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Urban Lab 1 Blackbird Leys Report

Ben Hindle, George Briscoe and Tim Abidovs


Contents 3-9.Morphological Analysis:

3.Connectivity and Permeability

4.Variety 5.Vitality

6.Legibility

7.Robustness 8.Richness

9.Locations of Photos

10-11. SWOT

10.Strengths and Weaknesses

11.Opportunies and Threats

12-13. GIS 14.Objective: Connectivity 15.Objective: Surveillance 16.Objective: Community Centre 17.Objective: Richness 18.Objective: Sustainability 19.Objective: Employment and Education

The Project On this module we will be presenting proposals to Oxford City Council who are leading the regeneration of the district centre of Blackbird Bird Leys. This will involve us researching and developing ideas for the regeneration following the brief set by the Council. This has been worked up in collaboration with the local community and the expectation is that we will propose a set of creative design recommendations for the development site that responds to aspirations of the Leys community. By way of background, the district centre of Blackbird Leys was developed in the 1950s and ‘60s and many of the buildings are now considered to be suffering from significant deterioration. In particular the retail block and community centre are regarded as being nearing the end of their design life and carry significant maintenance liabilities. The public space is also regarded as unattractive being dominated by a highway and fragmented land uses. It is also considered to be an inefficient use of land that could be better used to address the housing shortage.


Connectivity/Permeability Overall Landscape

Building/ Open Space

Even though the vegetation is part of the overall landscape, it decreases the permeability of the area, by creating a natural barrier.

The Permeability of the site is very limited with there being many objects in the way which limits the movements of people. Examples can be found in the district centre where the shops create a barrier for permeability to the parking area, which creates an unsafe feeling to the area.

The Permeability of a site is the number of alternative ways through an environment.

Across the Blackbird Leys site, there is very limited open space, which is big enough for use.

Only paths through the middle of the site limits the connectivity of the different sides.

However, the open space which is big enough has low connectivity due to the road system around it which means it is more of a roundabout than actual open space (Fig.3).

Roads create a barrier to the open green space.

Photo.1 Showing the limited permeability and connectivity in the District centre

Furthermore, the green space within the district centre also limits the permeability due to the vegetation, this hinders the movement of people across the main centre (Photo.1).

Fig.3 Map of the District Centre The Open space is surrounded by roads which creates a barrier to use the space

Fig.2 Showing the Cul-de-sac around Blackbird Leys Cul-de-sac Site Boundary

Spatial Structure/ Streets The roads around Blackbird Leys helps to increase the connectivity into and away from the area, a couple of these roads are the main roads (Photo.2), which help to connect Blackbird Leys to Oxford and the surrounding area (Fig.1).

Blocks and Plots Across Blackbird Leys there are many Cul-de-sac (Fig.2), these decrease the permeability and connectivity of the area. This is because the Cul-de-sac (Photo.3) is a dead end for traffic and thus create a block for traffic and sometimes pedestrians to access other parts of the site.

Photo.2 Showing the main road into Blackbird Leys from Oxford.

Photo.3 Showing the Cul-de-sac behind the shops.

However, even though the roads increase the connectivity of Blackbird Leys, they decrease the permeability of the site, especially in the District centre, where they act as a barrier to pedestrians reaching the open space in the middle (Photo.1).

The Cul-de-sac creates a barrier, causing an area with no much use.

Fig.1 Showing the routes into Blackbird Leys Roads Site Boundary


Variety

The Variety of a site is the different uses of buildings and lands within a site.

Overall Landscape

Building/ Open Space

The variety of uses the site differs depending on the area. The uses on site include areas of high-density mix use of buildings such as the apartments and shops but also area of no density of buildings like the park (Photo.7)

Photo.7 Shows an area of no density in the foreground and an area of high density in the shops and housing. Park

Photo.4 Image showing a mix use building. Retail Housing

Fig.4 Showing Mix of Building uses in Blackbird Leys Mix use Buildings Single use Buildings Site Area

Housing

There is a very limited variety of open space on the site, this is due to there being a very limited amount of open space. The only usable space is in the district centre where there is a small park area. There is both single use and mix-use buildings on the site (Fig.4). But there is only one area of mix-used which is the shops and apartment in the district centre (Photo.4).

