Emily Morgan (She/ Her)
Creating A Circular Community
This urban building project is based in Thornwood, a neighbourhood in the west of Glasgow. It severely lacks inclusive community spaces and amenities, and despite an abundance of green space, this is predominantly privatised and/or under-utilised. Both issues can be resolved by architecturally enforcing the practice of commoning, which will in turn create a more circular, and therefore sustainable, community.
My urban building site reclaims unused, inaccessible green space, giving this public realm back to the community through the growing gardens. The dramatic topography of the site provides opportunities to connect with the community through a variety of public realm treatments and thresholds at multiple levels, reinforcing the building as accessible and welcoming. The structure also emphasises that this is a subversion of the civic building typology, focusing on using more natural and inviting materials. Timber elements are exposed differently throughout, creating spaces which feel distinct but united in their openness.
The building will provide inclusive and isolation-reducing facilities, to combat the impacts of both gentrification and a majority of single-person households, such as a community café and kitchen, as well as independent businesses. These will aid in the creation of a circular community by aligning with the concept of sharing and re-distributing resources, with a focus on producing and using local products, facilitated by varied teaching and workshop spaces. Finally, the building is intended to become a physical, and visible, home for the community council. Currently an intangible and therefore inaccessible entity, by locating it permanently in the neighbourhood it will become a greater source of community creation and organisation.
Housing for families is an opportunity to reinvigorate local communities, by diversifying the residential population and encouraging more people to establish long term roots in the area. The resulting intergenerational population necessitates the creation of a network of varied amenities and community facilities which meet the needs of each demographic, embedding diversity and inclusivity into the neighbourhood. Mixed use developments providing ground floor commercial and communal spaces are therefore crucial, in particular when they are carefully inserted into the existing urban fabric, and are well connected to existing or potential public green space.
In Thornwood, reintroducing families into an area dominated by 1.85 person households is critical as a means of overcoming the lacking amenities and sense of community. It is essential that the housing follows a flexible, social model, ensuring that the families moving here can put down long term roots in homes which will allow them to grow and change over time. This is in contrast to existing social housing, with families forced to relocate when they require more bedrooms; here, they would instead be able to negotiate and rent an additional room, or convert existing ‘flexible space’ within their apartments. This is a key aspect of ensuring liveability through the architectural design; moving beyond the constraints of space standards to provide spacious, separate kitchen and living rooms, alongside ‘flexible’ rooms separated typically by a sliding partition which can function as whatever is most needed by each family at any time.