Pop-ups like Nomadic Community Gardens in Shoreditch have become a conspicuous part of our cityscape, and now resourceful Londoners are ambitiously extending the trend to empty buildings and derelict plots of land awaiting redevelopment (scroll right...)
Images: Daniel Lynch
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These are types of areas that sometimes wait years for construction work to begin (scroll right...)
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In the meantime they can be used as community gardens, outdoor theatre venues, art galleries and music halls, workshops, children’s parks, nurseries and allotments (scroll right...)
A triangular patch of industrial land in Fleet Street Hill, moments from Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market was owned by Network Rail before being snapped up by developer Londonewcastle (scroll right...)
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Work will commence next year. Meanwhile, the plot has been transformed into Nomadic Community Gardens (scroll right...)
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James Wheale, 33, is the energetic force behind Nomadic Community Gardens, a one-acre multi-use site with 100 free allotments, events and performance spaces, a caravan café and a public park adorned with street art and sculpture (scroll right...)
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“When I approached Londonewcastle, I had no architect’s model or fancy brochure to show them, but they believed in what were doing.”
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He is an eco-activist, inspired by “urban agriculture” projects in European cities such as Berlin and Amsterdam that try to improve quality of life and bring social change to communities.
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“The central function is food production, but we run workshops teaching DIY skills. We hold concerts and networking events and have become a recycling centre for local goods and materials" (scroll right...)
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Hayley Edwards, who runs Roving Café from a Piaggio van parked at the gardens, says: “The place is so full of life (scroll right...)
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"There’s a big mix of people and the atmosphere and energy are fantastic." (scroll right...)
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"People pop in to watch the graffiti artists, while parents bring their kids to play in a converted fishing boat” (scroll right...)
Camberwell Arts Quarter is an upcoming scheme of 164 flats, comprising new builds and retained warehouse-style conversions, as well as artist studios and shops. It will also offer 43 shared-ownership flats (scroll right...)
The site’s dilapidated warehouses have been used for fashion shoots, music videos and art installations (scroll right...)
Tapping into the creative energy of nearby Camberwell School of Art, the buildings are edgy and urban, proving popular settings for silent gigs.
IMAGES: DANIEL LYNCH