Territorial Stigma in Thamesmead
This Project was an outcome of the City Design Research Studio on Housing in London at the LSE Cities Programme completed with my team members- Andrea Shortell, Cara Doherty, Gregor Ranft and Monica Castañeda. Using our multi-disciplinary skills we studied how territorial stigmatization had been used as a strategy deployed by those in power to justify measures of eviction, demolition, and redevelopment across housing estates in London.
Looking closely at the situation, we attempted to analyse how the symbolic mark was connected to the closure of social clubs in Thamesmead- effectively the only community anchors for the housing estates. Taking a local social club, The Dashwood, as a case study for immersive engagement, we uncovered a texture of everyday life is easy to overlook at the first glance. After we learned about the news of the closure of the club in the near future, we organized a ‘Christmas Social‘ in collaboration with local housing campaigners. During the social, through focus group interviews with the attendees, we found that the Club performs community functions that stretch way beyond recreation and include care for the elderly.
We identified that the external narrative of stigma needed to be countered with making the stories of the community visible. The proposed intervention was the introduction of an organisation that would help enumerate and communicate the social value of such social anchors in economic terms. Along with physical additions of local wayfinding and signage at the Dashwood, we proposed the creation of a city-level support network of social clubs and other assets of community value.
You can read more about this project in the Cities Programme publication here.