"London Works" Competition Win

The nature of work is changing, propelled by technology, automation and the prevalence of remote working. An ability to adapt is essential in this changing economy, shown by a rise in the number of careers individuals have over a lifetime. We are no longer employed based on what we know, but what we can learn to know. The linear relationship between education and profession is moving towards a circular, symbiotic one. We need to learn to keep learning.

11% of Londoners work in industrial land, but this is being lost at three times the rate set out in the London Plan. Propelled by the booming residential development sector and capitalising on the turbulent climate industrial businesses find themselves in, the fight to ensure a viable future for such areas must counter these forces at their root - through innovative policy and resilient economic models.

Our approach uses an understanding of design, policy and commerciality to design for a more sustainable culture of work that integrates economic, social and ecological equity. Nathan’s Way can become a precedent for future schemes by allowing current inhabitants to sit at the forefront of regeneration benefiting both current and future uses.

A three-phased framework enables financially stable, sustainable and truly mixed-use development to occur as businesses enter into a partnership encompassing policy to bind them and planning conditions to protect them. Each stage is defined by the scale of works and funding level required rather than fixed time periods, and each level of development is financially self sufficient.

In the framework’s first stage, businesses group together forming a BID. By pooling small contributions for collective use, communal areas are maintained and businesses are given a collective resilience and identity. Secondly, business’s mandatory contributions to the Business Apprenticeship Levy are combined to fund the building and running of a communal workshop. Finally, selective redevelopment of parts of the site are carried out by the collective’s CLT, a component of the initial framework agreement. This ensures strategic densification, integrating existing industrial uses with training facilities and residential units, with mutually beneficial public realm, tailored to the needs of the users.

At every stage, continued contributions and small resultant profits enable work to continue, whilst apprenticeship levy contributions and academy partner funding sustain the running of educational programmes. Each subsequent phase is entered within the relevant framework and planning policy, with surplus profit reinvested into the site.