate Welsh village of Portmeirion. Opened to the public in the1920’s, renowned for it’s botanically patterned pottery in the 1960’s and thenproviding the location of ‘TheVillage’ for cult television series ‘ThePrisoner’ Clough Williams-Ellis’s vision is as unsettling as it is charming.
Tempted by a change of scene? Feel like your skills could offer more? Political and social conscience nagging you? Itchy feet?
COME AND MEET US! We’re looking for the very best people to join our growing team. You should be talented, ambitious and tenacious. Right now there are several roles we’re hoping to fill to work on exciting new projects:
Join us to talk about what you think of Tolworth, your ideas for its future, and the opportunities you see for change.
The Tolworth Area Plan will help to inspire new initiatives to transform the area, supporting communities and delivering economic growth and prosperity. Kingston Council, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London are embarking on an ambitious programme to ensure a bright future for the Tolworth area.
Drop-in any time:
11am to 4pm Tuesday 13 June, Tolworth Community Library
11am to 4pm Friday 16 June, 21st Floor, Tolworth Tower
As part of the London Festival of Architecture 2017, We Made That presents The Unlimited Edition: Live! Taking inspiration from the fifth edition of our recently published newspaper we are hosting two events in Bermondsey which explore the planning, development and productive capacities of the neighbourhood:
Planning the Docklands, Wednesday 7th June
A hosted conversation reflecting upon the legacy of London’s Docklands. Dr Sue Brownill and Dr Loraine Leeson will join Hilary Wainwright and Paul Clarke to discuss planning approaches and community responses to the re-development of the Docklands. The conversation will consider the role of development corporations in making our city, and reflect on two remarkable grassroots projects sparked by the LDDC: The People’s Plan and the Docklands Community Poster Project, along with the current development of the Royal Docks. ...Read More
Click here for more information or to book tickets.
Supermix in Bermondsey, Saturday 10th June
A walking tour in Bermondsey will demonstrate how ‘supermix’ in the city works to keep London lively, diverse and productive. The tour will explore Bermondsey’s historic reputation as the ‘Larder of London’, and how the area continues to feed London as well as hosting artists, printers, and production houses amongst others. Join us to skip, sip and sniff around Bermondsey’s supermix sites, stopping off at industrious spots across the neighbourhood to visit a selection of food, drink, furniture and other businesses, including Portena Argentenian Street Food, Jensen’s Gin, Jason Yates Photography and Spa Terminus.
Click here for more information or to book tickets.
Holly spoke at the launch of this year’s Green Sky Thinking conference, hosted by Open City. Alongside Tom Holbrook (5th Studio) and Patrick Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects), she spoke about how We Made That approaches making an ‘open city’ by being generous, public and ultra-practical.
Holly will be speaking at the AAFx Aarhus Architecture Festival as part of the Future Architecture Platform (FAP) on Friday 28th April. The FAP is the first pan-European platform of architecture museums, festivals and producers, which is tasked with bringing ideas for the future of cities and architecture closer to the wider public.
Come along and hear about ideas and mindsets for the future architecture of Europe from Danish, German, Slovakian and British - whilst that still counts as European… :( - perspectives!
The Unlimited Edition is a newspaper exploring, celebrating and speculating about the future of particular places. Each issue is place-based, delving into key themes which shape our cities. We are inviting guest writers, artists, policy-makers, urban designers and community members to contribute creative snapshots of the city to issue VI of the paper.
If you have an idea, we’d love to hear from you.
Contributions can take many forms - written, photographed or drawn. Edition VI: Aarhus will launch in summer 2017 and copies of the newspaper will be circulated for free in the UK and Denmark. For more information get in touch with editor Hannah Martin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download Issue V, Bermondsey here. See more about previous issues and the series here.
Our recent work mapping employment and heritage in the Charlton Riverside area has now been published for consultation by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The report will inform the development the the Charlton Riverside Masterplan which is also subject to consultation until 12th April 2017.
The report reveals an area with a rich creative and industrial economy, and a fascinating history of technology and innovation. In light of the emerging masterplan proposals for 5,000-7,500 new homes and 4,000 new jobs in the area, the report provides a valuable resource for the local authority and design teams working in Charlton Riverside.
The consultation version of the report can be found here and the full consultation details, including the Masterplan and how to respond here.
The research team at We Made ThatandDance Umbrella have been commissioned by the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority toundertake a London-wide mapping and infrastructure study of the dance sector. The work is partof the Mayor’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan to establish what London needs to sustain anddevelop culture to 2030.
The survey aims to gather intelligence on dance premises, support networks, affordability andaccessibility in order to better understand the key opportunities, threats and challenges facingLondon’s dance sector.
The clarifications period has now closed. Answers to all questions received are included in the attached pdf. The Stage 1 deadline is 10th February 2017. Please send your submission to: email@example.com with the subject line ‘East Street Art Commission’.