In 2019 a team of local young people designed and built a prominent public space at Flanders Way, Hackney. The project, known as Build Up Hackney, aimed to give young people a genuine say over how their local area is changing.
Located on a formally unloved and litter-covered thoroughfare, Flanders Way public space is now a well-used community space featuring a circular seating area with integrated swings, new lighting, brightly coloured bins and an exciting playful border with integrated cast iron artwork.
The scheme was designed by 26 young people through a series of workshops involving local designers and architects, which culminated with presentations of their ideas to members of Hackney Council and the local community. The young people then spent two months over summer building the scheme.
Build Up Hackney was run in collaboration with youth organisation Hackney Quest, and two local residents were employed throughout as part of Build Up’s paid placement programme. Over 100 volunteers contributed to the project.
“I have grown up in Hackney all my life and seen all of the change it’s gone through – for the first time I was able to actively take part in it”. Shenique Bass, aged 22
The project was set up in response to Hackney Quest’s 2018 report Hackney Wick, Through Young Eyes, that found a large number of local young people do not feel that they are informed about, involved in, or benefiting from the way their area is changing. Build Up aimed to address this problem by giving young people power over an important space in their community.
Build Up Hackney came about after 300 local people donated to a crowdfund campaign and won the support of The Mayor of London. Materials and equipment were generously supplied by the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants, Lawsons Timber, Building & Fencing Supplies, Makita Power Tools, C&S Builders Merchants, Real Deals for You, Engie and Span Group. The consistent support of Wick Award, the Mayor of Hackney and the London Borough of Hackney made the project possible.