The Power of Norwood High Street
Type: Digital month-long consultation
Client: London Festival of Architecture
Status: June 2020
Pilot project: A Co-working space
Collaboration: Station to Station, the West Norwood & Tulse Hill Business Improvement District
Publication: Norwood High Street for All (coming soon…)
Through landscape tactics, how can we adapt a busy carriageway into a place where local people want to walk; where cars drive slowly; where bicycles are championed; and where the pavement is activated? By focusing on these three areas we can test the resilience of the high street by re-imagining how its buildings can change use. What is a public square today? Is it a playground? Is it where young people hang out? Is it a community venue? Is it for relaxation or productivity? Is it an experience?
What did we do:
We invited Ed Wall to talk to us about ‘High Streets, Lowlands’. Ed is the leader of Academic Leader Landscape at the University of Greenwich and Visiting Professor at Politecnico di Milano (DiAP) but more importantly, he is an inspiring voice that will always approach landscape architecture from the most unexpected angle.
1. Landscape is not confined to outdoor spaces. It is about recognising the relationships between people and the world around them
2. High streets can be understood as landscapes; as a group of socio-economic spatial things
3. High streets don’t have to be thought of as landscapes. They are places where a different people can do different things in a fully accessible way.
4. Changing perceptions doesn’t require major investment. Low-budget landscape projects can have a long impact: for example, what happens if you close Norwood High street on. Saturday and hold a street party?
5. The creative occupation of space is the most effective way to change the way we perceive landscape
Workshop for Secondary School Children
What did we do:
We led a workshop on SketchUp to students from local Elmgreen School to enable them to work on 3D modelling through a free and easy to use the software. They learnt basic model-making and explored ‘blue-sky-thinking’ ideas of what a public space should or could be. Then we asked them to reimagine the Knight Hills Public Square and design their ideal public space.