London Borough of Hackney
Plan Projects, Jan Kattein Architects, Atkins, Ecos Maclean
London Borough of Hackney
Stamford Hill, North London
As part of supporting the client to develop an Area Action Plan for Stamford Hill Plan Projects produced a detailed Public Realm Assessment and Strategy. This looked at the connections between open spaces, the quality of children’s play facilities, and an analysis of the town centre’s commercial character. The final deliverable to the client was a ‘Public Realm Assessment’ highlighting current issues and a ‘Public Realm Strategy’ bringing together overarching recommendations and smaller scale interventions that would progress Stamford Hill’s urban spaces.
Stamford Hill benefits from a huge variety of large green open spaces both to the east and to the west of the neighbourhood, providing local residents with multiple opportunities for sports and recreation. The neighbourhood also has some immense natural resources particularly the Lea Valley Regional Park and wetlands which are situated to its eastern most edge and the West and East Reservoirs situated to the north west.
The role of the public realm assessment was to look at the current performance of these facilities in satisfying community needs; the degree of connectivity that exists between these spaces and provide an analysis of the urban fabric and wider streetscapes of the Stamford Hill area. As well as streets and core residential areas a special focus was given to looking at the quality of public spaces within the town centre and smaller neighbourhood shopping parades.
During the research and design process of the Public Realm Strategy, Plan Projects was particularly mindful to draw on an understanding of the neighbourhood at a community level, especially in relation to providing spaces that promote social interaction. This was achieved through street interviews followed up by a workshop designed to highlight community perceptions and priorities. Using this understanding we were able to identify a number of opportunities or improvements that would build social as well as environmental value.
Plan Projects, working in collaboration with Jan Kattein Architects, produced an in-depth analysis of the urban area of Stamford Hill. This research ranged from auditing the existing housing stock, assessing the typology of the town centre and understanding its commercial character, to reviewing the performance of green and open spaces, and identifying potential opportunity sites suitable for housing development and new open spaces. This cross discipline research method enabled us to identify key values but also core issues, strengths and weaknesses within the neighbourhood.
From this study Plan proceeded to devise a Public Realm Strategy, putting forward solutions to address the underlying problems with public spaces in Stamford Hill and also to suggest potential community uses.
The first phase of the strategy was to establish an overarching framework that looked to resolve some of the more fundamental issues such as connectivity and accessibility within the neighbourhood. Accessibility was explored through a number of ‘deficiency areas’ which highlighted pockets of the neighbourhood in which residents live too far away to reach basic facilities like open spaces and play areas easily.
Having set out recommendations for remediating these issues the Public Realm Strategy described a series of specific interventions; these included new public spaces, street trees, cycling infrastructure and improved crossing points.