Cobalt Housing Association
One of Ainsley Gommon’s repeat social housing clients came to us with a scheme to upgrade an estate within their current maintenance programme. The majority of the works involved the upgrading of boundaries to properties and the properties themselves, however there was also three large vacant plots of land within the estate that Cobalt wanted to convert into communal gardens for the residents use. These vacant overgrown areas, were used as cut-throughs for pedestrians and off road vehicles, as well as loitering areas generating anti-social behaviour.
Community engagement was key and regular meetings were held with local residents within the estate, to discuss what they would like to see happen and how they would like to use the spaces. While not all ideas could be included the majority were considered and incorporated where possible, so long as not to cause any maintenance issues for the client.
All three spaces are overlooked by existing dwellings providing natural surveillance improving safety and security. One of the key drivers for the layouts was the positivity by the residents for future involvement.
Allotments and raised planting beds are proposed for the community to maintain themselves, with a simple, scheme proposed in and around this for Cobalt, consisting of hardy shrubs and wildflower meadow planting, to provide annual colour with minimum maintenance.
The proposed un-obscured seating provides meeting points and areas to sit animating the space and enhancing the quality of the environment.