A high density or plots per block size.

Spatial Structure/ Streets There is a variety of streets in Blackbird Leys, with there being a range of roads from Secondary roads (Photo.5), Minor roads (Photo.6) and Cul-de-sac (Fig.5).

Blocks and Plots A low density of plots per block size.

Photo.5 Showing the main road into Blackbird Leys from Oxford. Fig.6 Showing Block and Plots sizes in Blackbird Leys Site Outline Block Outline Plot Outline

Furthermore, there are also cycle lanes, which start at Blackbird Leys and end up at Temple Cowley.

Fig.5 Showing different road types in Blackbird Leys Secondary Road Minor Road Cul-de-sac

Photo.6 Showing a Minor road, looking away from the District Centre

The blocks vary in size and shape across Blackbird Leys (Fig.6), the smallest block, the shops in the district centre, is also the densest in terms of the number of plots across the site. Whilst the other blocks are quite a lot larger but have a loss density of plots. Unsurprisingly the size of the plots increases in size on the bigger plots, with the smallest plots being on the small block.


Vitality

Experimental choices offered to users

Overall Landscape The overall landscape is relatively open which creates areas for activities. But there is very limited surveillance across Blackbird Leys from house or shops on to roads, which decrease the feeling of safety around the site. The business of the site fluctuates during the day depending on the time, and location. The district centre has a steady flow of people during the day but peaks after school. However, the rest of the site does not have many other areas which attract people, the only exception being the leisure centre (Fig.7).

Spatial Structure/ Streets The roads around Blackbird Leys decrease the potential for activity in the green open area in the district centre because the road makes it into a roundabout. This means people do not want to use the space, because of the noise of the roads (Fig.8).

Building/ Open Space

Surveillance of the street from shops and apartments

Photo.8 Showing the shops at the district centre. Fig.7 Showing the services which can be used throughout the day. Services

Limited surveillance to street from apartments

The shops at the district centre help to create vitality at the site due to it being an area where people can go and interact with others. There is also a feeling of safety in front of and around the shops during the day as there is good surveillance from the shops. (Photo.8) However during the night, there is limited surveillance from shops or apartments above, this combined with limited street lighting remove the feeling of safety. Furthermore there is an area behind the shops at the district centre which has limited surveillance during day or night which means it an area of limited safety (Photo.9)

Blocks and Plots Also crossing the roads is dangerous especially for children.

How full the car park is shows how busy and how much the leisure centre is use.

Photo.9 Showing behind the shops at the district centre.

Fig.8 Map of Blackbird Leys. The open space in the district centre surrounded by roads, means it is hard to access.

Photo.10 Shows the car park at he leisure centre

The Vitality of the blocks and plots differs due to the use of them. For examples the district centre and leisure have a higher vitality because the use of the building offers a service so people come and use them, for example, the leisure centre (Photo.10) compared to the other blocks and plots which are residential areas.


Legibility

The degree of choice offered by a place depends partly on how legible it is: how easily people can understand its layout.

Overall Landscape

Building/ Open Space

The legibility of the site is very clear due to the way the landscape has been designed. This is because the site has been designed to flow into the district centre, as the main roads in and out of the site go through the district centre. The district centre is also known as a node (Fig.9), a node is defined as a point in a network or diagram at which lines or pathways intersect or branch.

The legibility of the building is good due to a lot of the buildings being memory buildings. This is a building which people who are visiting can use an anchor point or landmark to find their way around. Blackbird Leys has many buildings which could be used for this but the two obvious ones are the two towers, Windrush Tower and Evenlode Tower (Photos.11.12).

Photos.11 (top) .12 (Below) Show Evenlode Tower (top) and Windrush Tower (below), and how they can be used as memory point or landmarks in Blackbird Leys Fig.9 Showing how the District Centre (Node) is the centre point for traffic flow. Roads into and out of District Centre Central District (Node)

Spatial Structure/ Streets

Blocks and Plots

The street structure has a good legibility due to it being easy to orientate yourselves and to find your way around the site. This is majorly to the way the roads all lead to the node or district centre, and this is easy to find due to the two towers (Photos.11 .12), which are good memory points in Blackbird Leys. Furthermore, all of the other minor roads lead back to the main road in and out of Blackbird Leys due to a circular road which goes around the centre (Fig.10). This road is good for the legibility of the site due as all of the cul-de-sac join this road, limiting the chances of getting lost.

