Walthamstow’s beachfront

Wood St Plaza Oct 2011An update on Wood Street Plaza – the newly revamped public space in my neighbourhood that I wrote about last month. It has come alive in this hot weather. It is worth look closely at the genders, ages and ethnic backgrounds of the people in the above photo. How often do you see such a diverse mix of people sharing and enjoying the same public space?

A couple more images.

Wood St Plaza 2 Oct

Wood St Plaza 2 Oct
In a comment in the local paper – in response to a critical news piece – I said the square might just become Walthamstow’s beachfront. The remark was ridiculed by a subsequent commenter. Walking through the space yesterday afternoon, I felt vindicated.

I hear there are plans to put in some planting. This would definitely improve the main square, which feels quite harsh when there’s no-one in it. I will keep you posted.

Still, the new design is such an improvement. Here are some photos showing how it looked last summer (these were posted up on a fence).

5 responses to “Walthamstow’s beachfront

  1. These water features are very popular with the national press. A child gambolling through one is practically compulsory to illustrate a hot weather in the city piece.
    If you watch people’s behaviour when near them, they bring out the child in adults too.

  2. Helen – you are so right. I was looking at back issues of the local paper in the library today, for more coverage of the plaza. There were two critical news stories – and each was accompanied by a smiling image of a child in the fountain. Cognitive dissonance or what?

  3. I think this is great. Shame about the humbug comments in the local paper.

  4. Don’t worry about humbug comments. We, as people who are fighting for the right of children to play in a way that comes naturally to them , always get negative comments. I work in the National Trust and I consider my role description is encompassed by “get kids outside and engaged with nature”. I have a certain sector of the general public who see my activities as “just another way of increasing footfall and income”; The problem is, once entrenched in this way of thinking, it is difficult to change their minds. Maybe we shouldn’t try. Maybe all publicity is good publicity. How many of the folks in Walthamstow read the humbug comments and said “what rot” and took their kids out to play whilst they did a bit of shopping? I try not to take it personally and continue with my wild story telling and den building!

  5. Pingback: Playful urban spaces: a lesson from Bilbao | Rethinking Childhood

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