Streets Make Communities
A mantra that, as a recent newspaper article points out*, is thankfully working its way back into common thought. The rekindling of this ancient wisdom is breathing life back into the neighbourhoods that have taken heed, in fact, the winner of the most recent Royal Institute of Architect’s Stirling Prize was a street in Norwich.†
But this is hardly a revelation for Canary Wharf Group. Who else would build shopping malls underground in order to create streets, parks, squares and events space above it? It’s vital to ensuring Canary Wharf doesn’t feel like any other development and means the community here has thrived – now a 160,000 strong legion who visit every day to work, shop and experience the cultural offering.
It’s easy to stand well back, see glass giants punching through cloud and mist and draw the lines of your conclusions there. But the real personality of this remarkable district is found up-close, at ground level, where the people are. Meeting, eating, drinking, listening, browsing, passing through – it’s a parade performed on a very human scale.
The Lanes, Wood Wharf.
How a neighbourhood is designed – the architecture, layout, curation – it’s a language that people read and the point at which developers communicate with their audience. But it’s not about considering each aspect on an individual basis. Rather, it’s about approaching everything holistically.
This approach has governed Wood Wharf from its inception. Bringing exceptional work space accommodation, new homes, landscaped open spaces and a variety of shops, bars and restaurants, it’s a landmark new development for London.
Street level stores are a point of different from neighbouring Jubilee Place - lending it a sense of independence - floating restaurant pavilions will make people feel more connected to the water below and nine acres of green space, plus Harbour Quay’s enormous boardwalk, offer opportunity for waterside strolls or fitness trails.
Streets where traffic isn’t banned, but certainly demoted in favour of cyclists and pedestrians, make this an enjoyable environment for everyone, and Canary Wharf Group are even exploring the possibility of creating a ‘Wellbeing Centre’. What all this means is a series of interconnected and inclusive spaces promoting wellbeing and a positive work/life balance.
Sensitive to the stress of modern urban living, Wood Wharf is Canary Wharf’s answer to what people now want from their neighbourhoods.
A new scene in the Estate’s prolific story, it’s a continuation of the same values and vision that have long been cornerstones for this now world-famous destination. Yet, at the same time, it’s adjusted the formula. Wood Wharf will have a living, breathing residential community at its core, meaning an emphasis on wellbeing and the delivery of inclusive spaces fostering genuine cohesion.
Streets help to make communities, yes, but it takes a whole lot more to make those communities love where they are. Wood Wharf is the shape of things to come.
* Streets make communities. Have architects realised this at last?’ The Guardian, 2019.