Circular Road connecting all the Cul-de-sac to the centre, also makes it easy to understand the layout of the area.

Fig.10 Showing how the District Centre (Node) is the centre point for traffic flow. Circular ‘Ring Road’ of Blackbird Leys. Main Secondary Road into Blackbird Leys Minor Roads leading into the District Centre.

Photo.13 Shows the community centre, which is one of the many single use buildings on the block.

The legibility of the blocks is good because the layout of the buildings makes it easy to understand. However, in each block, there are no defining features to the blocks, which means if the layout was hard to understand it would be easy to get lost. As well as this, the use of the buildings in the blocks other than the district centre, are all single use (Photo.13) This means that the legibility increases because each block has a use, which can be used to understand the layout better. Furthermore, when at Blackbird Leys you have a feeling that you understand the layout of the blocks and site which makes it easy to travel around.


Robustness

The Robustness of the site is about the design of buildings and if they can offer more uses than other design of buildings.

Overall Landscape

Building/ Open Space

Over the whole landscape of the site, there is very little robustness in the buildings and the landscape. For example, there are very little edges which can be reused, this can be seen in other places where steps are also used as seating. Furthermore, older buildings give character to an area, which is lacking in Blackbird Leys. The only possible example of a building giving character is the church, which has been designed so it stands out.

In the Blackbird Leys site, there are few buildings where there is any robustness. One building where this is the case is the shops in the district centre, this is because the shops can be reused as more shops or restaurants or cafĂŠs (Photo.16) Another building across the site which could possibly have a robustness is the community centre (Photo.15) but this would need to have an interior renovation. The park in the district centre could be reused but its size limits its potential other uses.

Spatial Structure/ Streets

Photo.15 Shows the Community Centre, which could be reused for another use, but would need to have an interior redesign.

Fig.11 Showing where roads around the district centre have been reused for other uses. Roads that have been reused. Site Perimeter The shops in the district centre can reused but the new use will be very limited as retail again or as a food outlet.

The streets are Blackbird Leys have a high robustness this is due to them have a high reusability. Examples of reuse could be bike lanes, parking or even pedestrian zones or shared space (Fig.11 and Photo.14). However the use the road has at the moment is key to Blackbird Leys so, the reuse of them may not be a good use of space.

Photo.16 Shows the Shops in the district centre.

Blocks and Plots The blocks across Blackbird Leys have limited robustness, due to there being only one block with mixed-use, the district centre. All the other buildings on the other buildings are singleuse, also these buildings have a low robustness as it would be difficult to reuse them as another use, an example of these across the site would be Oxford City College (Photo.17) or the leisure centre.

Photo.14 Show how some of the roads in Blackbird Leys have been reused. This road is still used as a road but also offers parking for the shops.

Photo.17 Shows Oxford City College, which would be hard to reuse as it was built purposefully as a college.


Richness

Variety and amount of sensorial experiences offered to users.

Overall Landscape The overall landscape’s richness is very poor due to the lack of colour used across the site, but this is the case because the area was largely built during the 1950s and 1960s, where there was a pressing need for housing. This meant that much of the housing is not architecturally rich and most of the material used was concrete (Photo.18). This has resulted in a very monotone grey area, and there has been very little to rectify this until Windrush Tower was re-clad (Photo.19). There are small areas of green across the site which helps improve the monotone feel.

Building/ Open Space A lot of the open space within Blackbird Leys is small and not designed well in an architectural way. This is because a lot of the open spaces include concrete and are placed in odd position making it hard to access.

Use of concrete gives a very gloomy feel to the area. Poor paving surfaces also contribute to the negative feeling of the area.

Photo.18 An example of the materials used around Blackbird Leys.

Photo.22 District Centre shops: poor material choices help with the negative feeling towards the area.

Small amounts of colour on building can change the feeling towards buildings.

Furthermore, much of the pavements use tarmac or concrete slabs, the change of these surfaces usually improved the visual appearance of an area.

Poor use of paving helps to create a negative feeling towards an area.

