UCL Engineering Exchange


Carpenters Estate infrastructure

MSc students worked with residents facing demolition to develop plans for a refurbishment alternative for their estate, including water and energy infrastructure

An imposing image of the side of a brick housing estate

26 September 2016

The problem

Redevelopment that proposes widespread demolition has been outlined for the Carpenters Estate in Stratford. To avoid being removed from their community, residents and businesses in the Greater Carpenters Neighbourhood Forum (GCNF) wanted to put forward a viable refurbishment-led alternative.

As such, Just Space - a community alliance that enables grassroots involvement in formal responses to planning in London - supported residents in developing a Community Plan, with input from students in UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning.

Our solution

Following release of this Community Plan, Just Space and the London Tenants Federation (a charitable network of tenants associations, federations and organisations) decided to expand on the plan’s scope and infrastructure aspects, with help from MSc students in UCL Engineering. This collaboration led to a second iteration of the plan, renamed the 'neighbourhood plan', in line with the Localism Act's system for community engagement in planning.

Dr Vera Bukachi, former EngEx Education Coordinator, led students on the MSc Environmental Systems Engineering at UCL to work with residents through an ‘optioneering’ process, to develop plans for water and energy infrastructure on the estate. The students also provided input into the developing refurbishment designs. 

This resulted in household and site-wide short, medium and long-term water and energy infrastructure strategies. Developed between September 2015 and March 2016, the strategies considered technical feasibility, cost, sustainability and residents’ aspirations.

Working with residents, stakeholders, engineers and planners, the project also provided a narrative and visualisation for how the vision, objectives and policies, already included in the GCNF Community Plan, fit together. This meant looking at scale, mix and design. Thus, options put forward focused on wide refurbishment of homes, social and community infrastructure, along with sensitive new infill development.

In addition, the project aimed to optimise sensitive and responsive 'place-making'. This included the use of existing and new green and paved routes for walking and cycling within and outside the GCNF area; community use of the public realm; sustainable environmental improvements and identification and use of new and existing social and community infrastructure.


Following the project outlined here, the neighbourhood plan has been further updated in collaboration with Max Fordham, a building services engineering firm (read more).



Read the report