Leicester Waterside was going to be comprehensively redeveloped, but since 2007 there are no real plans for the area due to declining land values. However there seems little reason for this neglect. The site has impressive resources, a varied collection of buildings of all ages, a range of committed local businesses, a position along the main road into town, where River Soar meets the Grand Union Canal. The transformation strategy starts with immediate changes that can bring big differences: creative new signage, pop-up gardens, events and markets using left over spaces. In the longer term, flexible licenses and varied forms of tenure will help generate and maintain a rich cluster of small-scale enterprise and experimentation, together with low carbon living.

Check out this video:

Leicester Waterside Adaptable Neighbourhood from Ash Sakula on Vimeo.

program | Step-by-step sustainable urban proposal for Leicester Waterside

info | 2010 – 2011, Leicester, UK

type | Winning competition entry and realisation for Ash Sakula Architects, London

role | Project leader at initial project phase

responsibilities | Research & analysis, concept design, project planning & on-site communication, video concept & production

client | Loughborough University, Adaptable Futures

read more | Adaptable neighbourhoods

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leicester page 4Participation

The opportunity to investigate the potential of the site arose when Ash Sakula won an ideas competition for Loughborough University’s sustainability think tank “Adaptable Futures”. We started with existing uses and businesses and established a forum on the ground and online. Our first event, held in the café on site, was an immediate success. We found that while some people already had some contact with their neighbours, they all found it interesting to network, and discuss future life on the site without the pressure of comprehensive redevelopment. The process of this initiative is documented and published here.

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