The use of brick and concrete may have looked good when these building were built but not it gives a run-down feeling to the site.

Windrush Tower has recently been re-cladded which helps to give a positive feeling about the site.

Photo.20 Shows the types of materials used in the past which give a run-down feel to the site.

Photo.19 How re-cladding can change the feel of a building.

Photo.21 Shows the contrast between the use of materials and the feeling they give out.

The use of wooden cladding improves the visual aspect of the site, by giving a modern feel to it.

The buildings across Blackbird Leys all use materials which give a run-down feeling across the area, for example, the district centre shops are mostly constructed of brick (Photo.22). The recladding of building like this across the site would help to improve the feel in and around Blackbird Leys (Photo.23).

Photo.23 How paving surfaces can impact the feeling and visual look of a site.

Photo.24 Shows the leisure centre which has just been recently built.

Blocks and Plots

A lot of the blocks are lacking in richness across the site, due to the mundane colours and old-fashioned building materials like concrete (Photo.20). This increases the feeling of the site being run down because these colours and materials emulate negativity at the site. But there are a few blocks which are changing this due to new construction works, for example, the leisure centre (Photo.24) and Oxford City College. These help to give a regenerated feel to Blackbird Leys.


Location of where Photos were taken


Strengths

Weaknesses

The Connectivity into Blackbird Leys from Oxford and the surrounding area is good due to there being many routes into the centre and out into Oxfordshire. There is also good bus links into Blackbird Leys, with four bus routes (Fig.1) in, with them all stopping at the district centre. As well as there being good bus and road links, there is also a good cycle path that leads to the city.

Fig.1 Shows the bus routes into Blackbird Leys.

Turn up and go bus service. Every 30 minutes.

Photo.2 Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre

The site is easy to move around due to the low density of buildings per block. This means there is space between the buildings which prevents people getting lost too easily. Furthermore, the two towers, Windrush (Photo.3) and Evenlode, can be used as a landmark to help prevent people getting lost. Windrush Tower makes a good landmark to prevent people getting lost.

The main roads into Blackbird Leys all flow through the district centre, creating high use of the shops. District Centre

Photo.4 Show how the roads in Blackbird Leys create a barrier between the pedestrians zones and the open green space.

Pedestrian Zone

Open Green Space

The leisure centre in Blackbird Leys (Photo.2) is an attraction for people inside and outside of Oxford to come into the site, this increases the number of people who move through the site. This could be utilised to increase the number of people who use the district centre, as people pass through it to access the leisure centre. The new Leisure centre attracts people from across Oxford and Oxfordshire.

There are many roads across the site, which limit’s the permeability across the site because the roads become ‘barriers’ to pedestrians (Photo.4). As well as this, there are no pedestrians crossing on the site, which increases the danger for pedestrians as they try and access other parts of the site.

Photo.3 Windrush Tower one of the two major landmarks across Blackbird Leys.

The surveillance across the site is poor which decrease the feeling of safety for pedestrians. There are points across the site which have almost no surveillance, for example behind the shops (Photo.5), this creates a very unsafe feeling in the area. Furthermore, street lighting also increases the feeling of safety but there is limited street lighting in parts of the site.

Road creates barrier between the two areas. Photo.5 Shows the behind of the shops and how there is very little surveillance on to this area.

Little surveillance Poor number of street lighting.

Across the site, within Blackbird Leys, there are very few areas of open space, which are big enough for the community to use for events. This can cause limitations in bringing the community together. The only possible space where this could happen, the grass in the district centre, which is difficult to get to due to roads and space is full of vegetation (Photo.6).

Photo.6 The district centre: The only possible area on the site where community events could happen.

Vegetation limits open space Road creates a barrier to reach the open space.

Road

The district centre is a node, which means it is a centre for the flow of people and traffic around the site. This means that there is a high flow of people through the district centre which means the shops and other buildings are used regularly (Fig.2) Fig.2 Showing the flow of traffic through Blackbird Leys.

The buildings across the site all show weakness but in different ways. One such weakness is the lack of robustness in some buildings, as they can not be reused due to there design (Photo.8). Carrying on with the design of the buildings, a lot of them are poorly designed in an architectural sense and the materials used (Photo.7). The use of materials gives a negative feeling towards the area.

