Turner Works Peckham Levels

Peckham levels is a place that supports the ambitious. It is a community of artists, makers and entrepreneurs. This project was announced in 2015 and opened in 2017. Peckham levels is a brilliant example of how space can be reused rather than simply destroying it and building something in its place. The multi-story platform went from 7 levels that was unused to 50 studios, workshops, specialist studios, food and drink related venues, exhibition and market spaces and more. There are many areas that are available to the public; for example, “free event space, children’s play area, music venue, gallery, bars, restaurants, café, yoga studios and even a hair salon”. This renovation supports “employment and the arts” and acts as a “social space”. Previously, it was prone to anti-social activity.

Unfortunately, when I visited Peckham, all the doors were closed and locked. I am unsure whether the timings have changed due to the pandemic or if I simply did not look hard enough. However; even the exterior of the building shows artistic expression.

That’s News To Me!

The challenge our tutor gave us for the first design tutorial was to simply buy and read a newspaper. Coming from a generation where everything can be accessed right at our fingertips and through our phones, I have never purchased a newspaper. This purpose of this exercise was to get an understanding of how papers can be written from different perspectives and perhaps have a certain bias.

Here are some of the points I took when reading the newspaper:

  • There are a lot of “hot” topics and general politics news
  • Lots of celebrity gossip
  • Self-described as “The People’s Paper”
  • Gives the impression of an older person trying to present to a younger audience (?). Attempting to use lots of slang (“Her maj”, “stuck two fingers up”, “N10”, “Wills”, “covidiot”, “Ri” – instead of Rihanna etc)
  • Big, catchy titles/text (occasionally punny) “BREXIT TALKS CHAOS”, “Roamin’ Ruins Below”, “Now you colosseum, now you don’t”, “Hugh do you think you are, actually?”, “Piers We Go Again”, “Given the Nicole’d shoulder”, “Raining Cats and Lochs”, “Can You Sia Who It Is?”, “What Are You Du-ing?”, “Royal Rolls”, “Tea Typhoo-n”, “I’ve Dunn Ten Years In Hollyoaks”, “Join The Treedom Fighters”. I have never seen so many puns in once place!
  • Talks of Brexit – “European leaders stuck two fingers up at Boris Johnson’s demand to speed up Brexit talks”, “27 EU member states provocatively refused the Prime Ministers plea.”, “They instead ordered N10 to compromise to secure free flowing trade after Brexit”, Boris Johnson insists that there are “prospects of a deal”, “French Leader Emmanuel Macron insisted French fishermen would not be “sacrificed”.”, “He threatened to block the deal if his “conditions” are not met.”, “The two sides remain “miles apart” on access to waters.”.
  • Showcasing politicians getting away with not following the rules “covidiot”. Margaret Ferrier travelled between Glasgow and London “with the bug”. “Dodged a £10,000 fine.”
  • Lots of dramatic language and exaggeration “poised to replace his enemy
  • Informative on covid and new rules.
  • Green Team 😊 – “The world desperately needs to slow down climate change”. It has a whole open page dedicated to it, but it is only halfway through the newspaper. Personally, I think that it has more importance than celebrity gossip. Another article further back, ‘FabDaily Fashion’, fixing and repurposing damaged clothing.
  • Misleading titles – “Should Fathers Be Proud Or Prudes?” Whilst the fathers are supportive in the text, why is a woman’s choice still being judged based on their father’s opinion?

When I was younger, the only time I would pick up a newspaper was to use it as protection for the countertops when I was painting or using it to create a paper mache model. Whilst on the countertop, getting covered in paint, I would read the titles and some of the text, but I have never used one with the intention of reading it. It has certainly been a weird experience to pick up something physical and read through it. However, that is one of the things I love about books. I would much rather flick through a physical book, than read it on a kindle tablet. But the reason why technology is so popular is that it makes everything so much more accessible. I can get hundreds of free books on a kindle that I can get instantly. If I am recommended an article on my phone from a newspaper, it is based on my interests from cookies. There were a lot of topics in the physical newspaper that I simply was not interested in. It was certainly a worthwhile experience, but with technology expanding and (with our current situation) we are relying on technology more, I will most likely stick to recommended online articles. Though, I do know that I have a back-up option if need be.

