The Commons

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The COMMONS is a proposal to provide low rent homes and communities for young people within existing neighbourhoods.  It identifies publicly owned redundant and blighted land on existing Council owned housing estates.  A Community Land Trust (CLT) run and owned by residents of the estate will identify the land and define the development proposal.  Modular fast track construction will erect small scale Hives, housing enterprise serving the community at ground  floor, and  1- 2  bed residential units up to six stories above. The rental income from the development will fund the capital loan and interest.

Housing for young people will not be ghettoized, rather integrated with other and diverse housing provision on existing estates.

The Land.  City within a city

Hackney has just under 300 council owned housing estates housing approximately a third of the borough residents, 80,000 individuals.   

Young people (under 29) account for almost 50% of the population of Hackney but accessibility to reasonably priced housing is increasingly remote. 

Council owned Housing estates are in public ownership.  Throughout London many council estates are being redeveloped through PPI models, effectively removing the land and buildings from public ownership and losing the opportunity of community value and involvement.   With the privatisation of council and now housing association tenancies community interest and neighbourhood benefits will be lost forever. 

The Land

Most of the Hackney Housing estates developed in the mid twentieth Century have areas of land identified and used for car parking.  Many of these areas are used for storage or rented out at commercial rates by local agents. 

The sizes of the floor plates will be dictated by modular of site construction and delivery.

The benefits of building off-site are well-documented - improved speed, sustainability, cost control, quality, safety and efficiency.


To exemplify the COMMONS development we have chosen The Suffolk Housing estate in London Fields, South Hackney as a typical estate with garage parking that has become antisocial.  Blighted areas like this are common in estates in Hackney and throughout post war Local Authority development in London.