Regeneration has been a real buzz word over the last few years, although it’s often something that gets spoken about more than actually put into practice. Now and again however, projects and initiatives appear which really epitomise what regeneration is all about and which if replicated elsewhere would be pretty amazing. So, if you feel your area could do with a touch of inspiration when it comes to regeneration, may we introduce to you the Canning Town Caravanserai...
This East London based initiative is creating a community space run by the community itself. The brainchild of Ash Sakula Architects, the Caravanserai is named after the oasis like trading hubs which were situated all along the world famous Silk Road and which supported the flow of commerce, information and people, this is a public space for everyone. The aim is to have an entirely mixed use space - offering everything from enterprise units for startup businesses, art workshops, a community garden and food stalls through to a Children’s City offering children an opportunity for adventurous and exploratory play. Although the initiative only opened in April of this year and the full implementation of plans will probably run through to 2017, there is already clear evidence of the difference it is making and the opportunities it is providing. Some traders have already been able to set up shop, including artist and crafts maker Diana Matoso who sells a range of upcycled accessories and Iman Ogoo who is selling her own range of natural skin care products. Language classes are being held weekly, there is a regular “no car required” car boot sale, a pop up garden event was held as a branch of the Chelsea Flower Show - I could go on....
With the work that has already taken place, it’s fair to say that when fully developed, the Caravanserai will be a real force for change in this area; enabling people to meet, share skills and expertise; facilitating connections between people, providing training opportunities and of course for promoting enterprise and trade. As they say themselves, it is “a place where young people can trial a business, skilled people can teach and where everyone can visit.”
Unlike some other regeneration projects which are devised and developed by consultants, quangos and the like, this space is being driven by the very people who will use it - the local people. For real innovation and for showing us all what real regeneration is all about, Canning Town Caravanserai we doff our hats to you!
Why not find out more about the events, the traders and of course the plans of things yet to come by visiting the site itself.
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