(Un)Urban: Day 5 – “Hackney Wick and The Olympic Park”

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We arrived at Stour Space, Fish Island and were given a contextual introduction to the surrounding area by IGP research associate Konrad Miciukiewicz. Konrad spoke of the Olympic park’s unique position as a centre for post-Olympic regeneration for Stratford and the 4 (6) growth boroughs. It became apparent that with Land controlled by the monarch and properties such as the East Village owned by “Qatari Diar” and other developers, the task of helping create a new community would be a challenge for all involved in the work of the LLDC. Currently less than half of the residents in the East Village originate from London postcodes and only half of that contingent lived in East London before moving there. At this stage, it is perhaps too early to judge whether the social legacy of the Olympic park will be one to celebrate as there is much more development that is still underway.

 

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The day continued with a walk around Hackney Wick and then, through the grounds of the Olympic Park. Hackney Wick lies in the far east of the Borough of Hackney and in its post-industrial era has recently become a hub for artists who have taken advantage of the space left over after years of economic decline. There were, however, hints at the existing divisions between working class East-Londoners and the new artistic community. There were a number of these signs such as graffiti stating “Hipsters Out” although it’s possible that the so-called hipsters  are the ones holding the spray-cans. None-the less it was clear that area was becoming more vibrant and diverse, living up to its reputation.

 

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Finally, we visited the complex that was to be the focus of our group challenge. R-Urban Wick is situated at the foot of a sea of semi-high-rise developments which at first glance looked almost out of place in its rapidly developing surroundings; after being shown around the garden by the R-Urban team they informed us about participation in the community garden and how the project was being built around the combination of individual stories and personalities to create a centre inspiring community cohesion between different groups of peoples.

 

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