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Hydrocitizenship: Connecting Communities in the Lower Lee Valley
The Lee Valley Hydrocitizenship project focuses on London’s ‘second river’ and regional park, stretching from the home counties north of London to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and major regeneration sites. This 3 year AHRC-funded project aims to investigate and make creative contributions to the ways in which citizens and communities live with each other and their environment in relation to water, in a range of sites (as well as the Lee Valley, in Bristol, Borth/Wales and Bradford/Shipley).
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is presented to Londoners as an urban and environmental asset and legacy following the 2012 Games. The Park is located in the middle of a rich urban and environmental history. There is an open space floodplain to the north of the Park, defined by Hackney and Walthamstow Marshes, and further north, the ecological wildlife area of Walthamstow Wetlands, while the Lower Lea Valley represents an established and developing industrial zone with a legacy of manufacturing and water engineering structures ranging from the 18th century tidal mill at Three Mills to the Trinity Buoy Wharf lighthouse. Around Bow, Hackney Wick and Fish Island there are a high concentration of artists and creative industries firms under pressure from further land use development, whilst the waterways now host a growing boat dweller population. This area, post the London 2012 Olympics, is set to increase in population fourfold as new urban villages are built and new communities are established over the next 10-15 years.
Following a detailed scoping of the Lee Valley landscape and governance, this work has involved engagement with local communities and stakeholders, using cultural mapping, observation, surveys and events/festivals, with water-based ‘citizen science’ initiatives and community-environment orientated art works planned as part of a critical reflection on the nature of ‘hydro’ citizenship when they re-imagined from an ecological perspective. The seminar will present our findings to date and proposals for further engagement.
More information on the project is available at: www.leevalley.org and www.hydrocitizenship.com