28 Mar 2011


After another day attempting to gain access to the Millenium Mills site for my studio project (another failed attempt) I decided to see what else was in the local area. I came across a few interesting places, including a community run allotment, Newham City Farm & Beckton District Park

On the north side of the Royal Victoria Dock yet another large office or hotel complex is quickly being erected. The curving shape of the building (I can assume to mimic the surrounding water) is becoming a bit of a cliche, you see it now with a large amount of new builds near to water. The whole area is under constant redevelopment, which will continue for several years, it is not surprising most of it is very corporate due to its proximity to London City Airport & Canary Wharf. Hopefully once the buildings are up then someone will do something about the landscape, which at the moment is very dull & uninspiring.

On the way to Beckton District Park, I stumbled upon this small community allotment. The area was enclosed by a steel fence & locked gate, but there were a couple of men in there who let me in. Originally a bare plot of land, one of the locals took it upon themselves to turn the wasted land into an allotment available for people in the local area.

Dotted around the allotment were these old mannequins, which added a very individual, perhaps slightly spooky element. I did not ask, but assumed these were partly decorative & partly as a deterent to birds & other animals.

Home-made bird deterents made out of household waste items such as tins, plastic bottles, transformed into shapes that allows wind to blow through them & cause movement.

Newham City Farm is one of London's longest running city farms, opening in 1977. The farm offers educational & leisure activities for the whole community, & visitors to the area. Over the years the farm has expanded, gaining many species of animals, including a shire horse, goats, pigs, cows, ducks & many more. Another expansion was the addition of a Visitors Centre; an existing park building that was no longer used has now been converted into the centre which provides classroom facilities & a display room. The farm continues to grow, with developments of new paddocks taking place when I visited.

An interesting steel bull is in the middle of the central paddock

This City Farm is the best I have visited. The whole concept of city farms is a reasonably new one to me, having only visited them this year, however I think they are a great way for children & adults to enjoy aspects of nature & wildlife that typically they cannot in the city environment. All of the ones I have visited, including; Vauxhall, Spitalfields, Newham & Hackney, have all been busy even during the week, showing that they are a very utilised & enjoyed feature within their areas, attracting more than just nearby residents.

This photo (above) shows the lake in Beckton District Park; the third year studio project site of another landscape architect on my course.

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