Photo.7 This shows an example of the type of material and design used across the site.

Photo.8 This shows an example of a building with a low robustness due to its interior design.


Opportunities

Threats

There is an opportunity within the site to create more social cohesion within the site, through the creation of a community hub or open space, where the community can put on events or use the space as a meeting zone. This space could also encourage people from all over Oxford to use Blackbird Leys, much like the leisure centre does. Example of projects like this is Rose Hill, Oxford (Photos.9.and 10)

The threat of pollution from the site when the development starts, this pollution would take the form of noise and air pollution. Air pollution could cause health problems for the local residents and with schools, nurseries and colleges nearby this is a danger to the younger population. As well as air pollution, noise pollution would disturb the education facilities (Fig.3), making it harder to teach.

Photos.9 (Top). 10 (bottom). of Rose Hill community centre, which is regarded as a flagship project.

There is also an opportunity to create more space across the site. This could be achieved with the community centre combining with other services around the site, for example, the library. The new space could be reused as open space or as new housing, which is needed in Oxford at the moment. Older buildings like the ones across Blackbird Leys usually have poor energy efficiency, so with the redevelopment of buildings, there is an opportunity to create an energy efficient area. This would be possible by the use of green technology, for example, solar panel, new heating sources or simple by installing tripleglazed windows or insulation. This sort of opportunity has been taken in Rose Hill as they have been a leader in fitting solar panels to many buildings across the ward (Photos.11.12). Another opportunity is to bring in the services the people of Blackbird Leys need, examples of this could be a school for new skills for the unemployed or social clubs. As well as services the new development has an opportunity to introduce new shops that the people of Blackbird Leys need, for example, supermarket, pharmacy or hairdressers.

Photo.11 Show solar Panels being fitted on Rose Hill Primary School.

Photo.12 Shows solar panels being fitted onto houses by project ERIC leader in Rose Hill.

A major threat to the area and the site in Blackbird Leys in the threat of the loss of funding. This would have major impacts for the people of Blackbird Leys, as cuts could cause a loss of the bus services into Oxford, this would lead to Blackbird Leys to become cut of from the rest of the city. Funding could also impact the redevelopment itself, this would cause a major problem, as it could leave major parts of the community unfinished and not usable.

Fig.3 Showing potential problems of construction.

The site where possible Locations of nursery (green) and development may take place. college (blue)

A major threat to the project is the stigma of Blackbird Leys. This negative stigma is due to the riots in 1991 and continues to the day. This stigma could potentially put off retailers. This may mean any new shops would remain empty and the local residents may miss out on important services. Furthermore, any improvements to improve the stigma may be for nothing if any event may occur, e.g. riots or a major crime (Photos. 12.13.14)

Photos, 12,13 and 14 show the police presences in Blackbird Leys.


Geographic Information System Social Renting Young Familes

Student and Professionals

Multi-Ethnic Hardship

Above shown using GIS (Geographical Information Systems) is the proportion of social renting young families above average. This is shown to be very prominent in Blackbird Leys. This covers the basis of those aged 5-14 and is most prominent in families of Pakistani origin as well as those born in the UK/ Ireland giving us an impression of the variety of demographics living in the area of redevelopment. Blackbird Leys is clearly the highest area of density of this, with the general trend showing the South East of Oxford to contain residents socially renting with young families. .

Outlined in figure 2 is the amount of students and professionals in the Oxford area. In comparison to figure 1, Blackbird Leys has far below the average proportion of students and professionals as residents. Compared to Northern Oxford where these statistics are high, this is shown to be very clear. The two figures somewhat act as contradictory notes on the types of people living in these areas. Hence very useful to create socio- economic profiling of the area of regeneration.

GIS shows a distribution of hardship focused upon Blackbird Leys. Throughout Oxford this is the only location that can be defined as this sub-group.


Geographic Information System Established Renting Families

Private Renting new Arrivals

Commuters with Young Families

There is a small proportion of the subgroup of established renting residents. Its positioning is that of a general overall trend of even spread distribution of this subgroup seen across Oxford. This is a small part of Blackbird Leys and shows that non socially aided housing is consumed within the SP5 area.

