Becontree Blooms

Location: Becontree Estate, Barking & Dagenham
Type: Public Realm
Client: LB of Barking & Dagenham, RIBA, Create London
Duration: 2021
Status: Invited Competition

Becontree Blooms is a greening and biodiversity project for the Becontree Estate in Barking and Dagenham. Okra were invited to propose ideas for how several neglected and underutilised corner plots on the estate could be transformed, to make the corner plots more deliberate, to increase their social potential and sustainability.

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Historically the Becontree Estate had a rich culture of public-facing gardens and public gardening competitions. Since the advent the car this culture has slowly been eroded.  Becontree Blooms is a project to return gardening to the public heart of the estate, to celebrate the history and future of the area during The Becontree Centenary 2021 and provide the environmental and psychological benefits of community gardening going forwards.

 

To facilitate Becontree Blooms, Okra proposed to make a collaborative online local history platform, host community workshops and co-programme a community walking tour – the Becontree Loop – around the estate. During the walk, residents would work collectively and with Okra to select twelve appropriate, engaging and well-distributed sites, providing opportunities for discussion, ideas development and skill-sharing between residents.

 

Residents would then co-design gardens of different types, from productive gardens through to ornamental planting, building on their collective skills and existing private gardens to enrich the outcomes. Adaptable signage at the community gardens will keep the Becontree Loop walking route alive and connect residents to the gardens and other local community infrastructure.