The Story Garden is the new home base for Global Generation, an educational charity which works together with local children and young people, businesses, residents and families in Camden, Islington and Southwark to create healthy, integrated and environmentally responsible communities. Sited on an empty plot between the British Library and the Francis Crick institute, the garden provides a green social space in the heart of Somerstown whilst long-term plans for the site are drawn up. Somerstown is amongst the top 10% most deprived areas in England and we know from residents that there are sincere concern about the environmental- and air quality of their neighbourhood.
The desire to propagated a sense of ownership over the new space amongst local people brought about an unusual approach; we only built half a garden, limiting our remit to the design and installation of essential infra-structure so that space was left for others to become creatively engaged. Some 400+ volunteers of all ages have helped to build planters and garden furniture, spread mulch and water seedlings. A small office and kitchen building with sheltered outdoor dining area was designed to disassemble and transport to a new location once the tenure on the site is up. A timber-framed wc block and potting shed is clad in white transluscent shingles and three shipping containers framing a central deck provide for a small workshop which is used by Central St Martins students as a satellite makerspace.
Our incremental approach leaves room for future customisation and adaptation. The Story Garden is also the permanent home for the Milk Float, a roving community kitchen and workshop hosting workshops and communal lunches across Somerstown.