Community-Led Housing in London: The Case of StART

Ricardo Palma Prieto:

Community-led housing projects across the UK are seen as alternative solutions to the housing crisis. As many of these types of projects are new in London, conflicts with conventional institutions indicate that a new framework must be considered in the development of affordable housing. Social cohesion for sustainable neighbourhoods and ‘communities of care’ are what these projects aim to offer, but issues of funding and land acquisition are the main obstacles for affordable housing.  Public expenditure cuts with an increasingly diversified household structure, due to an ageing society, demands new housing models based on intergenerational support and mutual care that could help ease pressure from public services by positively impacting the wellbeing of its residents.


St. Ann’s Hospital in Haringey, North London

This study looks into community-led housing, using StART (St. Ann Redevelopment Trust), an active community group in Haringey, north London, as a case study. StART is looking to redevelop the St. Ann’s Hospital site within the framework of a Community Land Trust (CLT), which aims to produce genuine affordable housing of up to 800 units. The dissertation examines and frames what ‘community-led’ means and the role of CLT’s within the context of the Localism Act (2011), and also looks at StART as a foundational project to develop a housing model in which people could age in place.

StART’s community consultation, 2016

The design takes into account the future trends in demographics of the area. As a housing model of up to 800 units, it aims to accommodate an intergenerational community through differences and variations of flat types with different grades of sharing that allows housing mobility within the quarter as well as provide room for temporary NHS patients, or people recovering inside its buildings. The project has a focus on alterability and typological design that allows adaptation to the changing needs throughout different life cycles of the dwellers, enabling various forms of living in structures that accommodate change.

Left: Plan of Model House for Four Families,1851 by Henry Roberts. Right: ‘Col tempo’ (With time) 15 Giorgione, Old Woman, 1508


Unit types and the cluster plan
Cluster Axonometric View
Communal Space: Dining Room

Access to the apartment is through a core with a set of stairs and an elevator that is placed at the centre of the plan above. On the left and right, the independent units follow in accordance to the structural grid and below the units shift half way to create a staggered plan. This allows for greater variety in unit sizes, while providing diverse communal arrangements on every floor. Every unit contains a bathroom and a kitchenette for two or one bedrooms. A balcony encircles the building providing an exterior space that connects all units and common areas. Six possible solutions make up the common unit types which can house new family structures together, such as families with one or two children, young and old single households as well as young and old couples. In every floor there are eight independent units seen as one apartment, it can also be divided into two apartments with four units each. This singular universal approach produces a multiplicity of different scenarios for conviviality in each floor. The façade accentuates the simplicity of the approach by translating a comprehensible gridiron where the openings are at the centre of each column bay. This creates a distinction between front and back in the interior, where a wall or a column divides the opening on one of its sides. A communal multipurpose room with a kitchen and laundry is located on the ground floor that serves the whole building as a complementary service to sustain social cohesion between all residents. The contemporary home is a house within a house that creates communities within a community.

Left: Massing 6a & Mccreanor Lavington, Right: New Massing Proposal


Building A

Read the whole dissertation here.

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