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Sitopia: Reconnecting Sincil Bank

Part 1 Project 2012
Liam Atkins
University of Lincoln Lincoln | UK
Through a preliminary investigation of the hidden conflicts within a fractured city, I was able to uncover an alarming social and physical exclusion between the Sincil Bank area of Lincoln and surrounding city.

This area was initially created as mass housing to accommodate the many workers of the factories along the railway, resulting in a dense structure, few open spaces and restricted movement. The establishment of the university meant that many residents left as the region was redeveloped into student houses; thus fracturing the sense of community. However, with the development of large student halls nearer to the university, the demand in Sincil Bank was diminished; enticing immigrants and the unemployed into the area to take advantage of reduced rents. Although this influx brought a stronger sense of community it also added another dimension to its fragmentation as a relatively unappealing, unskilled and unfulfilled neighbourhood.

With social and communal aspects driving the repair of this fracture, the project aims to utilise food as a universal commonality between people, through the creation of a continuously productive urban landscape, dubbed a “Sitopia” by Carolyn Steel. This food-place would turn an otherwise vacant plot into a multi-functional open urban environment that empowers residents to collectively learn, grow and consume food in a way that is enjoyable and beneficial to them, their urban environment and the rest of the city.

By following the principles of Permaculture as both a sustainable food production method and design approach, the project focuses on the interconnectedness between elements in a system in order to obtain the maximum benefit (as harnessed in biological systems). This is applied at every scale of the scheme, from the response of the surrounding context in the master plan, to the symbiotic spatial layout of the building and use of Aquaponic growing systems in the facade.

In providing a combination of interconnected open, social, commercial and productive spaces as well as educational/research facilities, the proposal reconnects Sincil Bank with the surrounding city while utilising the process of food education, production and consumption to encourage social interaction, skill development and the implementation of innovative technologies.

Liam Atkins


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