Creative Voucher Scheme
Shared Assets Ltd and Kingston University London
Kate Swade, Shared Assets Ltd
Pat Brown, Kingston University London
Limehouse Cut pilot project: linking place and creativity
Limehouse Cut, a canal in Tower Hamlets, links two areas of regeneration, the Olympic Park to the North and Limehouse to the South. It has the potential to be a substantial local asset, however, despite potential the Cut remains an underused and intimidating place, situated in London’s poorest borough, it is to be got through rather than enjoyed. Simultaneously rising rents in other areas of London mean creative business are looking for new spaces. With these factors in mind the collaboration between Kingston University’s Landscape Interface Studio and community focused not-for-profit Shared Assets Limited looked to reimagine the Cut to benefit local people.
Research was split into two intertwined strands: people and place. Kingston University invested time uncovering the area through desktop research and mapping exercises. Their research covered: old maps, demographic information, listed buildings, current planning applications, pedestrian access to the canal, bridges and open spaces, noise mapping and featuring in literature or film. Open plots of land were assessed for potential future uses.
Shared Assets approached local people, businesses, community groups and organisations, listening to their concerns, hopes and ideas. Additionally they organised The Limehouse Cut Floating Workshop, a special engagement event aboard the narrowboat Lapwing, was hosted on October 25th 2013. Three 50 minute trips along the canal were organised in order to gather stories and local knowledge with a maximum of 24 people taking part.
The results of these activities have been brought together in a 142 page publication which details the history of the Cut, the data collected during the project, stakeholders, potential redevelopment ideas, and logistical practicalities.
Future steps for the project include the development of a local steering group to help organise a ‘festival o ideas’ that would establish links between creative groups and community. Importantly the project has provided the entry point for meetings with the Canal and River Trust and Poplar HARCA (a local housing association).
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