Camley Street Community Land Trust and Sustainability Zone

Karakusevic Carson Architects

Camley Street Community Land Trust and sustainability zone is an ambitious community-led development which will create an exemplary mixed-use neighbourhood of high-quality, truly affordable council homes and light industry in the London Borough of Camden. The Trust and Camden Council would partner on the project to maximise local benefit, local jobs and social value.

Karakusevic Carson Architects have worked closely with residents and local businesses through the Camley Street Neighbourhood Forum for over 6 years and established a detailed masterplan and planning strategy and architectural proposals for this progressive scheme which would retain and expand local industry and food production.

In 2014, we were approached by members of the local community who were concerned that the area in which they lived and worked – one of the last council-owned industrial sites in central London, was in danger of being lost to private development. The neighbourhood, a three-hectare sliver of land bordering the main Kings Cross redevelopment zone is surrounded by areas which have been undergoing significant redevelopment and support approximately 500 jobs in 30 businesses. Our design, borne out of extensive 6+ year community engagement and visioning, reimagines the area as an exemplary, mixed-use, distinctive neighbourhood offering a unique blend of jobs and homes, with a public realm that creates an urban environment that is, in the words of local residents, “the nicest, greenest, most sustainable and safest place to live and work it can possibly be”.

Karakusevic Carson Architects
Karakusevic Carson Architects

To support the growth of local businesses, our plan devised with the community, was to extensively redevelop lower-grade industrial units, which currently occupy 10,000 square metres, moving from low-density, single-storey units to multi-level spaces fit for modern industry, trebling capacity to 30,000 square metres and adding 1000’s of new production jobs to the local economy.

As well as strengthening the public realm and unique industrial character of the area, our proposal allowed for the creation of 750 new homes that will be offered for rent through the London Borough of Camden as 100 per cent affordable housing, a plan that not only provides much-needed housing for local residents, but will provide a long-term housing revenue for the council.

This large-scale scheme embodies a unique, community-led vision that preserves a mixed-used, industrial heritage going back centuries. By using a funding structure that is long-term and sustainable, our progressive plan provides security for residents and businesses, and creates an asset whose value for the London Borough of Camden goes far beyond a traditional one-off payment from a private developer. It is an exciting project for the council and local residents, and one that we are proud to have been part of shaping with the Camley Street community from the start.

The project was exhibited for the Oslo Triennale in 2019 and has been a focus point for a series of lectures and events at The Royal Academy of Arts, London, Royal College of Art and Paul Karakusevic’s talks and lectures at leading universities and institutions in the UK, Europe and Internationally.

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