A high distribution of new residents is also seen in Blackbird Leys which implies the social demographic is changing. There is split distribution across southern Oxford and most prominent around SP5. A change in subgroup implies changing area characteristics which impacts the socio-economic profile as a result.

There is an almost non-existent distribution of this subgroup in Blackbird Leys with one minor residential area counting towards this group. This can be linked with those long term renters of those living in the area without social provision. Thus implying that every day people are living in the area too, and contribute to the demographic.


Design Actions: Connectivity Objective: To better connect the site. Protecting social space from the impacts of cars and creating areas that, while accessible by cars, are pedestrian dominant with access routes for cyclists and commuters.

Design Action 1

All indications of priority including traffic lights, white lines and signs are removed, and instead both pedestrians and drivers use eye contact to negotiate who goes first. In order to calm the intense traffic in the site, change the road into the shared space (pedestrian dominance). A road in which devices for calming down traffic are integrated (Photo.1) (material of the shared space, green landscape and street furniture), will maintain a pedestrian dominance in the area. An example of this shared space is Photo 2.

Shops

Community Centre

Church

Photo.2 An example of shared space in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Design Action 2

The extensions of the bike network (Fig.1) into the District Centre and then to the Leisure Centre. It is important to connect Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre to the rest of Oxford to promote a healthy and safe way to reach the centre, as well as decrease the use of vehicles in the area.

Design Action 3

Photo.1 Showing how the Shared space and pedestrians area will look in Blackbird Leys.

The removal of bollards in front of the shops in the dsitrcit centre, this is because they are both a physical and visual barrier. There should not be any ‘hard separation’ between road and open space.

Fig.1 Showing the proposed and old bike routes in Blackbird Leys Existing Route Proposed Route


Design Actions: Surveillance Objective: To increase the overall feeling of safety and surveillance. In order to improve the surveillance and thus the safety of the site. This will hopefully improve the confidence of residents at night, which will encourage then to go out into the neighbourhood. This will also help to reduce crime rates as there is less dark spaces for crime to occur.

Design Action 4

To increase the number of street lights across the site in order to increase the feeling of safety across the site (Photo.3), especially at night. The use of LED lights will, one) increase the visibility at night, by using a clean white light (Photo.5), which is also less intrusive to residents and two) be a more energy efficient way of lighting up the Blackbird Leys site. This helps to create a safer site (Fig.2), especially at night as it limits the number of dark spaces or alleyways which may decrease the feeling of safety across the site.

Photo.5 Showing how LED street lighting helps to create a brighter area at night.

Design Action 5

To increase the amount of surveillance from buildings onto the street floor. This may be achieved by, one) increasing the size of windows (Photo.4) in buildings which are not private residences to increase the feeling of presence across the site and two) increase the view from private residences or buildings off the ground floor, by removing obstructions from upper floor windows.

Photo.4 Showing an example of how bigger windows can improve visibility into and out of the cafe.

Photo.3 Showing an example of how street lighting can increase the surveillance in a dark space.

Fig.2 Showing the location of street lights across the site Street Lighting Spotlights


Design Actions: Community Centre Objective: To enhance the strong sense of community in Blackbird Leys We are actively aiming to enhance the strong sense of community seen in Blackbird Leys. With an increased sense of community,residents are more proud to live in the area, knock on factors include services in the area better utilised and maintained.

Design Action 6

We believe the core foundation or solidifying a sense of community is the community centre (Photo.7.8). A priority to engage local residents in a variety of different services, from study rooms to enterprise trading floors. The geographical location of this centre shall remain in the same place, however due to improving connectivity there will be greater consumption by passers by.

Photo.6 Showing Oxford Brookes University library, where a link to Blackbird Leys could help education. Photo.8 Showing Rosehill Community Centre, which has been describe an exemplar Project

Design Action 7

Further legibility will be incorporated with a communally designed shield of Blackbird Leys, this will be displayed in various ways throughout the community centre and act as a new identity for Blackbird Leys

Design Action 8

With Blackbird Leys’ geographical location being slightly off centre in Oxford, linking it with inner city services will help to reduce this ‘outcast’ nature. This is achieved primary through a clear connection with Oxford Brookes in the form of library links (Photo.6). Upon qualitative data analysis the issue of poor library resources rose with interviewees stating they would often travel to Oxford Brookes for library facilities. If the two worked in unison the SP5 Library would be greater consumed among the community and an easier access to education would be created for all of those wishing to use it.

