A Smart Solution to the UK’s Decaying Estates?
Some of England’s social housing estates are in a terrible state, with the design providing the perfect environment for drug dealers and other criminals. Some of the worst estates, built to provide much-needed social housing after the Second World War, are depressing concrete jungles.
So it’s no wonder that David Cameron has decided to tackle the problem of housing estates. He says that the worst estates with their high-rise towers and dark alleyways have been neglected for decades, which has led to crime hotspots, gangs and ghettos. The communities are cut off from the mainstream and segregated from society. So it’s no wonder these sink estates provide a breeding ground for anti-social and criminal behaviour.
David Cameron has announced he is working with 100 estates in Britain with the aim of redeveloping them.
He has set up a £140 million fund to either knock down estates or make changes to improve the layout and make them safer places for the families who live there. The regeneration plans provide a challenge for designers and architects to turn concrete sink estates into welcoming places to live.
Challenging Time for Architects
Work has already started on some estates, with Mae Architects transforming the Hillington Square estate in Norfolk.
The architects worked with the government’s Behavioural Insights Team to develop a masterplan to find architectural features would improve the residents’ quality of life.
Based on this, they decided to knock down the elevated walkways which linked the blocks. They built separate staircases and lifts for each block so residents have direct access to their own block of flats to improve security. They also removed some garages which dominated the front of the estate and created an unfriendly environment for people walking by. The interiors, such as the bathrooms and kitchens, have also been modernised with balconies being added.
Giving Sink Estates a Modern Look
This regeneration work enables residents to stay in their communities. It’s better than demolition, which would create an eyesore until new homes are built.
Using modern materials such as bespoke tensile fabric structures for interior or exterior use, like those designed by http://fabricarchitecture.com/, can provide innovative solutions compared to more conventional structures.
The regeneration of sink estates which are a problem for a society could be seen as an ideal opportunity to transform them into desirable homes.