| Author: James Furzer
| Spatial Design Architects
| Project Report:
Space is at its most precious in London, epitomised recently by the sale of a single parking space to the value of nearly £500,000. The price to park somewhat overshadows, by double, the price of an average house in the UK. So with space at a minimum, and massively overvalued, how do we deal with the cities ever increasing demand to house individuals, or requirement to expand and grow? What innovative solutions can be seen emerging to answer and cope with the current space epidemic? Indeed, what spaces can be used, and what spaces are unused? What is an unused space? Who would benefit from using these ‘unused’ spaces?
Unused spaces are a result of a previous space that was generally purposely designed and built. They appear to have been left unused with no future purpose of their existence. Due to their lack of use and ownership, unused spaces often look neglected in appearance. There are no activities that take place within these spaces, therefore they do not command the same respect as that of a planned and used space such as a dwelling. The activities that often take place within the unused spaces can be categorized as illegal, drug taking, prostitution, graffiti etc. Several attempts have been undertaken to give life to these unused spaces, to give them a purpose. With the lack of space within cities, this unused space should be capitalized.
Generally unused spaces, do not warrant attention. There is no telling who will pass by, how long they will stay, or what they will do. Alleyways often have a sense of fear, they are not often lit and crime can be easily carried out. What is the solution to preventing such crimes and creating a better living environment for the community? A suggestion would be to build in the empty space. The ambition to house the homeless of the city continuously fails. It is the homeless individuals that currently use the voids of the city more successfully than most. Is it possible to build housing or shelters for the homeless within the voids of the city? There are many examples of what can be achieved by designing within the boundaries of unused space. These vary from temporary installations, emergency shelters and permanent dwellings.