OPEN, Shoreditch

24 November 2008

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In the final event of 2008, Building Futures took the game to the East End for a community based event that looked at the future of Shoreditch and its border with the City of London. Working with local people and members of OPEN (Organisation for Promotion of Environmental Needs Limited) the game gave participants the opportunity to build an alternative vision for this contested area of the capital.

Shoreditch in the past 10 years has established itself as London’s creative hub- characterised by a mix of studios, galleries, independant shops, bars and restaurants. The vibrant scene and diverse evening economy has made it a rival to the west end with an increasing number of incoming groups choosing the area to live, socialise and do business. Its proximity to the Square Mile also means it is well placed for expansion and there now exists numerous development plans, centred on the Bishopsgate Goodyard site, that will introduce a new scale of building and nature of business to the area.

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The event with OPEN addressed the numerous challenges facing Shoreditch and its future. It set out to acheive agreement as to a community based plan for the area that seeks to protect local character, advance the needs of local business and residential communities, promote diversity and a sustainable social and natural environment and go some way to acheiving a ‘joined-up’ masterplan for Shoreditch.

Amanda Reynolds, local architect/urban designer and member of the OPEN committee
The game event with RIBA Building Futures has really helped us crystalise how it’s possible to develop the community’s vision for the area. While the Goodsyards site is central to our concerns, the focus of the day was looking at issues around young people, housing, green space, and encouraging families and local businesses to stay in the area. We see these goals as complementary to more commercially minded schemes on the table, and see the site as an opportunity to deliver amenities for the area alongside commercial and residential development. Using a framework and process such as the RIBA game can be a successful way to develop an overall strategy that considers all stakeholders.

The event is part one of wider consultation that the group will be taking forward independantly working with community and commercial partners.

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