Reform | Gleadless Valley

#Title: Reform | Gleadless Valley
#Graduates: Andreas Papallas, Simeon Shtebunaev, Zak Nicoll
#Competition: UN-Habitat Mass Housing International Competition , 2nd EU prize
#School: University of Sheffield

Overview of the Competition brief:

The competition aims to render monolithic mass housing into more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable areas by integrating mixed uses, improving densities and mobility, and reducing their Eco-footprint. UN-Habitat is promoting a new urban planning paradigm that calls for planning in advance at the scale of expected development of cities with a better integration of urban uses – housing, business, retail, recreation, education, agricultural, social and cultural activities, amongst others, in an environmentally sustainable manner. The ultimate goal is to attain the social, economic, environmental and cultural sustainability of cities.

Reform | Gleadless Valley manifesto:

When one considers mass housing that is in need of improvement or intervention, it is the slums or extremely dense tower blocks that come to mind. However, it is not only the dense compact areas of living throughout the world that have become areas of depravity, crime or bad reputation. The area this design proposal focuses on is a sprawling mass housing scheme from the bygone era in Britain of mass government housing. Built in between 1955 and 1962, a period where the government managed to erect 300,000 new homes a year, the Gleadless Valley estate in Sheffield, is a typical example of how the government tried to solve the need for mass housing. In the Sheffield urban folklore, Gleadless is eponymous with deprivation, anti-social behaviour and crime. In 2013 Sainsbury introduced a ban to the area after repetitious attacks on its vans; a move Tesco had already enforced upon the area, creating the image of a no-go area. It seems to be abandoned by everyone, even the Sheffield Council clearly state on their website – ‘no comprehensive vision for the area is in place’. A mass housing estate with little functions apart from residential ones, resting on the steep hills of the valley, the locality seems to be in a state of limbo.

Surprising it might seem, that there are active organisations in the community - there are litter pick days being organised, protests against raising taxes and a strong desire for a better future. Gleadless boasts one of the best views and areas of natural beauty in Sheffield, it has good transport links and promising future. This proposal suggests that the trap in which Gleadless has fallen is not unavoidable. We want to initiate the dialogue about Gleadless Valley by providing a proposal of a possible future, a future that could be achieved with relatively cheap ways, with a strong lobby in the council and active residents. We believe that there is a community in Gleadless Valley trying to escape the perceived image of the area. Our proposal will provide them with a tool, which could be used to stir the waters and initiate the discussion about the future of the area. The suggested methods are applicable in many estates that have fallen in the limbo and we encourage organisations and individuals to take further these proposals to improve their locality.

Reform | Gleadless Valley was awarded 1st prize at the national level of the competition (United Kingdom) and 2nd prize at the regional level (Europe and other OECD countries).

Reform | Gleadless Valley team consists of three recent University of Sheffield, SSoA graduates: Andreas Papallas, Simeon Shtebunaev, Zak Nicoll.


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