Heart of East Greenwich

Heart of East Greenwich gave eleven local young people aged 14-19 the opportunity to learn and explore their ideas about urban design and public space based on the First Base planning proposals for a new mixed-use development in East Greenwich.

Key Project Information

Partners: Funded by Lend Lease and First Base, in partnership with Make Architects
Participants: 11 young people aged 14-19
Format: 2-day workshop

Project Overview

Heart of East Greenwich is a mixed-use development, located south of the Greenwich peninsula on the site of the former Greenwich District Hospital site. First Base is developing the site with English Partnerships as part of the London-Wide Initiative: a pilot programme aimed at delivering more affordable homes across London.

First Base partnered My City Too in carrying out consultation with local young people as part of the early community engagement work for the new development. Through local schools and youth groups, 11 young people aged 14 -19, currently living on the fringes of the development took part.


As well as the primary aim of finding out young people’s  views on and priorities for the new development, the workshop also wanted to:

  • Examine the behaviour and activities undertaken by local young people at sites around Greenwich
  • Investigate the relationship between place and behaviour
  • Develop alternative ways of engaging young people in public spaces
  • Inform young people by introducing them to professionals and processes that bring about change in their city
  • Inspire young people to take an active role in the future development of their city
  • Empower young people by ensuring their concerns and ideas were profiled and valued

Project Detail

The Heart of East Greenwich project ran over two consecutive days in the local Forum at Greenwich community centre. Participants used photography, video and mind mapping activities to illustrate their ideas for better public spaces in East Greenwich.

Sessions included site explorations in Canary Wharf and North Greenwich station as well as the development site itself. Activities and discussions encouraged young people to think about the relationship between place and behaviour and about what they thought the future residents of the Heart of East Greenwich development, neighbours and visitors might require. They considered what facilities and spaces, now and in the future, would be needed to support and nurture a diversity of public life and happy, thriving communities.

Participants explored the following issues through dialogue, video, collage, model/prop making and photography, as well as examining design processes and exemplary places.

  • What is young people’s relative position in society?
  • Which public places can accommodate and value young people and the diversity of public life?
  • How can young people influence decision-makers


Participants developed a number of valuable skills. They learned new ways of looking at and
thinking about spaces as well as new ways of communicating their ideas to decision-makers.
They learnt about design and planning issues and processes and how spaces can be improved.

First Base, Make and Open-City learned how the public space in the future Heart of East Greenwich could provide an answer to local young peoples’ aspirations and anxieties. Findings supported the First Base Statement of Community Involvement submitted with the planning application for the site.

To watch the Heart of East Greenwich film, follow this link

Architects, developers and planners were able to:

  • Increase their understanding of how to deliver designs that work for young people
  • Create a strategic approach to addressing community cohesion through delivery high quality public realm

Young people were able to:

  • Experience meaningful engagement and involvement in the development of their neighbourhood
  • Gain the tools and language of to participate fully in dialogue about the built environment
  • Learn skills in using creative media and film to help convey their ideas and aspirations in a fun and imaginative way

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“Regeneration by its very nature is about making a place better for current inhabitants and for future generations. Regeneration is also about creating more opportunity. What better people to ask for help during the creative stage of place-making than these teenagers - the actual people who will use, manage, create businesses, grow families and enjoy the very place we are trying to create. The My City Too! initiative has significantly influenced First Base’s community engagement programmes. Moving forward we now have access to a much more complete set of issues to digest as we progress our place making ambitions across London.”

Richard Powell, Director of First Base