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Civic Design Exchange: co-designing a Community Plan to oppose social housing demolition

Authors: Pablo Sendra*, University College London
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography, Higher Education
Keywords: activism, social housing, community-led, community plan, knowledge exchange
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


London is facing the demolition and redevelopment of many of its social housing estates. This is having a strong impact on the population that currently live in there, who do not want their home demolished and be moved away from their social networks.

Communities and activist groups are making a strong opposition to social housing demolition and its associated process of social cleansing. For contesting the demolition, many of these groups have come out with Community Plans that show an alternative vision put together by the community, which generally include refurbishment of existing homes, construction of new homes and improvements on the community infrastructure.

I have collaborated with these communities both through my research and my teaching. I have published (April 2020) the book "Community-Led Regeneration: A Toolkit for Residents and Planners", which looks at tools that communities are using to contest demolition, and I have worked in collaboration with residents contesting demolition during a summer school that I teach at University College London.

After this previous research and collaboration, I was successful in getting funding from Research England to work in collaboration with residents in South Kilburn Estate in North London, who are facing the demolition of their homes. The aim of this 'knowledge exchange' project is to apply the knowledge generated in my research and my teaching to co-design a ‘Community Plan’ with residents from two tower blocks in South Kilburn Estate. This will include urban design proposals, a feasibility study and a proposal for a community-led management.

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