Vacant Lot

project originator: what if: projects ltd
project dates: 2007-ongoing
project partnership 2009–13: what if: projects Ltd with Groundwork London
funding: Big Lottery, Family Mosaic, Southern Housing Group, Circle 33 Housing Trust, Newlon Housing Trust, Homes for Islington, Islington Council Community Chest
site locations: Hackney, Islington, Camden, Comic Relief
other support: London Waste, King’s Cross Construction Skills Centre (Carillion), Camden Jobtrain, Elba, Moneybookers, UBS, Lizzie Gomes (Groundwork)
construction: Justin Fishlock, Matteo Ferrechia (Hackney College), Furniture Group, Jessica Bernardo (Groundwork)
related projects: Vacant Lot @ Louis Vuitton, Plant Room
Vacant Lot

The Vacant Lot program was initiated by what if: projects in 2007 with the aim of transforming neglected and unused spaces on inner city housing estates into environments that provide neighbourhoods with the most basic of requirements: outside space, a place to grow food and a place to socialise. Projects investigate forms of neighbourhood engagement and aim to start processes of sustainable change. In deprived urban areas across London 21 small pockets of vacant land have been made accessible and are now occupied by bespoke design elements that enable new communal use. Vacant Lot gardens have become places for meeting neighbours, BBQs’, sitting in the sun, playing and gardening. Plot holders of different age groups and cultural backgrounds meet, exchange food, seeds and gardening advice.

Vacant Lot created 21 new allotment gardens on 1.9 acres of vacant space surrounding housing estates, providing bespoke allotment furniture and plots for more than 880 people.

2015, Transforming Cities, Urban Interventions in Public Space, Jovis,
2012, Cause and effect, Visualising sustainability
2011, Vector, Critical research in context
2011, Carrot City, Creating places for urban agriculture
2011, My Green City, Back to nature with attitude and style
2010, Home/Away, art in social spaces, Idensitat
2009, Spacecraft 2, Fleeting Architecture and Hideouts
2008, Action, What you can do with the city (2008)
23.05.2012, The Chelsea Fringe, Evening Standard
26.08.2009, BBC CountryFile
2008, D2, Dagens Naeringliv, Norway
2008, Metro, Monday, June 23, 2008 “Baggin a bumper crop”
2008, Time Out, listings (events)
28.06.2008, Times, “Painting the town green”
2008, BBC Gardeners World
2008, Jellied Eal magazine
2007, Green Spaces, September issue
2007, Hackney Gazette, July “The plot thickens”
2007, Don’t Panic Magazine
2007, Building Design Magazine

Contribution to research projects:
Divercities, governing urban diversity, UK partner Bartlett School of Planning
2010, Marmot Review, Fair Society Healthy Lives