This project was sited along West Street in Brighton and focused on the benefits of multi-generational co-living as an approach to tackling the depleting sense of belonging within the urban community. Visions for urban spaces and amenities far too often priorities the attraction of younger, working-class demographics. With priorities around commercialisation and upcoming cultures and generations, it was clear that the city of Brighton had taken little consideration for other generations and their roles and benefits within the urban community, resulting in families with younger children and older adults retreating to areas outside of the city centre.
Due to the vast number of benefits that come from a generational mix, including; the transfer of useful life skills, knowledge, values, moral codes and social norms, this proposal needed to attract these peripheral generations toward living in the city and created a basis for future community development throughout the city. Throughout this project, it was important to understand why generations live where they do to identify the factors and characteristics that would be used to attract all generations toward living in the city. Factors including safety, greenery, affordability, accommodation size, cultural facilities and work proximity were all considered important and reasons for current living locations.
My final proposal is a piece of co-living accommodation that focusses on the attraction of all generations. Implemented through this piece of accommodation are a variety of different shared and private facilities, including a restaurant, café, rooftop bar, indoor play area for children, office and study spaces, gym facilities and residential events and activities space. The shared facilities have been designed to encourage interaction and socialisation between different generations, fostering the participation in activities that one normally wouldn’t and primarily, strengthening a sense of community among residents. Public spaces including a garden, cycle route and the pedestrianisation of West Street also encourages interaction and socialisation, however, among the wider urban community. The reason for building a strong community among residents and the wider urban context was the belief that the strongest means of creating safer environments for children and other ages groups, and ensuring social cohesion is through the strength of the community.
When considering the characteristics of the streets that this proposal sits between, it was important to position residential living units appropriately. With the loud and lively characteristics of West Street’s evening entertainment, it was appropriate to locate the 16-64 years living units closest to West Street due to their likelihood of involvement in this type of entertainment. With the need for more space, the 0-15 years living units stretch along the north side of the building, providing an additional room for children. This also separates this generation from the loud precincts that are situated at the south end of West Street. Finally, the 65+ years living units have been located at the rear of the building, furthest from the “fast-paced” and loud environment that comes with West Street, as this lifestyle is one that older generations wanted to avoid.
Pedestrianizing West Street
To ensure the safety of vulnerable residents including younger children and the elderly, West Street has been pedestrianised. By removing all vehicle use, prioritising pedestrian and cyclist use, and redesigning this street, the elderly and young can use this outdoor environment without the fear of injury or other hazards that are presented with fast-flowing traffic, proliferation in signposts and other obstacles, and poorly maintained pavements and curbs on this street. In doing this, I have created an outdoor environment that promotes physical activity to all residents, a space that encourages alternative means of transport including walking and cycling, a space that children can safely play and learn crucial life skills, and a space that people ultimately want to spend time in.
Connections to the wider city
Leading onto King’s Road, the bottom of West Street presented a major issue to the safety of people occupying this pedestrianised street. Kings Road is characteristically busy and fast-flowing, presenting some major safety issues to vulnerable age groups. To reduce hazardous risks within this area, I proposed continuing this pedestrianised street across King’s Road. By pedestrianizing this section of King’s Road, with additional traffic control measure including a pedestrian crossing, speed ramps and narrowed lanes, pedestrians and cyclists can pass across to the seafront quickly, safely and with ease. This intersection helps in controlling driving speeds around this area as vehicles are forced to abide by the pedestrianised conditions.
To better connect residents and the public to public transport a walking and cycling route has been implemented through the residential living unit. With the pedestrianisation of West Street, public transport will use Middle Street and Boyce’s Street as an alternative route into the city. Pedestrians can, therefore, access bus stops and taxi ranks situated on Middle Street easily and quickly.
(Please be aware that this is only one of three portfolios completed during my MA Architectural and Urban Design studies. Some images from my other project can be found below, however, feel free to contact me if you wish to see more)