People shape places

18.12.23 3 min read by Iona MacRury

Sir Winston Churchill was famously quoted “we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us”, in his speech to Parliament in 1943 requesting that the House of Commons bombed out in 1941 be rebuilt exactly as before.

He highlighted the important role that places – be it spaces, buildings, towns or cities – play in shaping our communities. However, to have a place that meets the community’s needs and requirements to start with, they need to shape it in the first instance.

After all, it is the relationship between people and the buildings we construct that is key to successful placemaking.

Hoarding at Stroudley Walk dedicated to the promotion of local traders in Bromley-by-Bow

We understand and champion the importance of early-stage engagement, right through to construction and completion of a project. At Stroudley Walk in Bromley-by-Bow, there has been no exception.

Working in partnership with Poplar HARCA, we’re delivering 270 homes to Bromley-by-Bow as part of a new, vibrant neighbourhood at Stroudley Walk.

It is a place that has been designed with the community. Through regular conversations with residents, businesses and local people, working with Poplar HARCA, we’ve created a plan for Stroudley Walk which meets its housing, commercial, environmental and social needs.

Over 500 local people gave feedback to influence the final proposals which have been designed by RMA Architects.

Sand pit installation at Children's House Nursery School

As part of this, the masterplan for Stroudley focusses on creating a safe and thriving, vibrant neighbourhood, and includes a new pocket park and part-pedestrianised street, with ground floor spaces for the wider community to enjoy.

Local businesses have been championed throughout the project. The existing shops at Stroudley Walk will stay open throughout the construction, as we’ve worked with them to understand their concerns about the construction period, with images of each local business trader have been emblazoned on the site’s hoardings, putting them at the heart of what the project stands for.

Most recently, working with Poplar HARCA and contractor McAleer & Rushe, we installed a much needed sandpit at Children’s House Nursery School, as the project continues to deliver social value to where it is most needed in the community.

Senior Development Manager, Isabelle Asante and Bow Arts Trust presenting at St Agnes Primary School

We’ve also worked closely with local charity, Bow Arts, to deliver a workshop for a local school on empowerment, paying homage to the area’s links to the Suffragettes. The ideas from this workshop are currently being displayed on parts of the hoardings at site and will be incorporated into a commissioned artwork for Stroudley Walk’s public space.

We keep the community up to date with regular updates and invite local residents for engagement evenings.

It is this engagement – and the valuable insight that comes from it – that will help in shaping Stroudley Walk to become the inclusive, sustainable, vibrant, welcoming neighbourhood it intends. Which, as Churchill said, will then shape us.

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