Lailak Street Park Update

Construction on the Lailak Street Park is progressing well. Paving is currently being installed and it is exciting to see the patterns coming to life. This is the first project we designed a bespoke paving pattern for 100% of the project site. The intent is to stimulate delight, interest, and imagination. Each area is designed with a specific pattern. In some areas the pattern is intentionally random and complex. Other areas reveal recognisable shapes, intended to stimulate spontaneous invention of new games. In these cases, the regular patterns and shapes could be used to measure distance or boundaries. Other examples are areas of purely dark or light paving that could be drawn on by the kids.

While it is exciting to watch the park coming to life, we can’t wait for the day the kids will arrive!


One-Tree Street

“Walkable City” is an interesting book about urban design. The book promotes the idea that if you make a walkable city, you make a city which is good for people. The chapter, “Why Johnny Can’t Walk”, focusses on the health benefits of walkable cities, and conversely, the health risks of un-walkable places. There’s another book out there devoted entirely to this subject, “Urban Sprawl and Public Health”, written by Dr Richard Jackson in 2004.

Dr Jackson’s inspiration for writing came from observing a woman in her seventies, struggling in ninety-five degree heat (95F / 35C) with heavy shopping bags on the side of a seven lane motorway, with “no sidewalks and two miles between traffic lights”.

Here’s the interesting observation by Dr J., Continue Reading

Two inspiring projects improve slum living conditions

Part of the purpose of this blog is to share information about inspiring work by others. We recently came across a couple of inspiring projects that improved the quality of life for people in poor living conditions. The first project is the Slum Networking in Indore City which achieved remarkable results. What we like about this project most is that it benefited the local community. This project won an Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Slum Networking is a community driven approach which sees slums not as resource draining liabilities, but as opportunities of sustainable change for the city as a whole. The programme involves the building of low-cost service trunks which include gravity-based systems of sewerage and storm drainage, the planting of gardens, and the surfacing of roads. In addition, 120 community halls have been constructed for health, educational, and training activities.

The second project is the Kibera Public Space Project. This project by the  Design Initiative included a range of initiatives to improve the living conditions in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya—the largest slum in Africa and second largest in the world. This project is interesting because of the way the consultants worked very closely with the local community at the grass roots level.

By the way, the Kibera slum is also the location of the Kibera School for Girls, organised by the Shining Hope Foundation.