As part of the Create Boulevards programme, JTP and Create Streets held a Community Planning Day on Saturday 20 May 2017 to promote ideas for improving Holloway Road as a place for people. This was followed by a Minecraft workshop with children from Grafton Primary School run by Block Builders.
Outputs from both workshop days were presented as part of the London Festival of Architecture, on Friday 30 June 2017. Around 100 attendees packed into The Gallery, Cowcross Street for an entertaining and enlightening discussion on how London can go about creating boulevards in the future. Further information regarding this event can be seen here and exhibition boards on display at the event can be downloaded here and the Minecraft vision for Holloway Boulevard created by the students of Grafton Primary School can be seen in the video below.
Community Planning Day
The day focused on the the stretch of Holloway Road from the Odeon cinema at Tufnell Park Road and ending at Holloway Road Tube Station. Members of the local community and others with an interest in the area were invited to participate in planning ideas for the beautification and intensification of this important arterial boulevard in London.
The event, held at Resource for London, was an opportunity to share local knowledge and help shape a vision for Holloway Boulevard by joining the design team in workshops, walkabouts and hands-on planning groups. Many people were concerned with the dominance of traffic and the implication on pedestrian and cycle safety and air pollution. Other concerns included poor quality public realm, a lack of characterful buildings, not enough trees, insufficient cycle lanes and a lack of affordable housing in the area. Working in facilitated groups around large-scale maps, participants developed several ideas which included:
- a reduction from four to two lanes, controlled times for HGVs and restricting the speed limit to 20mph
- reducing traffic pollution and improving air quality
- excess tarmac could be turned into pedestrian walkways, protected cycle lanes and outdoor terraces for local shops
- truly accessible and affordable housing for key workers and those on lower-incomes
- reclaiming areas of public realm and opening spaces for more independent businesses
- removal of fences and introduction of new crossing points
- more greenery such as hedges and flower beds
- replacing extraneous utility boxes, telephone booths and sign-posts
- traffic-calm or pedestrianise the central shopping area
- convert the Gyratory into a two-way road system
- expose the heritage and architecture of the streetscape by reducing / limiting the number of signs, billboards and banners
- establish a ‘Boulevard Forum’ to ensure a joined up, rigourous approach to take these ideas further
- should also engage young people in the process
Hands-on planning at the Create Boulevards, Holloway Road Community Planning Day
Reporting back at the Create Boulevards, Holloway Road Community Planning Day
'Holloway Boulevard' concept
After the workshop, the JTP team analysed and summarised the contributions and drew up a vision for the boulevard.
Illustrative view of Holloway Boulevard at Lorraine Green
To engage the younger generation in the process, JTP asked Block Builders to run a workshop with students at Grafton Primary School which took place on Tuesday 27 June 2017. During the workshop, students were able to explore the section of Holloway Road using an interactive 3D rendered model within the game Minecraft. Students were then asked what they treasure most about Holloway Road, what they would like to trash and any big ideas for the boulevard. They were then free to create their big ideas, alone or with other players, within the Holloway Road Minecraft world.
Some of the young people's ideas included:
- more traffic lights and more safer places with time to cross the road
- additional space for wheel chair users
- more plants and greenery
- a smoke free area to improve people's health
- refugee and homeless shelter and a food bank
- an all-weather astro football pitch, little playground and a dog park
- flats with more fire safety checks
- public art gallery and colourful graffiti on walls of buildings
- solar panels
- bike lanes and storage
- a 'walk of fame'
- less takeaways
- water fountain and swimming pool
Students at Grafton Primary School working on the Minecraft 3D render of Holloway Road
Student at Grafton Primary School using VR headset to explore the Minecraft 3D render of Holloway Road