Initial look at the site

Before visiting the site, I decided to take a look at the resources provided for us. Just by looking at the map, I can see that it is a built-up area with predominantly man-made structures. There does not seem to be much greenery around our site. The only road that appears to have a strip of greenery is Holly Grove. This area is simply a path through grass with some shrubs and trees on one side. 

There appears to be some greenery surrounding the site in small areas. For example, Warwick gardens sits West of Holly Grove, the Surrey Canal walk is North of the site, next to the leisure centre. Warwick Gardens is a small field of grass with a play area and football posts. This area must be used frequently as it is near local schools. There are quite a few schools nearby which shows that play areas and natural areas are essential. 

Surrey Canal Walk appears to be similar to that of Warwick Gardens but longer in length and leading up to Burgess park. Burgess Park is much further from our site, being a 20-minute walk from Peckham Library. Peckham Rye Park and Common is closer still, being a 13-minute walk from Peckham Rye train station. 

Based on these observations, it may be beneficial for Peckham to have more greenery areas. These areas could include play area, sport courts and pitches that would be available for the public. 

Along the high street there are many businesses ranging in size. It would be essential to allow for commercial businesses to remain. However; smaller or independent companies should be taken into account and they should be able to continue their business in an affordable area. Ideally, with a living space above for the owners.

Urban Ecology & Brexit

Can artificial and natural ecosystems coexist? Integrating nature into urban areas is valuable for the environment and the economy. Is it possible for food production to be more local? Urban agriculture and vertical farming say ‘yes’. It is beneficial for us to have local food for our future. With the growing population and an increasing demand for food, it is necessary for us to produce our own food. If it is done locally is will be environmentally beneficial. With local food, there would be lesser needs for long distance imports and reducing the pollution that comes from this. With incoming Brexit and a looming ‘no deal’, it is likely that import and export prices to the EU will increase. It could lead to higher prices and a shortage of essential goods.

An Optimistic Vision for 2050: A Natural World

2020 was an incredibly scary year. It impacted every single one of us and caused us to change how we acted. It allowed us to reflect on our past actions. The pandemic was one of the scariest and most unknowing times of my life. On one hand, it was absolutely devastating to the whole world. On the contrary, there were many new opportunities for us to explore. Technology allowed us to stay connected with our loved ones and colleagues. It presented a new way of life through the cameras in our phones, laptops, tablets and computers. It was certainly a struggle adjusting to this lifestyle for the time being. However; it allowed us to reflect on our lifestyle and the current issues at the time.  

From being in lockdown on and off, we wanted to stay connected to nature. We wanted a relationship with natural life to keep us physically and mentally well. With the economy in downhill, companies no longer being able to afford to keep their staff, arising issues of world hunger with the increasing population, we decided to take matters into our own hands. The public began to grow their own fruit and vegetables. It became popular amongst city-folk to grow our own greens; and we continue to do this even today. We were bringing greenery back into our cities, helping feed the growing population with our own home-grown food. 

A graphic of what I imagine the cities of the future to look like. There is plenty of greenery with rooftop gardens. The next blog showcases images of what I imagine the rooftop gardens to be like.

As we continued to reconnect with nature, our air became cleaner, our cities became greener. We began to rely less and less on nationwide imports. With Brexit in full swing and our trades being affected, it was a necessity for us to take growing food into our own hands (quite literally!). We no longer need to worry about people going hungry as we can get food from our own back gardens, rooftops or even basements! Our cities have become self-sufficient, allowing forests to regrow as our need for farm land has become less of a necessity. No land goes to waste. Our cities are now filled to the brim with, greenery, communal gardens, allotments packed with fruit and veg and roof-top gardens.  

We are being healthier and feeling healthier. Being able to know exactly where my food comes from, knowing it grows in my very own garden, is an accomplishment to me. There is no greater feeling than nurturing and caring for a plant and being able to reap the rewards. The food is better and even tastes better.

It is not only our cities that have been affected. Our seas have become healthy once again, they are no longer being polluted with chemicals from agricultural run-off. Wildlife is thriving where there is no human interference. We have adopted the natural eco-system ideals of being self-sufficient and we can really see the results. Even today we are still trying to reverse the effects of climate change. It was the consequences of our actions that led to it. But we are improving, we are learning, we are educating our children and grandchildren. We are creating a better future for those who we will leave behind.