Photo.7 Showing an exemplar of a Community Centre

Fig.3 Showing areas of the site where the design action will affect. Outline of areas of design actions.


Design Actions: Richness Objective: To increasing the visual aspect around the site. A strong sense of community and place makes the area more memorable for habitats and visitors. So people are willing to come back again. By improving a unique character of the area, we create a sustainable neighbourhood that more likely to spend more time outside and interact between each other. A memorable picture of the district centre, where are located the key features, maintain a friendly-enjoyable atmosphere.

Design Action 9

To introduce more active edges across the site. This can be achieved by the removal of space left over after planning (SLOAPS). Potential design for these areas could be a community wall, or a public work of art (Photo.11).

Design Action 10

The increase in the number of street furniture (Photo.10). This will help to maintain and enhance a social interaction between people. By providing good quality of street furniture so the streets are more likely to become liveable and enjoyable.

Design Action 11

The redevelopment of the community centre. To change the design of the community centre in order to encourage more people to use the facility. This can be achieved by the creation of a more friendly use of materials and design. An example of this is photo 9 which shows the re-cladding on Windrush Tower.

Photo.10 Showing examples of street furniture.

Photo.9 Showing Windrush Tower in Blackbird Leys, which has been re-cladded, this improves the richness of the area.

Photo.11 Showing an example of modern public art taken from the Museum of California


Design Actions: Sustainability Objective: To create an energy efficient and sustainable site. In order to help reduce the amount of energy wasted whilst heating community buildings and private residences. This will also help to reduce the cost of living for residence as their fuel bills will be reduced.

Design Action 12

To use a better quality of materials within the buildings to increase the energy efficiency. This can be achieved by the use of double glazing windows and insulation, which will help to reduce heat loss in buildings. Furthermore, the use of new green materials, to reduce the use of concrete across the site, for example, the use of wood, recycle plastic, hempcrete or green roofs (Photo12).

Photo.12 Showing green roofs, which can be a sustainable roofing technique.

Photo.14 Showing how Solar panels could be fitted to schools to help power the building.

Design Action 13

To increase the number of green technologies used across the site, in order to create new greener ways to heat and power buildings. This can be achieved by the use of solar panels (Photo.14), Wind turbine (Photo.13), geothermal heating systems, or a system used at Rosehill called ERIC (Photo.15), Energy Resources for integrated communities.

Photo.13 Showing another example of way to power the site.

Photo.15 Showing the leader of the sustainability project in Rosehill, a neighbouring area to Blackbird Leys


Design Actions: Employment and Education Objective: Increasing the skill-base of residents of Blackbird Leys High unemployment is seen to be an issue in Blackbird Leys, in order to tackle this it is required that more outlets of employment are introduced to the area. Through improving educational facilities we can improve the skill-base of workers making the more employable as a whole.

Design Action 14

To increase potential employment opportunities, a trading and enterprise floor (Photo.16) within the community centre, adding a mixed use structure to the building. This will help bring business into Blackbird Leys as well as tackle unemployment sitting double that of Oxford. Photo.16 Showing an example enterprise floor.

Design Action 15

Photo.18 Showing how a space can be created for interactive workspace for workshops.

The introduction of hosting professional trade seminars and education at the Community Centre could help aid the burden of high unemployment. 5 rooms and one hall would be allocated to this education (Photo.18). Due to the history of industry within Blackbird Leys with many workers coming from the Morris factory many residents’ skill-sets are far out of date. There is presence of adult education at Oxford City College however majorly for core subjects rather than tailored for trade.

Design Action 16

Photo.17 Improvements in education could lead to better job proedpects.

By using the pedestrian friendly shared space as a cross point a market held in front of the district centre could be formed. This would be greatly consumed by local residents due to lack of fresh vegetables from the supermarket and also act as an opportunity for interaction amongst the community. Fig.4 Showing the qualifications of residents in Blackbird Leys.

Blackbird Leys Report  
Blackbird Leys Report  
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