Forgotten spaces – let’s get creative

Our Healthy Spaces project creates a link between commercial landlords who have empty spaces like retail units , offices and warehouses and invites like minded charitable organisations to collaborate and occupy these spaces.  This means we can run our Books for Free centres in the spaces and also accommodate grass roots causes in office spaces giving them a presence within the community,  and helps to regenerate degrading high streets and utilise empty buildings. We believe we should all be more creative with our spaces.

This blog post by James Roche is about Hire Space, a company who utilise spaces by helping people find great local spaces and venues for events.

Space Man by James Roche

People ask me why I left sunny Australia for London and I always respond, straight faced: ‘so I would never have to mow a lawn again’. Having never shared my father’s passion for gardening, I can say without doubt that one of the best parts of living in the City of London is not having to fret over lawn maintenance or pesky weeds. At the same, I still have access to the many glorious parks and gardens that dot my community. On the downside, my living space has decreased substantially. At a time when the space around us seems to be dwindling, shouldn’t this be the biggest concern of all?

Richmond Park - Image by Steve Morgan

Richmond Park – Image by Steve Morgan

According to The Independent, one-bed flats in London have shrunk by 13% since 2o00. But how much space do we really need? This question is perhaps even more relevant when considering the issue of hiring space. I am sure many readers have been, or known someone who has been involved in hiring out a venue that has simply been too large for the event they had in mind. The issue of waste has plagued society for generations but do we ever truly consider the detrimental impact we have on our carbon footprint through the under use, misuse or neglect of our spaces? It is not a lack of space that is the real issue here, but the way we  use space.

Battersea Arts Centre Grand Hall - Image from Hire Space

Battersea Arts Centre Grand Hall – Image from Hire Space

Hire Space is one company looking to redress the issues of ”space” and ”wastage”. Its aim of connecting communities with their local spaces benefits urban areas in a number of ways:

– Many of its venues are ”multi-use” spaces, reducing excess consumption and saving space whilst still benefiting local businesses through the money generated from hiring out their venue.

– Schools and community halls are able to financially benefit from sharing their facilities with clients, providing extra funding for youth learning programs and extra-curricular activities.

– Through venue re-use, Hire Space is promoting more efficient and responsible use of space, reducing its carbon footprint.

It all makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? It is up to us to shift our consumption patterns to reduce the negative impact on our shared environment. Small changes can make a big difference. Why not use a pub for a lunchtime business meeting? A community hall for a conference? A church as a creche on weekdays? The possibilities are endless.

The Garden Room at Grace Bar - Image by Hire Space.

The Garden Room at Grace Bar – Image by Hire Space.

Companies such as Hire Space aren’t alone in their efforts. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has once again teamed up with the Mayor of London, the Royal Town Planning Institute, as well as Partners Ordnance Survey and developer Qarari Diar, to launch a new Forgotten Spaces ideas competition for 2013 (find out more and enter here).

According to Architecturethe competition seeks our redundant spaces across Greater London and invites innovative design proposals for re-use and regeneration… the competition asks: How would you bring the area under a flyover to life? How could a disused car park be made beautiful? What potential lies in neglected parks, spaces under railways or on our rooftops?”.  Therese are all vital questions and we should be relieved and inspired that an attempt is being made to answer them.

Shifting from a three bedrooms house is a suburban Sydney to a one-bed flat in central London has certainly posed its fair share of challenges and it seems I can no longer get away with simply hiding my rubbish under the rug (I don’t actually have a rug – or a TV for that matter. Who on earth is Joey Essex?!). What I have discovered is that when you occupy a smaller space, attention to detail is paramount. My partner and I utilise our space in the best way we can and do you know what? It works! If only we could all adopt such an attitude to the spaces around us. Do big cities have too little space? We shouldn’t even consider answering unless we have worked out how best to use the spaces we have already.

Written by James Roche @JamesRoche1985– freelance writer currently serving an internship at Hire Space @hirespace.

Find out more about Hire Space Check out the Hire Space blog – The London Review!

If you have extra space in your home you would like to rent out or need storage space check out @Storemates

Advertisements

About Healthy Planet

Everyone can make a difference locally & globally to the health of the planet and its people. Be part of it! U.K charity 1122475

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s