Surplus Shop, Hackney Wick: Public Works Group
R-Urban is a European organisation that promotes practices and networks to develop urban resilience. It produces projects that aim to benefit communities and the economy by focussing on closed ecological cycles since 2012 in Paris and London.
This article is split over two parts, continue on this page to read about R-Urban Wick, London or click here for the corresponding article on R-Urban Colombes, Paris.
R-Urban Wick is developing an eco-construction network with the participation and skills of local knowledge and local resources. The project in East London focusses on the ‘balance between production and consumption through local sustainable sourcing.’ An integral part of this process is to involve community input and knowledge exchange to strengthen the network and establish a strong foundation for further development.
R-Urban is an organisation supported by EU Life + Programme of environmental governance and with design partners AAA (Atelier D’architecture Autogeree) for Colombes division and Public Works Group London.
This localised network takes place in an area of East London, situated between the 2012 Olympic site and Victoria Park which has generated strong interest from artists because of its low housing prices and is subject to become the next borough of gentrification in East London. According to this recent article from the Guardian, it has the highest density of artists in Europe, which are now facing struggles against high-profile investors.
The project is a two phase process, starting with establishing connections of local initiatives. The first phase aims to develop an ‘open source network’ of existing professionals and creativities working with eco-construction techniques. This base will form a secure foundation for the next phase which involves appropriating a vacant plot of land and developing a ‘Transferable Recycling Centre.’
Four outputs have been established so far in order to drive this process which include –
WOW (Wick on Wheels)
WOW: Mobile production unit. Image Credit : Wick on Wheels
In order to collect unwanted materials for recycle, repair and reuse, a mobile production unit has been adapted from an old milk float. WOW or Wick on Wheels is a multi-purpose vehicle with the goal is to engage citizens with ecological projects to benefit the area and promote a positive change in the way local materials are being used.
Wick Sessions is a knowledge exchange programme structured around a series of talks, events and workshops who invite a diverse range of contributors. Ranging from Architecture studios to ecologists and environmental researchers, the sessions provide a valuable catalogue of information on bottom-up sustainable developments. Some of the themes explored include, Values of Temporary Use, Open Source Design and Affordable Workspace. From each discussion they produce publications which can be found HERE.
Wick Curiosity Shop
The Wick Curiosity Shop acts as a local archive and growing collection to promote the unique qualities of the area. It is described as –
‘It is an eclectic collection of local produce, memorabilia, oral history, songs and stories from or about Hackney Wick. The Archive exists on-line and as a series of live events in which it temporarily assembles.’
Experiments in household knowledge
The final project of R-Urban Wick is the ‘Experiments in household knowledge’ programme which is a yearlong citizen participation platform to test ideas in hands-on workshops with local ecological innovators. The main themes explored are agriculture techniques and ecological energy making principles. By raising discussions and prototyping ideas, this programme now has an online archive of tutorials and publications showing the skills and projects that have been developed.
Image Credits: R-Urban Wick