What Is A “Socially Focused Mixed-Use Scheme?” Does It Have Legs?

a google street view image of an old yellow building and a baby blue education centre add-on
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1 Morland Gardens, London Borough of Brent, UK. Out with the old Adult Education Centre. The new will be a 'socially focused mixed-use scheme' including 65 units of social housing.

What is socially focused mix-use housing?

Let’s look briefly at the opposite, which often characterizes today’s social housing:

  • towers, which provide little more than basic shelter.
  • homes situated in “food deserts” — neighbourhoods without greengrocers or supermarkets. Healthy food options are often only available via a long hike or expensive transit ride.1
  • social space for meetings, support services or community activities? Inadequate to none.

Let’s further consider two up-and-coming “missings in action,” thanks to COVID-19:

  • Broadband internet access — an essential for basic education. Sometimes available to a fortunate few as part of some internet business promotion scheme or another. Needed, however, by all students, given the new at-home focus of at least some education in a pandemic world.2
  • Home work space: the world is facing a promise, possibly real, possibly illusion, of working from home, with employees providing their own workspace. How does that fit in today’s rapidly shrinking, often overcrowded, truly affordable home?3

With all these things missing in most social housing, consider a new “socially focused mixed-use” project that integrates some, if not all, of these features.

Some might argue that left to their own devices, communities should grow to provide these amenities. But when social housing is an important part of a community, it seems that these important supports remain chronically missing.

Read more about a socially focused mixed-use housing project with plans to integrate some of the amenities described above in ArchDaily: Curl la Tourelle Head Designs 100% Social Housing Scheme in the London Borough of Brent

Footnotes

  1. Try: Will New Large Social Housing Projects Become ‘Food Deserts’?
  2. For more on this issue, see: Internet Provider Grabs Headlines Helping Students To Get On Line
  3. Try: The Selective Seduction Of Adult Homework: For Whom The Siren Doesn’t Call