HUB THREATS

Stour Space is one of the first Asset of Community Value buildings in the UK and the last remaining Art and Community space in Fish Island (Hackney Wick), the recent recipient of the Mayor of London’s Creative Enterprise Zone.

With regeneration in East London almost fever pitch, Stour Space, along with other such spaces, has become a target for development, mainly due to the large area generally occupied and increasing desire for loft living.

Hubs As Strategic Spaces

How an innovation hub fits within a local community and the overall strategy of a local authority is a key strand of investigation for Haphazard Business. Understanding the complex nature of decisions and interests is essential in deciding where to create a new Innovation Hub and the likelihood of success.

Not-for-profit businesses like Stour Space are not like other commercially tenanted buildings. Hubs (or Space as referred here) offer a variety of uses for creative outputs, in this case, instrument making, crafts studios, bar, exhibitions, workshops, as well being as a community hub.

Hub Survival

As Gillian Harwood, owner of Busworks in north London since 1970s eloquently discusses on her blog post here, threat of development and other pressures are not a new phenomena. How they are negotiated and coped with by individuals and interested parties is paramount to survival (or not) of such spaces as well as the importance of being able to adapt.

New Academic Centre Investigating Hubs

Queen Mary, University of London, has recently created Centre for the Creative and Cultural Economy, known as ‘Network’ to investigate and document the changing landscape of hubs and their importance to the vibrancy and creativity of society. Details of the recent The Creative Work And The City Symposium can be found here.

This project and the centre will keep close contact throughout this Haphazard journey.

2 comments

  1. Reply

    The next opportunity for innovation hubs/shared workspace, as you already have decided, must surely be vacant shops. The battle will be with local planners and the change of use issues and with the landlords of shops. Most High Street shops are not owned by individuals but by institutions and commercial companies and they are the slowest to see that change has already occurred and that they need to act really fast.
    A run-down High Street shopping centre is a perfect place for a hub because there are already so many inbuilt services. They are in good locations and, presumably must have good local public transport. An out of town version would not have good public transport but excellent parking facilities! But a row of empty shops would fit the bill too.

    Workspace Plc have made a huge success of taking over the freehold of an existing business centre and then getting planning permission to build loads of flats on top or knock the whole place down but incorporate a new hub in the new-build mix.

    1. Thanks Gillian, this comment coming from as keen observer as you, is an encouraging response. The issues around ownership, particularly the detachment of the owners from the properties they own, as in pension funds, remains a major barrier in regeneration of local shopping areas from grassroots upwards initiatives. In areas where the local authority and other major landowners are in advanced phases of redevelopment there will be little interest is my guess. In areas with no immediate hope of large-scale investment then it may (just may) be possible to grab a conversation with the local authority and/or owner of high street parade or shopping centre.

      Keeping an eye out for a town like Folkestone in Kent, who have a Roger De Haan type character, investing and seeking the best for his town is probably the route to go.

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