Urban Renewal of the Woodberry Down Project

Elaboration, 2015
20 Pages
Ytt Quaesitum Research (Author)


Urban Renewal The Woodberry Down Project oodberry Down Project

Professional standpoint states that the social disposition of the succeeding generations can be considerably predisposed, shaped or curbed through sheer creation of place. In itself, urban planning does not confine to the simple, methodical crafting of space, but leans a concise configuration to deliberately influence social equity and ecological conservation; preservation of culture and a positive contribution to the economy. In this sense, the advancement of community rests largely in the formulation of sustainable urban designs; its degree of relevance and effective enforcement (Cooper et al 2000, Designing sustainable cities 2009, Rowley 1994).

For reason of, the revival of deprived localities is often directed through investments made in buildings and infrastructure that in principle, regeneration is rudimentary in the new era of urban policy (Blackman 1995). “Urban regeneration moves beyond the aims, aspirations and achievements of urban renewal, which is seen as a process of essentially physical change, urban redevelopment, with its general mission and less well-defined purpose, and urban revitalization or rehabilitation which whilst suggests the need for action, fails to specify a precise method of approach,” (Tsenkova 2002).

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Map of Woodberry Down. Finsbury Park lies east while The Bridge in LB Haringey is immediately north. London Borough of Hackney continues south and east of the area (Sissons 2009)

This critique seeks a good explanation and evaluation of Urban Regeneration as a relevant instrument to the advancement of the community. Approached using the theory of change, the work is an application of the realistic model otherwise referred as the 1997 Pawson Tilley CMO model. CMO is a diagnostic tool for evaluating how particular approaches to a given circumstance produce specific outcomes. It is to note that realistic evaluation assumes that intervention shall occur. The framework outlines the context to which planning prescription determines a clear relationship between a problem and outcome, and that a measurable change can be identified. CMO is: context (+) mechanism (=) outcome. Context shall situate the problem from which an instrument was prescribed, mechanism is a descriptive of the regeneration intervention and outcome is the measureable change (Pawson and Tilley 1997).


Woodberry Down Estate is a post-war housing estate bordering the northwest of the London Borough of Hackney, which was a landmark project of the 1940 London County Council. The area covers about 24 hectares and mostly residential, built around two small shopping sites: Woodberry Grove and Manor House. Its entirety sweeps through six lower level output areas toward Brownswood and New River. Accessibility is a stronghold of the area with direct access to central London by the Underground, and next to the transport hub at Manor House. Seven Sisters Road A503 divides the estate in half, while Green Lanes A105 seams the DP area. Nearby borders are the East and West Reservoirs, the estate is adjacent to Finsbury Park and Clissold Park (Sissons 2009, Europan brief 2001).

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Woodberry Down Regeneration Landscape Masterplan (Sissons 2009)

Woodberry Down endures extensive disadvantage given limited investments in social housing and physical infrastructure in the recent 25 years, with Hackney identified as the most deprived local authority district across the country (IMD 20041). The District has its economic base in manufacturing, aside an emerging prominence in the arts and media. The vibrant community has a unique character with its diverse ethnic mix, with more than half of the residents in subsidised livings having income levels well below the London average (Sissons 2009, Europan brief 2001).

The local Government has full attention on the regeneration of this built environment, and has put out investment bids. Woodberry Down and Stamford Hill Partnership received bid approval for £25m from the UK Government's Single Regeneration Budget or SRB of £22.5m. Two thirds of the budget is placed into Woodberry Down Estate housing and is expected to kick off a ten-year regeneration and redevelopment programme. The housing estate comprises 558 residential units, of which 398 units are due for demolition. Ashdale and Burtonwood complete 160 units that are to be refurbished considering these are of historical significance and under protection schemes of the English Heritage (Europan brief 2001). The Woodberry Down 1,980 homes form the largest social housing estate in Hackney, having that its principal landowner being the Council, some 67% of these homes are let from the social housing sector.


The Urban Regeneration project was conceived towards the close of the 1990 economic boom. Apart from the major remodelling on the entire complex, Hackney Council decided for a cost saving knock down of the gigantic estate over the expenditure to refurbish units at the Decent Homes standard. These large social housing blocks are home to near on 2,000 family residents (East London Lines 2012). Insofar, the creation of a mixed cultural economic centre is the kingpin strategy of the Woodberry Down urban regeneration plan. In a cultural dimension, the community is comprised of 32% of its full population of fifty eight thousand, White British lineage 17%, Black African 10%, Black Caribbean and Black British 10%. A substantial count of resident minorities is Turkish and Kurdish, and the largest Orthodox Jewish community living nearby. The community is relatively young with about 23% of the population aged 14, and a handful of transient arrivals from Eastern European Accession States. The elderly group comprises 15% of the estate population, mostly longstanding tenants and leaseholders (Sissons 2009).

Regeneration is buckled in the diversification of housing types and tenure, the infusion of commercial and community amenities, and a more efficient overall built density. It is to note that energy efficiency and sustainability issues such as noise reduction are primary concerns, while there are no height or orientation restrictions, or materials prohibition for the new development. Particularly to result in the integration of the East Reservoir, provisions are catered to the enhancement of public space, vehicle parking and traffic flow. Relocation of the southern access road Newnton Close is under review, the same goes for the community centre marking the northwest corner of the site and the maintenance depot at the Woodberry Grove junction (Kouvee 2012, Europan brief 2011, Sissons 2009).

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-The Hackney Council structural evaluation report in 2002 concluded that 31 out of 57 blocks on the estate are beyond repair, and urged these blocks were demolished. Several faults on the built environment were identified: damaged drainage systems, disabled access and lifts were found to be insufficient, weakening of the support structure; water seepage, material use of asbestos; security flaws on access and inadequate heating and cooling systems.
-The Hackney Council shifted from its “Decent Homes Strategy”, and pursued the self-funded regeneration programme, decided as the better option to meet the Decent Homes Standard.
-The existing tenure which comprised chiefly of social housing dampens the economic potential for income generating activity. While the market demand on affordable housing is high, a fairly homogeneous tenure of 67% into social rented spaces, has resulted to economic stagnancy.
-The placement of Seven Sisters Road, which is a six lane main thoroughfare, creates a visible divide. It is too cumbersome to get across the highway to use facilities at the other side. Studies find that this scenario has weakened community cohesion, and can induce racially motivated crime.
-Woodberry Down has a reputation of being a “dangerous place”. Situated nearby a transport node, the Manor House interchange turns out as a hotspot for drug related activity and prostitution. Robbery has been experienced at high rates; and recent occurrences of gang related violence.
-The local population is exposed to a high level of multiple disadvantaged with six zones ranking within the 3%-5% most deprived areas across the country. Health is poor, with 21% of residents registered with limiting long-term illness.
-Many residents have qualifications at primary level and amongst the working age population 35% had no qualifications.
-40% of dependent children belonged to lone parent families.
-Access to public services and shops remain a problem. These include the lack of access to services, such as mental health care and other social infrastructures that circumvent poorer life chances.


Excerpt out of 20 pages


Urban Renewal of the Woodberry Down Project
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
Impact investing, Urban renewal, Woodberry Down, Residual value of land, Community advancement
Quote paper
Ytt Quaesitum Research (Author), 2015, Urban Renewal of the Woodberry Down Project, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/499154


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