Whilst visiting the site last Monday I spoke to a few people from both centenary works and nursery works to try and define if there was a clear sense of community or any relationships across sights. Disturbingly there wasn’t anything other than polite hello’s, to an extent I expected this but not to the point in which people have no relation between neighbouring units. A careers manager visiting a few students at nursery works put a good point forward during our conversation by pointing out the fact that there’s no café or communal area on the sight “there isn’t even a burger van” she noted. I believe that without place for social or communal interaction there isn’t likely to be any on this site as work takes precedence and when that’s done there’s nothing and for the people visiting the site for the dance studio etc. they stick to their own units.
Talking to an employee at the climbing works I found out that they have nothing to do with anyone at the centenary work, even at these works where a courtyard forces people to look on one another there is nothing. This critical lack of agency between the businesses in the Norton hammer area makes them all vulnerable if development comes along, not to mention the missed opportunities they could have by working together or even just getting to know one another more.
I believe by developing communal spaces between the sites such as a café or community hub, then the agency will come in time. A space which shows what the site has to offer via its people and businesses but also accommodates for change and acts as a melting pot of ideas and a place to meet. The map shown below shows the river (an ever recurring theme in my work) and the overgrown green spaces that dot its length on site, these areas would be perfect for a small café or community area, something small and compact but vital. My previous idea of the river walkways could easily play into this and connect these spaces with the works.