Planning policy traditionally takes an area-based approach. In Hackney the social-, economic- and cultural life are focussed along two key corridors that tie the neighbourhoods together giving coherence and identity to the borough as a whole.
Hackney Council’s Key Corridors Housing Design and Density Study seeks to forward the diversification of uses along the corridors to create better and greener public spaces, improve the setting of heritage and community assets and to unlock sites for much needed affordable homes.
Three town centres form important nodes along the corridors, Dalston, Homerton and Stamford Hill. Each of them has a unique character. Place-making, transport priorities and re-enforcing local character including maintaining active ground floor uses in town centres have been considered alongside the need to maximise housing yield.
To ensure that individuality is preserved, we took a granular approach. First, we defined a series of design objectives applicable to the corridor as a whole. Then we studied the local context of a number of opportunity sites. Finally we prepared a catalogue of design strategies for the most important sites, the aim being to
- set out an ambitious approach to housing delivery; including density/massing/height recommendations
- explore streetscape proposals and recommendations of where/how to enhance existing buildings
- take a reflective and conscientious approach to culture, community and physical and historic context
- provide deliverable and future-proof strategies that are flexible and can accommodate change
- embrace the concept of place specific planning
High streets are highly complex environments which are subject to competing demands. This is why we took an integrated approach, always considering both, buildings and public spaces as well as the need to accommodate strategic movement and also the local life of the street. To allow multiple voices to shape the proposals, we worked across Council departments and led a team with diverse skills, including East, Hawkins Brown and PJA.
Our work takes the form of an evidence base for a series of area action plans that allow the Council to take a pro-active approach in managing growth, ensuring that a healthy balance is struck between the needs of the borough’s diverse communities and current and future generations.