Studio Urban Ecologies
Studio lead: Wai Piu Wong
The Rewild movement has been gaining traction in recent years following the rapid decline in flora, fauna and insects, and cities are becoming increasingly attractive territories for animals and plants. Through regenerative design practices we will explore the possibility of human and non-human co-inhabitation in urban environments.
Our area of study will focus on an area along the banks of the River Thames. Founded by Henry VIII, old Deptford Royal Dockyards is a palimpsest of how London has developed to serve its inhabitants. Today, the site includes parts of Evelyn Ward as well as two neighbouring sites important to our research, The Pepys Estate and Convoys Wharf.
Evelyn Ward is named in recognition of resident John Evelyn author of ‘Sylva, A Discourse of Forest Trees,’ at his home and gardens at nearby Sayes Court, and where the word ‘sustainability’ was first coined in 1664.
The Pepys Estate, constructed for ‘the peaceful enjoyment and well-being of Londoners,’ sits on the former Naval victualling yard. Completed in 1973, it combined some of the most advanced and innovative design principles of the day. The GLC believed ‘It would be, from the outset, a community – a cradle to grave exemplar of welfare state ideals.’ We will engage with the residents of the Pepys Estate to see if these early ideals still hold true.
Convoys Wharf is a 16.6ha brownfield which controversially received planning permission in 2014 to create a £1billion high-rise development. Local campaign groups have organised themselves to protest the development, believing the masterplan does not serve the needs of local residents nor adequately address the housing crisis.
Working with communities on the edges of Convoys Wharf we will take a critical look at the developers’ masterplan and make speculative proposals for the site and at the edges to find ways to increase biodiversity and develop tools for creating symbiotic relationships between natural and human-built systems.