I went along to the Olympic Park consultation at Forman’s fish factory (appropriately situated on Fish Island, Hackney Wick). The Forman factory sits grandly along one of the Lea Navigation canals and has a grand, unencumbered view of the Olympic Stadium. Better pedestrian connections, bridges, pavements, and cycle paths are planned to link Hackney Wick, across the Olympic Park to Leyton, the Greenway should hopefully provide a route from Victoria Park all the way to West Ham? Basically the plans are the give new life to the canal system and park eco-system, in particular replacing a lot of the paved bits that will be necessarily for moving people around the area during the Olympic Games. Tarmac, massive bridges, perimeter fencing, accreditation areas (that fancy-speak for ticketed entrances) – they’ve all got to go post-games to make way for park areas, trees, and the like. Some of the decommissioned parts will become development opportunities and will be handed over to the Olympic Park Legacy Company in 2014. In fact the parklands won’t be fully accessible until 2014. I suggested, to avoid having the Olympic Park remain a construction site post-games, in addition to the remaining sports venues being the focus and the main draw, these areas could be developed with temporary artists’ studios, art spaces, pop-up shops, restaurants and cafés to encourage and house creative ventures. What better way than to keep the local artists engaged and make good use of space – provided that it’s made available at a reasonable, affordable rate.
I’m also very keen to see real estate used more cleverly for small businesses or groups oozing of creativity, culture and innovation. Creative, innovative people need a place to work in, don’t they? How could real estate be used more creatively? More pop-up opportunities? Flexible space? Combined uses – much like cafés in retail shops, but how about a more integrated approach. Or restaurant as product – like the Flash pop-up restaurant at the Royal Academy where the tableware was available for purchase after the pop-up restaurant finished its run? Music stores are being used as live music venues, bars as places to display art. How else can property genres be combined to make best use of space??? Answers on a postcard please. Please leave a comment below.