Old Kent Road is an opportunity area - but for who? Social infrastructure should transform public spaces within existing council housing estates to improve the quality of life for existing residents in times of regeneration. In an area already facing intensified inequality, levels of deprivation are sure to escalate from the current Coronavirus pandemic. Now, more than ever, social systems centred around welfare and commonality have demonstrated their power and importance, but they must be strengthened. By re-imagining the spaces between our houses, we can nurture the bits between us as people. Built improvements to neighbourhoods can be catalysts in strengthening invisible networks, enhancing resident's opportunities and alleviating inequality. Behind these propositions are a series of systemic actions, offering frameworks to enable them. Reshaping Southwark Council’s existing estate improvement programme would ensure that the process is empowering & accessible to residents whilst maximising the effectiveness of local resources. Existing ambitions of residents and local organisations, and initiatives such as the Southwark Food Action Alliance have led this vision of an unfolding programme and network, using food and well-being as key drivers. Interventions range from green spaces enlivened with growing facilities and gardening groups to high street units for start-up initiatives. High-quality community spaces can provide more than Tenants & Residents Association services with dynamic community kitchens at their core. Culinary training programmes, informal gatherings and celebrations and food distribution are just some of the many activities possible of contributing to the area's evolving ecosystem and enriching resident’s’ quality of life.
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