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Making Ground at Barking Riverside: Goresbrook Canal and Tidal Lock

Part 1 Project 2013
Olga Lucko
University of East London London | UK
Barking Riverside is a large development site on the edge of the Thames between the River Roding and the Dagenham industrial area. A fragmented post-industrial landscape is also the site for 10,000 future homes. Grazing marshes until the mid-19th century, the boatloads of soil arriving as a by-product of Crossrail activity below central London are only the latest in a long history of accumulated layers of waste and spoil, and are intended to keep the future homes above rising tides. In the recession, the pace of construction has slowed and the proclamations of bright site hoardings are fading. Promised rail connections, key to the desirability and market value of the new homes, have been shelved. Large areas have been relatively undisturbed for many years and nature has set about reclaiming territory; the site now sustains several rare species.

This project questions the need to create a blank canvas of the ground, and instead offers an alternative vision that draws on the natural and industrial history of the site: re-orienting the masterplan to put in place a network of “green edge” canals based on a restoration of existing creeks and waterways, which can be used for local boat transport as well as enhancing the rich local ecology. This key infrastructure creates a layered local network that includes connections to Dagenham Dock rail station and a new Thames Clipper pier. The tidal lock extends the canal past the mudflats of the foreshore to enable boat traffic to pass to and from the Thames at all times. The regenerated waterways provide a focus for the development, with waterside living and integrated transport links attracting new residents.

A small collection of buildings greets visitors as they approach from the Thames. The heart of proposal is the marina community centre, providing facilities for houseboat-dwellers as well as a place to meet for all Barking Riverside residents. On the opposite bank is a base from which the Environment Agency monitors and maintains the waterways, and boat building and repair workshops to develop local skills and jobs in the shadow of the declining Ford Dagenham works.

Olga Lucko


• Page Hits: 8305         • Entry Date: 20 September 2013         • Last Update: 20 September 2013