Action OKR is a call to everyone with an interest in a good future for London's Old Kent Road. We propose Urban Room Old Kent Road – a dedicated space where residents, businesses, researchers, planners, the council, developers and others can come together to debate and plan the future of our corner of the city. A space currently missing from the Old Kent Road.
The area of London where we live and work will be changed dramatically over the next decade: 25,000 new homes and the Bakerloo Line extension are proposed within what the GLA has designated an 'Opportunity Area'. That’s a lot! If this is to be a genuine opportunity for the local community as well as developers, then everyone needs to be involved.
Urban Room OKR makes space for local people to engage with the plan-making process, and for developers and planners to hear the view from the street.
What we'll deliver:
- Transform a commercial unit on the Old Kent Road into an accessible hub for local planning
- Build large-scale models of the Old Kent Road to help people visualise the area as it is, and as it could be
- Create a program of imaginative events and activities that engage local stakeholders and the wider public with planning
- Prepare an audit of the area's existing uses and a catalogue of local opportunities
- Organise planning workshops, debates and exhibitions about the past, present and future of the area
- Provide a space for consultations that brings together all parties with a stake in the area's future
- Create a hub for clear information on the area's numerous planning applications for non-professionals
- Unite local organisations around shared objectives
Why it's a great idea:
The Old Kent Road is one of the most diverse and one of the most deprived areas of London. It is currently facing radical change yet too few local residents and businesses know what's planned or how to participate in the planning process. For good growth to happen, local voices need to be heard and the local economy needs to be nurtured. The proposed Urban Room Old Kent Road will provide a space where everyone can come together to plan the future of our city. Such a space is currently missing from the Old Kent Road.
At the moment, the extensive redevelopment plans for the Old Kent Road threaten to displace many of the people, spaces and activities that currently characterise the area. The industrial sheds and small independent businesses employ around 10,000 people and provide the basis of a strong local economy that is under threat. We want to explore how housing, industrial use and public realm can be combined within mixed-use developments that benefit everyone.
Steps to get it done:
- Secure commercial unit on Old Kent Road
- Commence weekly programme of exhibitions, debates and workshops
- Develop community-led regeneration plan and catalogue of projects for future investment
- Establish Urban Room OKR as a permanent hub for planning and community engagement
The Urban Room will support the future development of the neighbourhood in a productive way, combining London's need for more housing with improvements for existing residents and businesses. It will also champion all aspects of the road's unique character.
A locally led initiative, Urban Room OKR builds on the momentum created by a series of popular events and workshops held over the past three years. These have been delivered collaboratively by community group Peckham Weeklies and business association Vital OKR with support from Cass Cities, and have been well attended. We have taken people on guided walks and behind the usually closed doors of local industries; organised 1:1 hands-on workshops with local makers; made large area models; produced a photo 'zine showcasing local industry; and discussed ideas for what could be. With a permanent space in the form of the Urban Room, Action OKR will be able to continue and expand this program to allow more people to get actively involved.