LSBU academics contribute to London Bridge regeneration
Commuters may be well aware of the upgrade to the UK's fourth-busiest station but the Victorian viaduct to the east of London Bridge is also being redeveloped—providing a prime opportunity to ensure a long-term regeneration proposal for the area is put in place.
With a vision to create the viaduct as a vibrant destination sensitive to the existing character of the area, business improvement district Team London Bridge last year reached out to LSBU's built environment academics to progress their ideas for the station's hinterland.
"Team London Bridge's underlying concept for the viaduct is for a cluster of arts, crafts and technology businesses which promote an ethos of 'making, selling and educating'," explains LSBU's Dr Mahtab Farshchi, lead academic on the development partnership.
"With a focus on start-ups, independents and social enterprise, they contacted us to investigate how the creation of a vibrant destination in a sensitive area would be received by the local community and the stakeholders in general."
Dr Farshchi and LSBU's Enterprise team put together a knowledge transfer project centred on a year-long project delivered by a specially-recruited associate—in this case, LSBU alumnus Henry Johnstone. The project tested the feasibility of the proposal to encourage a core area of business for arts, crafts and technology firms.
Under regular supervision and through meetings with both Dr Farshchi and Team London Bridge, Henry delivered the goals of the project: firstly by reviewing relevant theories and subsequently applying lessons learnt from the theory into practice to deal with the range of urban regeneration problems faced by local businesses and the community.
The theory review looked at the principles of urban regeneration and industrial clustering; additional work also included surveying the physical and socioeconomic character of the area, reviewing similar examples from the UK and abroad, and undertaking a series of consultation events.
From a student's perspective it was a fantastic initiative. Knowledge transfer projects provide a great route into industry with a high degree of responsibility and ownership over your own project.
- Henry, LSBU graduate
"The success and benefits of the partnership have exceeded the expectations of everyone involved," says Dr Farshchi. "It has improved Team London Bridge's engagement with the local business and residential community, and developed their working relationship with Network Rail.
"Team London Bridge has now also developed long-lasting relationships as a consequence of the consultation process and has since established a 'creative network': a networking event that takes place every two months for local creative businesses."
Significantly, Team London Bridge now have a database of businesses who have expressed an interest in becoming future tenants of the viaduct—and a proposal that allows them to progress with an economic feasibility study.
We would recommend the Knowledge Transfer Collaboration programme to other businesses. It's an excellent programme for delivering business objectives by means of rigorous analysis and research.
- Shane Clarke, environmental programme manager at Team London Bridge
Knowledge Transfer programmes
Knowledge Transfer (KT) programmes are designed to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity by tapping into the knowledge, technology and skills offered by universities.We are one of the UK's leading KT providers and won the collaborative Innovation Excellence Award at the London Knowledge Transfer Awards. We are also among a handful of universities that have been commended by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for our KT work. Find out more about working with LSBU on a KT project.