Living Streets in Portsmouth will become reality

A new project to encourage green space and community interaction has been designed by students from the University of Portsmouth.

Residents will see the project ‘Living Streets’ appear as ‘parklet’ spaces in Albert Road and Highland Road in Southsea this Spring. Parklets are a small seating area or green space created as a public amenity alongside a pavement.

The project was a competition organised by the social enterprise FORM+FUNCTION for School of Architecture students to design a series of spaces with the aim to revitalise and green local streets, provide community spaces and support local businesses.

Sixteen proposals were submitted and students Jack Clark and Charlotte Hubbard as team ‘Circulus’ won first place, creating a design for outdoor seating areas and greenery outside business premises in both streets. They will work in collaboration with local partners and international architecture offices to develop their ideas, in consultation with the nearby businesses.

Circulus’ proposal puts in place an excellent set of functions that can stimulate local life and offer opportunities of interaction among the community. Their work is excellent and I wish them success as they embark on this journey to engage with a real-life project in a professional setting.

The judges gathered in the University’s Eldon Building to award the project and celebrate with all students who participated. Local Councillor George Fielding joined Portsmouth City Council’s landscape architect Antje Eisfelder and BIM lead architectural designer Olufemi David Olaiya. They were joined by professionals from architectural practices Liam Watford (HOP Architects), and Rishi Patel (IDL Architecture), and Annabel Innes from the social enterprise FORM+FUNCTION, together with staff from the School of Architecture.

Guido Robazza, who helped organise the competition is a senior lecturer in Architecture and coordinator of the Project Office, a practice-based research and educational environment that promotes civic engagement in urban and architectural practice.

He said: “There was a range of incredibly high-quality proposals submitted by multidisciplinary teams of students on the Architecture course. Circulus’ proposal puts in place an excellent set of functions that can stimulate local life and offer opportunities of interaction among the community. Their work is excellent and I wish them success as they embark on this journey to engage with a real-life project in a professional setting.”

The parklet design of a living street in Southsea

The ‘parklet’ design by team Circulus.

Professor Oren Lieberman, Head of the School of Architecture, said: “The proposal is simple without being simplistic and has potential to integrate the community through its ‘indefinite’ configurations, which leave space and time for users’ participation in bringing it to life.”

Sean Clubb, Senior Associate at IDL Architecture, said: “The winning design is a strong approach to using a public park or ‘parklet’ as not just a space of greenery and seating, but spaces to encourage local interaction, learning, rest, play and work. This design takes on all aspects of the wider and more typical larger park concept and creates a narrative that is accessible, interesting and approachable for the public within the urban landscape.”

The project is a collaborative effort between several local partners in the city-making process, bringing them together in a common civic and environmental endeavour of improving the public spaces of Portsmouth.

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