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:
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:
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.
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Thank you to all contributors who made pledges online and to the many people and organisations who have offered their time and space pro bono! We have exceeded the funding target and raised a total of £104,257. This figure inlcudes the 1676 hours that have been pledged pro bono by local people and organisations including: Southwark Council, Professor of Cass Cities and owner of tray making company Kaymet Mark Brearley, photographer Alexander Christie, artist Daniel Gatenio, photographer Andrew C Manley, Emeritus Professor of Urban Design at Westminster University Marion Roberts, management consultant and OKR resident of 40 years Janine Rowe, director of architecture practice Ulrike Steven, journalist and researcher Jessica Cargill Thompson, Danny Tompkins of Poplar Harka, community dveloper Donna Turnbull, business association Vital OKR. Thank you also for the pro bono offers from specialist consultants not based locally inlcuding Joost Beunderman of Architecture 00 who will be a critical friend supporting workshops, graphic designer Adam Cheltsov, former Cass Cities students Hollie Deverell and Joseph Williams who will continue to support the production of drawings. Urban Room Old Kent Road will start in January 2019. We will be in touch with more information in the next year. Until then we wish you all a very good winter break!